Some people believe and report the effectiveness of a method of ensuring they wake at a certain time that consists of banging their head against their pillow the required number of times before they go to sleep. For instance, if they wish to wake up at 8 o'clock, they bang eight times.

What is the earliest recorded instance of this belief and practice? And how far has it spread geographically? (I encountered it in England.)


The earliest published reference I have found to this belief is by E C Nesbit's character Caroline in The Wonderful Garden or The Three Cs, 1911:

"No, we must hide him, and wake him before they call us. I can always wake up if I bang my head the right number of times on the pillow before I go to sleep."

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