DISSOCIATION AND THE
state as distinguishing the relaxed state of mind
from that of preoccupation.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the mind does sleep with
the body. Evidently the sleep of mind and of senses would be just
as profound on the first night as on the last, and we would be
unable to explain the first night's wakefulness.
It is plain, therefore, that the mind does not sleep like the body.
Some element of the mind remains awake.
It is a discriminating element. On the first night this discriminating
faculty of mind, made uneasy by unusual impressions, kept arousing
consciousness to investigate; while on the last night, profiting
by the lessons of experience, this discriminating faculty received
DISSOCIATION AND THE ATTENTION
Sense-Discrimination in Sleep
these habitual and uninteresting impressions with
tranquillity and left consciousness to its slumber.
The same explanation accounts for the discrimination shown in sleep by those
who nurse the sick and by the mothers of young babies. All other, even tumultuous,
noises may be ignored, but let the patient groan or even breathe heavily, or
let the infant whimper, or even stir restlessly in bed, and instantly the nurse
or mother is fully awake.
In the same way, many people have, to a remarkable degree, the faculty of measuring,
during sleep, the flight of time. They are able to awaken at any given hour
by simply making a firm resolve before retiring. Most persons