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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.)

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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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