It was extremely difficult to find people willing and able to accept
being experimented upon and who would guarantee carrying through
these experiments until a positive or negative result had been reached.
1) Hans Siemann from Duisburg-Meiderich embarked on the experiments
following the example of his friend D. together with another friend
Hans Zeppenfeld in January 1932, when he was in the sixth form in
grammar school. His state of health was poor and in spite of good
medical care he suffered from a painful stomach complaint, lack
of appetite, constantly watering eyes, excessive perspiration of
his hands and feet and nervousness. His friend Z. was healthy. To
begin with neither of them believed in "natural sleep"
or its effects. However, they became reliable supporters of the
system, not only recognizing the beneficial effects it had on them,
but also courageously and steadfastly spreading word of their experiences
in spite of being ridiculed by the public. After six months, and
with no additional medical assistance, Siemann's poor health gave
way to robust good health and he was able to work vigorously physically
and mentally for up to 17 or 18 hours a day. His performance in
the difficult top form at grammar school continued to improve at
a time when so many others lose ground, and he successfully gained
his certificate on time and with honours enabling him to study at
a university, at that time a privilege only available to the very
best students. He insisted unwaveringly and credibly that the favourable
development of his physical and mental abilities was entirely due
to his strict adherence to natural sleep.
2) I only heard of D's experiment after it had reached a successful
conclusion and D. had attracted the attention and derision of his
neighbourhood due to his "crazy" way of life. The significant
successes that D. suddenly achieved in his studies after his conver-sion
stimulated Siemann and Zeppenfeld to emulate him and to try "natural
sleep" themselves. After practising "natural sleep"
for six months, D. was examined by a school doctor and his health
pronounced to be extraordinarily good. After six months of the experiment
Zeppenfeld and Siemann were also examined carefully by a doctor
who did not believe in the system. The results were out-standing.
Altogether, Siemann's experiment took just over two years, Zeppenfeld's
one year, and D's six months. If it became necessary to interrupt
the experiments, the feelings of well-being, performance and vigour
all decreased; once "natural sleep" from 7 p.m. to 11:20
p.m. was resumed, the new high levels of performance were quickly
regained. This did not occur with any other sleeping times. To begin
with, the parents of the experimental sleepers, namely the mothers,
were extremely sceptical - as were all - towards the natural sleep
system and kept an anxious and careful eye on their sons during
the experiments. However, in the face of the beneficial results,
they soon changed their minds and encouraged their sons to continue
with their new way of life in spite of the ridicule and the advising
against it of those around them.
3) On July 12, 1933, the headmaster Dr. E. Sembach informed me:
"Your book on natural sleep prompted me to undertake an experiment
myself. I embarked upon it last November and carried on without
interruption for five months. The result was in general very satisfactory.
I was able to overcome the state of lingering illness in which I
found myself. I went to bed between 6:30 and 7 p.m., was able to
fall asleep very quickly and initially woke up about 2 a.m. Later,
I usually awoke between midnight and 1am. I felt quite vigorous
and capable of working. Earlier it had been my custom to go to bed
at approximately 9:30 p. m. I had to have my first meal of the day
in bed and was not refreshed enough to get up until about 9am, still
without feeling actually productive. The success I have experienced
so far makes it imperative that I offer you my warmest thanks for
your discovery of natural sleep." This man, formerly almost
incapable of living a normal life, was later to stand at the forefront
of the proponents of the new healing system. The healing success
in his particular case is quite unusual and astonishing (see graph
on page 27).
4) One of the first to approach me with interest after the results
of my research became known was the priest Father Ko. who had undertaken
the experiment for a period of two years. From his report I learned
the following: "Ten years ago I was exhausted and ill with
a multitude of maladies. I suffered from a kidney complaint, diabetes,
a swollen liver, weak lungs, mucous congestion of the lungs, extreme
nightly sweats, recurring headaches, haemorrhoids and sciatica so
badly that I often didn't know how I was to get up off a chair,
the beginnings of sinusitis and was also beginning to bald rapidly.
Raw food, whole wheat bread, fasting cures and abstaining from all
meat purified my body, and I became a transformed person able to
enjoy life and capable of working. However, my delicate constitution
as well as a certain weakness of the liver and kidneys remained
so that I had to continue to live as naturally as possible. When
I became cognizant of your research on sleeping, I gradually began
to adjust my sleeping times to those suggested by you. Over a long
period of experimenting, I have definitely determined that for my
weak and sensitive constitution the period of sleep between 7:30
and 11:30 p.m. is the most valuable. I work from 11:30 p.m. onwards
and am quite able to fulfil all my duties. During the day I insert
three very brief naps. This way of life suits me extremely well
and I am told that I have a healthy appearance. I am very grateful
for your research and for the sake of many sufferers would urgently
request that you do not tire in your striving. The Lord God will
Regretfully I am often prevented from going to bed at 7 p. m., but
am nevertheless glad that overall my sleeping habits have improved."
This report, which I present here considerably shortened, was sent
to me by a catholic priest in orders. Some religious orders are
required by the rules of their order to adhere to sleeping times
that approach those of natural sleep. These have proved to be extremely
beneficial for health over the centuries. Due to their internal
and external structure, these holy orders would be able to introduce
the system of natural sleep quite easily.
5) The well-known Swiss industrialist Dr. Ing. h.c. M.U. Schoop
has followed the precepts of natural sleep as far as possible and
assures me in his letters that my "system is indeed excellent".
Among other things he writes: "My physical and mental performance
is much improved, digestion has been influenced positively and I
am usually held to be 15 years younger than I actually am. My only
complaint is that I was 70 years old before being informed of your
discovery. Your system is a discovery of the first magnitude. As
soon as I depart from it, my mood, effectiveness and well-being
at once leave something to be desired. As long as I live by it,
I am capable of accomplishing a great amount of work with the greatest
good humour and with my nervous system in superb condition."
6) Mr. Wl., still vigorous and healthy at 71, after having read
an article of mine told me as follows: „What you have found out
by means of research I discovered roughly 46 years ago through my
own experience. At that time I was responsible for the accounts
for the construction of extensive state building projects including
the payment of regular wages for many thousands of workers. I had
to work late into the night and to be in my office at 8 o'clock
in the morning. The work became too much for me and threatened to
impair my health and my strength.
A happy moment came when I had an inspiration and decided to sleep
the first half of the night and to work in the second half. No sooner
said than done. I now slept from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. and my success
was splendid. I was now able to deal with the difficult and large
amount of work easily and happily and in the best of health - work
that demanded enormous precision and responsibility. From the premise
of my extensive personal experience I would like to confirm absolutely
the results of your research. I am not, and never have been, pathologically
inclined, have always enjoyed robust health, enormous vigour and
have never suffered from nervous complaints. What I am reporting
to you is based not on illusion but on solid fact."
7) In August 1933, Mr. H.P. from the town K. in Austria re-counted
his observations with regard to his own sleeping times. I will quote
them here: "A complete lack of the ability to concentrate on
my studies in the late evening hours made it necessary for me to
try to study in the morning. And to my surprise, it worked wonders!
I arose earlier and earlier, and thus had to go to bed correspondingly
earlier. Usually I went to bed at 6:30 p.m. and set the alarm to
go off at 2 a.m. in the morning. Wide-awake and fresh I got to work
or, if there was none waiting, occupied myself with my favourite
subjects and remained fresh as a daisy all day long."
8) In May 1936, Mr. H., a teacher from W.-N. in Austria reported:
"Your natural sleep method was a brilliant success in the case
of my 36-year old wife. A month ago she had to be moved from the
local sanatorium to our home by ambulance, but now, four weeks later,
is so well that she is capable of fulfilling her domestic duties
in their entirety. I would never have dreamed that such an extremely
rapid and amazing recovery was possible."
Initially, this invalid went to bed at 7 p. m. but owing to disturbances
in the evening adjusted this to 8:15 p.m. and slept for 7 hours
on average. This case does not necessarily address the question
of sleeping times but is of great medical significance. The teacher
also wrote describing his own experiences: "Your natural sleep
method was also very beneficial to me, as we teachers need a lot
of nervous strength."
9) Dr. med. et phil. G. A. Tienes, general practitioner and sanatorium
doctor in Bad Wörishofen, with whom I had enjoyed a long correspondence,
visited me at Easter in Heidelberg in order to find out the facts
on my research and become acquainted with me. He became one of my
most tireless and faithful supporters. He requested the original
research material, taking the most important of it back to Wörishofen
with him and after subjecting all the available material to the
most intense scrutiny, immediately began to carry out the experiments
on himself. These proved to be so effective and convincing that
he constantly wrote to me affirming that it was a ground-breaking
and epochal discovery and one that would have far-reaching consequences.
My conclusions were correct and dependable; the natural law of sleep
had finally been discovered. He himself, 59 years of age, was now
able to study, practice and be otherwise active for 18 hours a day
while enjoying the best of health. His diet consisted mainly of
fresh vegetarian food.
He added that his patients were grateful to him for the benefits
of a natural rhythm of sleep, which, however, could only be applied
initially in a relative way. Even this method proved to be extremely
useful. The expert application of the absolute method, as exemplified
in his own case, allowed one to hold high expectations. Of course,
the whole cure must be carried out in accordance with nature and
in a professional manner. He went on to say that natural sleep filled
a gap in the science of healing and should, and would, enter triumphantly
into medical practice and theory as a blessing for suffering humanity.
The necessity for natural sleep is a compelling example of the unnaturalness
of our life. In civilized countries, those who are wide-awake are
an exception; average people are tired, drowsy, restless, not quite
masters of themselves, pathologically irritable and unhealthy because
they make themselves miserable by being dependent on narcotics and
sleeping tablets. It is their own fault that they often have a very
unnatural way of life - the early part of the night, that is, the
pre-midnight period, is spent in recreation, pleasure and distraction
instead of following the need to go to bed early. A need which makes
itself heard at about 6 or 7 p.m. if one leads an active life and
abstains from substances that are counterproductive to natural sleep.
Of course, the natural sleep of civilized people can not be unhesitatingly
compared with the natural sleep of primitive people, and it is correct
that a large percentage of the test subjects of the Stöckmann system
are of the "nervous" type, but by no means all.
I have ascertained the positive effects of natural sleep in the
case of many subjects possessing healthy nerves.
10) A catholic priest in orders, holding an important post within
the organization, expressed himself in a circular printed in 1936
as follows: "On holiday this year I made a wonderful discovery.
During my holiday I commenced with a sleeping cure which has done
me the world of good as those who know me are able to confirm. I
have been practising this way of life (that of natural sleep) for
five months now while burdened with a great amount of work and have
never been so fresh and capable of work as I have been since this
discovery. It is nothing short of a rejuvenation cure. The sanatorium
Steinach is absolutely nothing compared to this.
I would be happy if those in particular whose duties and tasks are
always too much for them were to act on this suggestion, as they
would gain more time than they would ever have dreamed possible.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating!"
11) The construction worker H. Flossbeck, 28 years old, single and
a self-taught man, has written in various publications about his
experiences with natural sleep. Let us read what he wrote in the
"Wendepunkt" 4/1938 on page 204:
"I was without employment for some time. In March of last year
I once again joined the work force and was very happy about this.
However, soon a new worry raised its head. I asked myself if I was
capable of dealing with the demands of the new position. In former
times I had only been employed for light tasks and had not worked
physically hard. Now I had to work for nine hours a day with a pickaxe
and shovel. Tired and exhausted I dragged myself home each evening.
In an hour of quiet contemplation I realized that things could not
continue like this and began to search doggedly for a solution.
I remembered an article by Professor Stöckmann in the March edition
of the ,Neuform-Rundschau'. Reminding myself that a good start is
half the battle, I completely readjusted my daily schedule.
I went to bed between 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Falling asleep was easy
for me, as after work I was as tired as an old bear. Half an hour
before midnight was when my new day began. First of all I washed
in cold water followed by deep breathing and pleasant stretching
and relaxation of the body. Afterwards I immediately commenced with
my studies, having time for them until 5 o'clock in the morning.
Sometimes I inserted a rest period of half an hour.
I have been keeping to this regimen since May 1937, that is, for
eight months now and it is hard to believe how my capacity for work
has improved - mentally as well as physically. I still come home
tired after nine hours of construction work but am no longer exhausted.
I work 17 to 18 hours a day, first of all with my head and then
with my body, 4 hours sleep is enough for me and I live a rich and
Twice I have experimented with returning to my old sleep and work
rhythms in order to see what the results would be. After several
days the physical and mental freshness deteriorated, followed by
the ability to concentrate on my work and finally my general state
of health. My body obviously requires natural sleep.
Conversely, since adjusting to natural sleep, I have noticed that
my sleep has become deep and sound. A minor heart complaint and
a convulsive nervous exhaustion from which I formerly suffered have
almost completely disappeared.
What is important in my experience is that one has one's sleep out
and is not woken by other means, or at least only when constant
oversleeping has to be overcome.
For years now I have lived on a natural diet without meat."
12) Dr. med. Werner Tiegel, whom we have much to thank for with
regard to the research in and medical evaluation of sleeping times,
published a report in the "Kneipp-Blätter" no. 6/1936,
on the experiments undertaken on himself in which among other things
he states: "The adjustment proved to be quite difficult for
me at first. During the first few days I had recourse to a number
of cigarettes and cups of strong coffee to fight the recurring,
sneaking fatigue. Soon, however, my body became accustomed to the
adjustment and I was able to manage three times my normal amount
of work. The fatigue
* With regard to alarm clocks: The pleasant awakening
without an alarm is fundamentally the goal to be achieved. The alarm
clock can, however, be a valuable aid when constant oversleeping
has to be overcome. It also represents a further useful aid when
the practised natural sleeper has had to go to bed several hours
later than is normal for a few days due to external circumstances.
Due to the positive influence of habit, it is still usually possible
to limit the period of sleep to five hours by means of the alarm
clock without tiredness being noticeable during the day.
Those who are unable to wake up without an alarm clock when practising
natural sleep are probably doing something wrong, as: following
a denatured diet, sleeping in a noisy bedroom or unfavourable place
with too much light, or have burdened the body with toxic substances
etc. The publisher
noticed at the beginning of the experiment was soon completely
shaken off. I can't express sufficiently what a wonderful feeling
it is to have 18 hours of productive work before one. Initially
I allowed nature to find its own way and arose towards 3 a.m., then
towards 2 a.m., getting up ever earlier until the time of 11:20
was attained without the use of an alarm clock. After two weeks
of working hard, there were no more feelings of tiredness.
Whoever attempts this experiment will soon realize great success
and much better health. A truly alert race is coming into being,
mature and ready for great deeds."
Dr. Tiegel emphasizes particularly that nervous insomnia and the
fatigue experienced by those who live in big cities disappears when
the conversion has been made.
13) In a letter dated 14th November, 1940, a doctor speaks of her
ideas on breastfeeding: "I think it is possible that it is
a wrong idea to feed children once again at 10 p.m. The majority
of children are fast asleep at this time and most mothers ask them-
selves if they really ought to wake them again. For many nursing
mothers these late hours represent a strain which they only subject
themselves to in order to give their children this late feed. How
would it be if we were to suggest to mothers that they go to bed
about 7pm (solar time) and enjoy their sleep until the baby wakes
them? Based on my experience I can say that this is usually be-tween
1 and 2am."
14) Dr. med. et phil. Tienes (see above) wrote to me on 29th February,
1944: "You have asked me for a medical opinion on the system
of natural sleep that you have discovered and which I have been
prescribing in my practice for roughly nine years.
My experiences with ,natural time', the sleep before midnight, have
been the best imaginable. Following a short period of adjustment,
the invalids - particularly those suffering from nervous and circulatory
complaints but still capable of walking - have become so accustomed
to the system of natural sleep that with increasing strength of
will it becomes progressively easy for them to get up following
an inner urge after having had their sleep out and to undertake
useful activity and occupy themselves or - even if is still dark
- to go outside to take the air. Thus, self-confidence and the will
to become healthy and follow medical advice conscientiously have
happily greatly increased as well as a healthy trust in life.
The benefits are surprisingly great particularly for those who are
exhausted, suffering from nervous complaints or collapses, having
heart and circulatory problems and those suffering from insomnia,
as the natural life and healing urges are stimulated. The often
atrophied urge towards life and healing is strengthened and the
fundamental understanding of a sensible - that is, natural - way
of living is encouraged, thereby easing the task of the doctor.
If carried out properly, there are no damaging effects of natural
sleep. I can decisively confirm this based on my observations of
several thousand invalids. Personally, I have had the most favourable
experiences with natural time and have won over many of my colleagues
to its benefits."