THESE days it’s often said we live in a nanny state but back in the Southampton of 1942 the government made no bones about issuing instructions and advice to families living through the Second World War.

In a specially-written article that appeared in the Daily Echo in August 1942 a Whitehall medical officer offered some tips in how to get a good night’s sleep.

This came at a time when hardly a night went passed in undisturbed slumber when parents had to gather up their children to disappear into the garden air raid shelter as enemy bombers did their worst.

“Sleep – it is a blessed thing,’’ the medical officer told Daily Echo readers.

“It repairs the wear and tear of today and restores us for the job of tomorrow. “When you are settling down, try to think of something pleasant, a treat to come or a pleasure enjoyed. Lie flat with with a pillow just high enough to keep you head level with your body. Lie on your right side. Think of something nice and go limp.You will soon be asleep.

Daily Echo:

“Children need at least ten hours’ sleep. Grown-ups need less sleep, they can manage with sleep at odd times. They can lose a whole night’s sleep, or even two

nights, and then make it up with a few hours extra on the third night.

“Remember those brave men of Dunkirk who came back unshaven, hungry and tired. One long sleep and they were fit again.’’

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Southampton families were told that even under the “present difficulties’’ it was possible to have a good night’s rest.

“We can sleep in a noise, if it is a regular noise, even if it is the noise of guns,’’ said the medical officer.

“But we cannot sleep if we are cold,if our feet are cold. We cannot sleep if we are hungry. We cannot sleep if our room is badly ventilated and we are hot and sticky.’’

Daily Echo:

Daily Echo readers were then given practical advice from the medical officer to ensure complete rest to prepare for the next day, even if the air raid sirens sounded “Get off to sleep early. The first sleep is the best sleep. Get in two or three hours before Wailing Annie can disturb you. Make sure you are warm. If you sleep in a shelter take a hot water bottle with you even on a summer’s night.

“If you are hungry nibble a piece of bread or biscuit before turning in. Whether you sleep in your bedroom, in a shelter or downstairs, you cannot do anything about the danger overhead. If you have no ARP (Air Raid Precautions) or fire-watching to do, go to sleep. The Fire Guards’ whistle will wake you if a spot of fire extinguishing needs to be done.’’