Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion


In “Three Thanksgivings,”* the widowed Mrs. Morrison establishes the “Rest and Improvement Club” and opens her home as a woman’s club and a space for collective rest. In the ninth issue of the first volume, Gilman’s essay “Improved Methods of Habit Culture” illustrates the types of lessons Mrs. Morrison and her colleagues might have discussed during their meetings for the “Rest and Improvement Club.” Gilman instructs readers on how to use their mental willpower in their regulation of one’s sleeping hours: “Suppose you have to get up at five, and have no alarm clock nor anyone to waken you. You ‘make up your mind,’ hard, that you must wake up at five; you rouse yourself from coming sleep with the renewed intense determination to wake up at five; your last waking thought is ‘I must wake up at five!’— and you do wake up at five. You set an alarm inside— and it worked.”

According to Gilman, routine rest, limited to the right amount of hours, allows a person to store up the proper amount of energy to persevere throughout the coming day: “Don't waste nerve force on foolish and unnecessary things—physical or moral; but invest it, carefully, without losing an ounce, in the gradual and easy acquisition of whatever new habits You, as the Conscious Master, desire to develop in your organism.” 


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