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Health, or, How to Live

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    THE BEST BED

    Of the seven pounds which a man eats and drinks in a day, it is thought that not less than two pounds leave his body through the skin. And of these two pounds a considerable percentage escapes during the night, while he is in bed. The larger part of this is water, but in addition there is much effete and poisonous matter. This being in great part gaseous in form, permeates every part of the bed. Thus, all parts of the bed, mattress, blankets, as well as sheets, soon become foul and need purification.HHTL 353.1

    The mattress needs this renovation quite as much as the sheets. To allow the sheets to be used without washing or changing, three or six months, would be regarded as bad house-keeping; but I insist, if a thin sheet can absorb enough of the poisonous excretions of the body to make it unfit for use in a few days, a thick mattress, which can absorb and retain a thousand times as much of these poisonous excretions, needs to be purified as often, certainly, as once in three months.HHTL 353.2

    A sheet can be washed. A mattress cannot be renovated in this way. Indeed, there is no other way of cleansing a mattress but by steaming it, or picking it to pieces, and thus, in fragments, exposing it to the direct rays of the sun. As these processes are scarcely practicable with any of the ordinary mattresses, I am decidedly of the opinion, that the good old-fashioned straw bed, which can, every three months, be changed for fresh straw, and the tick washed, is the sweetest and healthiest of beds.HHTL 353.3

    If, in the winter season, the porousness of the straw bed makes it a little uncomfortable, spread over it a comforter, or two woolen blankets, which should be washed as often as every two weeks. With this arrangement, if you wash all the bed covering as often as once in two or three weeks, you will have a pleasant, healthy bed.HHTL 353.4

    Now if you leave the bed to air, with open windows, during the day, and not make it up for the night before evening, you will have added greatly to the sweetness of your rest, and, in consequence, to the tone of your health.HHTL 354.1

    I heartily wish this good change could be everywhere introduced. Only those who have thus attended to this important matter, can judge of its influence on the general health and spirits. — Dio Lewis.HHTL 354.2

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