Why Do We Sleep – A Lesson to Learn

- | 43 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Health & Wellness

a girl wondering why do we sleep

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.

sleep button

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

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43 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. JAY

    2013-08-14 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Its Jay again. Nice article.
    For me sleeping is nothing but a way to replenish and regenerate energy to carry out and deals with new challenges that will come across me next day.

  2. Shan Naqvi

    2013-06-12 at 12:00 pm

    Hello Harleena,

    You have distributed a wonderful factor with us. I have few questions – what do you say about resting in day and evening time? What do you say is it also excellent like night. How many hours we should must sleep?

  3. Matthew Denos

    2013-04-26 at 11:46 am

    I sleep 8 hours and I feel great. Here is what I have noticed. The more time I sleep before midnight the better the quality of my sleep. It’s as if the hours before midnight count more! Anybody with this experience? So, my ideal sleep time is 10pm-6am.

  4. Krisca Te

    2013-04-12 at 2:19 pm

    I LOL-ed and whoa-ed at the part when you mentioned about sleep deleting cache memory. I know sleep helps the brain recuperate from the activities of the day and this helped me understand the whole picture of its importance when you pointed this out. It\’s such a relief to know that the unnecessary part is removed. Whew!Good stuff! 🙂

  5. Kulwant Singh

    2013-03-10 at 9:55 pm

    Nice article on sleep .

    Well I like to sleep a lot specially int he mornings when my mom comes and asks me to wake up . 🙂

  6. Rohit Langde

    2013-02-24 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Harleena, You have answered it completely in a geeky way.. “Deletes the cache memory, defragmentation, processes and tasks” 🙂

    Sleep is really a powerful thing. You can actually hack your brain to be more productive if you know fundas of Sleep Cycle. I would recommend reading Dustin Cartis’ page for this: dustincurtis.com/sleep.html

    Well, I was little curious about sleep cycles, tried various ways to keep track of it. One of my recent tests include use of Sleep as Droid app which takes care to wake you up in light sleep to guarantee Fresh mornings. You can check my review on it.

  7. Aditya

    2013-02-24 at 6:39 pm

    Sleeping is good but sleeping at the right time is what matters. The brain heavily relies on sleep and oxygen for it’s health and any tiny change of balance in either of them can cause havoc in our lives and I’ve personally experienced it when I was going through a depression, my sleep schedule was awry and I do face a few consequences of that to this day.

    I’m so glad you’ve highlighted such an important topic that is often overlooked.


  8. Ahsan

    2013-02-23 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Another knowledgeable post on why we sleep. Definitely sleep gives us new spirit to work in full force. Have a nice day 🙂

  9. Carolyn

    2013-02-23 at 8:28 am

    Hi Harleena, Great topic!

    Sleep is essential, as you point out, but so few people take it seriously. To answer your first question, yes, I’ve wondered about that since I was a child. When I was little I told my parents that sleep was a waste of time so I wasn’t going to sleep anymore.

    After I had twins that prediction nearly came true. I then discovered how essential sleep was and what happened when you didn’t get it. Not fun.

    Thanks for this great article reminding us of the vital importance of sleep, Harleena!

  10. Dakota

    2013-02-23 at 6:44 am

    Excellent Harleena!

    Now please tell my Dad that teenagers need more sleep than adults:) Not getting enough sleep usually hits me worst an hour or so before I go to sleep. I crash pretty quick.

  11. Koundeenya

    2013-02-22 at 6:33 pm

    Hey Harleena!

    That’s really an informative post.

    I never knew that there’s so much behind sleeping. I was thinking, we sleep because we need rest from the daily routine and even our mind needs some rest from the random useless thoughts which go on for the entire day.

    There’s so much to learn from this. These days, I’m sad to say that I lack sleep. I have my daily routines in the day session and as I got to write for my blogs and clients, I usually work in the nights. So I think, before I go to the non-REM sleep, morning wakes me up. I should really take a break.

    Thanks for sharing such an awesome article.
    Have a great weekend.

  12. Hossain

    2013-02-22 at 12:17 pm

    Wow what a sleep! Sorry what a nice article. We sleep because we need to sleep. Many people loves to sleep because they loves dreams. I don’t know you believe it or not, but the dreams is an extra satisfaction of mind of a human life. Some dreams are painful and some are symbol of hope.

    This is a very interesting subject to discuss. Thanks for sharing..

  13. Sylviane Nuccio

    2013-02-22 at 8:37 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Wow, I finally made it here! What a busy week for me.

    I really enjoyed this post and you haven’t missed a thing about sleep.

    Yes, imagine that! we sleep one third of our life. It’s said that during an average life we sleep some 21 years. That’s a lot, isn’t it?

    But as you mentioned we wouldn’t be able to even function without sleep. Our body, brain and as you said ever our mind are at rest when we sleep.

    Then sleep induces dreams which are also vital for our health and sanity.

    Whether we like it or not, we wouldn’t even be able to function without sleep. When I lack sleep I’m a mess 🙂 I really need my sleep, and I’m actually going to bed right now 🙂

    Thanks for a great post!

  14. Michael Belk

    2013-02-22 at 4:13 am

    Great topic Harleena. When I first heard of REM I was disgusted because I did not understand it and I was tired.

    The thing about the body, it will force us to catch up and unfortunately sleep is not like a bank account you can make a deposit when you want to.

    You are asking some interesting questions.
    Good work.

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Why Do We Sleep – A Lesson to Learn

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