Have you ever wondered about why do we sleep? You might wonder what kind of question is this.
Sleeping is something that we all do by default, everyday – isn’t it? No questions asked, as we take it for granted.
And, so it is. Sleeping is our natural behavior, and in fact, we sleep for about one-third of our lives!
But on the other hand, everybody has an idea about why we sleep. By sleeping we rest our body and brain. We sleep to overcome our tiredness and to get refreshed.
Sleep is important for our health. I spent some time researching about sleep and got to know many other facts that answered my question – “Why do we sleep?”
Why Do We Sleep
We sleep because it’s a habit, right? It is something that we’re conditioned to do since we’re born.
Well, it’s more than a habit. Sleep is a necessity, just like drinking and eating. We cannot function properly without sleeping.
Our body needs rest after a certain time, which is determined by the natural body clock and rhythm.
Sleep is also the time when our brain organizes information, and carries out the required neuro-chemical processes.
The brain also orders the release of maintenance, repairing, and growth concerning hormones. It instructs the nervous system to make an assessment of the body.
Sleeping is like putting up the ‘under maintenance’ notice on our blogs while we try to change its settings and layout in the background.
Sleep is a restorative, adaptive, and preservation process. The brain keeps working even after we sleep.
Our brain uses this time to do what we can best associate with the housekeeping tasks of our computer.
It deletes the cache memory, gets rid of unnecessary mental processes and tasks.
The brain further defragments, sorts, and organizes our memory according to its nature, to make it easily accessible at a later given time.
So, that is why we can recall things better after we’ve had a good night’s sleep. Even a short daytime power-nap helps our brain to reorganize itself.
The brain and the body make use of this opportunity to repair the damaged cells and networks, assess the day’s activities and the processes involved to make them useful.
Our brain needs a peaceful time without any interruptions to carry out these tasks, which happens only when we sleep, and that is why we sleep.
So, next when we feel refreshed after waking up from our sleep, it means our brain and body did their housekeeping tasks quite well!
But, if we don’t feel fresh and still have flurry of thoughts pinging and bouncing in our head, it means our brain couldn’t get the opportunity to work at its best because our mind was still active.
Well, well. We considered the body and the brain, but we neglected the mind.
Why Don’t We Mind the Sleep
Our mind has no physical existence in the body, and it is different from the brain. Modern science defines mind as the element that makes us reason, feel, think, will, judge, perceive, etc.
Mind is also known as the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities that direct and influence our mental and physical behavior.
Our attitudes, perceptions, and persona are all associated with our mind. It is our mind that defines us and makes us feel and think what we are.
Our mind is the creator of our ego – the consciousness of our identity. Our mind is the creator of all worries, tensions, anxieties, and fears.
When we experience good sleep, the mind also sleeps.
When our mind sleeps, our ego also sleeps. We lose the consciousness of our identity and forget ourselves.
When we sleep, we don’t experience any worry or fear. If our mind is totally inactive and dormant, we experience peace. We’re happy.
But our body and the brain are active doing their housekeeping jobs.
However once our mind is active during sleep, we’re restless, have dreams, and don’t feel refreshed when we wake up.
That is why sleep is called the state of reduced or absent consciousness.
Types of Sleep
Though science still does not have a definite answer to why do we sleep, but modern research has given us an insight into what sleep is about.
There are two basic types of sleep – rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM).
Non-REM is the state of deep sleep in which our mind is at rest. We dream during the REM sleep when our mind is active. The REM and non-REM sleep occur in regular cycles when we sleep.
The longer the non-REM sleep, the better sleep we’ve and better we feel when we wake up.
To give proper rest to our body and brain, we need to sleep daily at regular intervals and for a sufficient period.
Generally adults are okay with 7 to 8 hours of sleep, which gives enough time to the body and brain to complete their work and upkeep our health.
We should also adopt healthy eating and sleeping habits. We need to know what to do and what not to do before going to sleep.
Also, we need to keep our mind calm and clear before we go to sleep so it is not disturbed by useless thoughts and worries.
I believe that apart from the physical and mental health reasons and benefits, our sleep gives us an everyday lesson to observe and a hidden meaning to discover.
We come to practically experience and know that all our life’s problems start and end with the mind.
Absence of mind in fact gives us peace and happiness – the tranquility that we’re searching for all our life.
Mind is not bad, but if we can control or tame it, we can experience the peace and happiness even while we’re awake that we do when we’re in deep sleep.
Of course, we need to meditate to learn mind control and not try to achieve it by sleeping more. Our mind contributes greatly to our better health.
I hope you can now understand why do we sleep and what is the most important lesson that we learn.
Over to You –
What do you think – why do we sleep? Do you believe controlling the mind helps you in any way?
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Posted on: February 19th, 2013
Last Updated on: February 20th, 2013