Common steps and sub-activities

James Braid’s reverse REM method

The following description has been extracted from James Braid’s book  Neurypnology: or the Rationale of Nervous Sleep

Close the eyelids, and bringing the eyes loosely upwards, as if looking at an object at a great distance, the eye-balls being turned up only gently, so as to cause dilatation of the pupil…. and the limbs placed so as to relax the muscles as much as possible, and thus prevent acceleration of the pulse.


I was led to the adoption of this method from the following train of reasoning. If, as I inferred was the case, the spasmodic tendency was reflected to the muscular system generally, from the semiparalyzed state of the branches of the third pair of nerves (which supply the levatores palpebrarum (the muscles that lift the eyelids - Dylan) and irides (muscles that contract the pupil - Dylan)) during the continued fixed stare and straining of the eyes, I thought, were I to insure all the other concomitant requirements for procuring hypnotism, minus the strain on the levators and irides, I ought to procure refreshing sleep, without rigidity of muscle or quickened circulation. By closing the eyelids, the first could be obtained, and by turning the eyes up loosely, which dilates the pupils, the other would also be attained; I therefore tried the experiment, which, as already noted, proved most successful.