Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Shakespeare for Kids
• Discover Our Collection
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
Rest

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

A Good Night's Rest



Shakespeare for Kids

Getting a good night's rest was just as important in Shakespeare's day as it is now. People believed that enough sleep was part of staying healthy—but too much sleep could cause problems! 

 

 



Rembert Dodoens. Cruydenboeck. English. London, 1578

How much sleep someone needed was determined in part by what kind of temperament, or humor, that person had. The theory of the humors was based on an ancient belief that the body had four fluids, or humors in it, that influenced a person's health and character.

 

In a healthy person, the humors were in balance. However, a person might have a dominant humor that influenced his or her health as well as personality.

 

They were:

  • Blood.  A person with this humor was believed to have a cheerful and optimistic, or sanguine, personality.  Sanguine people were thought to need less sleep, only about 7 hours a night, than other types.
  • Yellow bile. A person with this humor had a choleric personality. He or she was thought to be easily angered. Some doctors advised choleric people to get about 7 hours of sleep a night.
  • Phlegm. People with this humor had calm, rational personalities. They were believed to have average sleep needs, about 9 hours a night.
  • Black bile. Black bile was thought to lead to a melancholic personality; sometimes they were sad, and sometimes they were in a bad mood. These people were thought to have trouble getting to sleep, and so remedies to help them fall sleep were very common. Ironically, melancholics were advised to sleep a lot—up to 9 hours! 

 

 

 
Thomas Walkington. The optick glasse of humors. Oxford, 1631?



Just for Kids

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream Family Guide


You might also like ...

What's On: Exhibitions

What's On: Family Programs



Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623