How to Sleep - page 5
After safely extending your extremities in the blanket, you must try to make a few seemingly meaningless motions in the process of entering the sleeping state. First is the yawn, which is usually performed in parallel to the action called stretching. This is said to be performed automatically by the body despite one's will, yet it can be induced at will by opening your mouth widely. To open your mouth, though there are differences among in dividuals, usually you pull your upper and lower jaws apart wide, its distance being 5 to 6 cm in an adult male. It can reach 7 or 8 cm by opening your mouth unnaturally wide; and according to the size of the entire mouth, 9 to 10 cm may be possible in a few cases; however, your jaw is generally dislocated if it exceeds 10 cm, and when it is beyond 20 cm, you should appreciate that your jaw has been detached from your face and fallen on the bed.
Stretching should be started immediately before the beginning of the yawning. First you stretch your arms behind your head; putting strength into the muscles of the chest, abdomen, and the legs, bend your body backward. It is impossible to explain to what extent you should exert your strength, however. If you put in too much strength, you may experience such an excruciating phenomenon as dislocation of the joint or a torn muscle.
Before or after the stretching or yawning (though it is regarded as a relatively unrefined act), most people perform a motion of scratching themselves, especially on the abdomen. The motion of scratching is usually concentrated only on the place which experiences an itchy sensation. However, this scratching before sleeping is not performed because there is an itchy place, but, without apparent reason, simply because getting undressed, you can easily scratch any part of the body, and since you know by experience that you can feel pleasure whenever you scratch, you are thus tempted to scratch.
When you scratch, first fasten the fingernails. Tightening the muscles around the root of the fingernails and curbing one's fingers like talons naturally advance the nails just slightly before the fingertips: when the fingernails of this state applied to the part to be scratched, only then it is called "fastening." In contrast to Felis or Panthera, who can retreat or extend the nails at will, it is impossible for a human to fasten one's fingernails without objects to scratch. The body parts most frequently scratched are, in order of frequency: the abdomen, flank, waist, thigh,chest, buttocks, back, and shoulders, but almost any part could be included. However, if one scratches between the toes or the region being thick with pubic hair, it is because there is true itchiness due to skin disease or vermin, so usually you don't have to scratch these parts.
You should scratch three or four times per part, and it is desirable to scratch the whole body evenly, without partiality. If you have a part itchier or more pleasant upon scratching than others, then you may scratch five or six times putting in a little more strength; however, if you scratch ten or twenty times, the act should be called "scraping" rather than scratching. If you scratch thirty or forty times, the superficial layer of the skin or the epidermis is injured, by fifty or sixty times the epidermis is broken and the nails cut into the dermis. If you scratch seventy or eighty times, the subcutaneous fatty layer will appear, by ninety or a hundred times the capillaries are broken and the blood begins to ooze. By two or three hundred times the torn skin will be scattered over the bed; by two or three thousand times the nails will cut into the muscles. If you scratch twenty or thirty thousand times, the fat will be dug out and the bed will be soaked in blood; by two or three hundred thousand times, the muscles will be tattered and the ribs will begin to appear.