Our Movie Made Children

By Henry James Forman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MOVIES AND SLEEP

WHAT do we know about sleep? What do even the most careful parents among us know about the sleep of our children? We assume that there are a number of agents, such as coffee or excitement, which may keep them wakeful. But actually very little is known about them. Even our own testimony as to whether we have slept well or ill is not reliable.

To the psychologist sleep is a positive form of human behavior just as are walking and talking. Characteristic of the sleep of all of us is a continual motility, or restlessness, expressed in turnings, tossings, movements, changes in posture of the body or limbs throughout the entire night. Not even the most perfect sleep is so perfect, but it is checkered by this inherent motility. There is never complete immobilization.

In the comprehensive survey of motion picture influence upon the young and adolescents, this question presented itself as of capital importance: Do movies of various sorts produce effects upon sleep in a way injurious to normal health and growth, or do they not?

The fact that mental and moral results, as will appear later in this volume, are the aristocracy of movie effects upon the young, must not lead us to lose sight of that other cardinal fact, namely, that the movies produce

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