Now, if all houses were built in accordance with the requirements of modern sanitary ideas, there would be but little difficulty in grappling with the problem of bedroom ventilation, for the sleeping apartment would be a well ventilated room, with all the latest contrivances, such as Tobin’s ventilators, for the admission of fresh air. But as the greater number of people have to live in rented dwellings in which the rooms are very small, it becomes necessary to know what can be done to remedy existing defects. In the first place the bedroom should always be upstairs if possible; it is decidedly healthier, and there is a better chance for the supply of fresh air. The very worst room in the house that could be chosen for a sleeping apartment would be one on the basement. Then again, a fireplace in the bedroom is a priceless boon, and it is almost impossible to rectify such a deficiency. But as too many rooms are built without it, we are compelled to look to the window for our air supply. It is estimated that nearly one-third of every person’s life is devoted to sleep; that is to say, about one-third of it is spent in the sleeping apartment. It is only natural, then, that this room and its surroundings should merit some special attention. As a matter of fact, from a health point of view, it should receive more consideration than all the rest of the house put together, for during our waking hours; we are moving about and constantly changing our location; but during sleep, when life is in abeyance to a certain extent, the system has passively to receive and be supported by whatever pure air the bedroom happens to possess. If, as too often is the case, that chamber is looked upon as a sort of cupboard, where, amongst other things, there is room for a bed, so much the worse for any one who has to sleep there. If the sleeper arises in the morning in a dazed and semi-suffocated state and quite unfitted for the day’s work before him, instead of feeling refreshed, there is no occasion to seek far for the cause. For the mental toiler, also, it is equally important that the period devoted to the restoration of brain material and the imbibition of a fresh supply of nerve power for the ensuing day’s requirements should be passed under circumstances the most favourable for bestowing them.
From this we see that a due amount of sleep, under favourable circumstances as regards ventilation, is necessary both for brain and muscle; and that, in fact, unless it be forthcoming, there will be an inability for either brain worker or muscle user to properly fulfil his duties next day. But in addition to this there is still the fact that we have to do with the semi-tropical climate of Australia. It will be as well, therefore, to make reference to what has been said on the subject as far as India is concerned. Sir Joseph Fayrer, whose opinion on such matters must always carry respect, in the course of an address on the preservation of health in that country, went on to say: “It is very important that you have good sleep, for nothing in the hot weather more refreshes or invigorates you. Early rising is the rule in India, and I advise you to conform to the usual practice.”