‘Sleep’ is the essential part of any living beings on this earth. Everything sleeps at a particular time and or period and is inbuilt in biological programs of body in congruent with organic form of life. Plants, trees, insects, worms, animals and mankind all are having this quality rather habit of ‘sleep’ and consumes almost one quarter of their life in ‘sleeping’ status. Ironically, mankind does not give enough attention and care to the status of ‘sleeping’ in other word the ‘unconscious nature or state’ of life. Instead we give as much as importance to ‘awaken or conscious nature or state’ of life. Since it is a natural occurrence and effected due to the tiredness of nerves and muscles, we human beings leave this entire stage to the natural process and mystery. In fact, both status of life plays vital role in refurbishing the human energy, yet mankind simply not interested or become insignificant to the dark affairs of life. Life is not naturally imbalanced, but unnaturally, due to excessive delirious in ‘awakened state’ for obvious ‘dark’ reasons.
Sleeping is a natural periodic suspension of consciousness in which the power of body is restored. However, the clear definition of sleep and functioning of body parts during this suspended consciousness state are not clear yet. People who have lack of sleep get into irritation, forgetful, uncoordinated, hallucinatory and even psychotic. Sleep disorder may lead to rare fatal familial insomnia and is untreatable. Insomnia may lead to hallucination and eventually to death. The truth is that every one of us experiences mild insomnia once in our life. In human beings sleep is linked with hormone levels and specific brain electrical activity, including delta waves quiet different from the brain’s awakening activity.
Brain usually generates different kind of waves such as alpha, beta, gamma, theta and delta waves. Alpha waves are generated during awaken state of mind along with other waves depends on brain’s activity. However, when the brain is in deep sleep or completely unconscious level, delta waves are active which are slowest in frequency range between 1-4 hertz. Delta waves are particularly beneficial for brain performance. Deep sleep helps the brain to release more delta waves that has numerous benefits including better intuition connectivity and deep spirituality. It also releases anti aging hormones that reduces the release of Cortisol cells which are responsible for stress and quicker aging. In plain terms the mind and muscles are getting repaired while we have deep sleep. Many sleep experts recommend average eight hours sleep to have better mental alertness and avoid physical sore and tension.
Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol disturb the sleep a lot and cause frequent awakenings at night. Alcohol is one of the worst agents that will make snoring even terrible. Snoring is the not indication of deep sleep as many believes, but indication of depression or related sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and central nervous system hyper-somnolence. However, in most cases snoring happens due to throat and windpipe congestions. A study from German clinic says that snoring make the person silly. Snoring persons have performed worse in intelligence test. An American study says that snoring kills brain cells responsible for intelligence by depriving the body oxygen. In fact, snoring can be stop or controlled by doing a small surgery at throat by removing the tissue.
In addition to above reasons many of us failed to realize a major habit of us for disturbed sleep that occurs in our daily life. Watching movies, emotional serials and obscene scenes at early part of night or prior to sleep causes deep conscious and unconscious emotional conflicts during sleep and responsible for the hyper subconscious level which will certainly spoils a good sleep.
Scientists are classifying the sleep into five different stages.
Stage 1: It’s a dozing stage indicating the mental and physical tiredness that forces to take rest.
Stage 2: Light sleep stage in which the body rests and the circulation of blood gradually reduced to the vital organs and other parts of the body including brain.
Stage 3: It is a mixture of light and deep sleep, in which the sleeping person can hear or observe certain sounds but usually non responsive
Stage 4: It is a deep sleep stage and most essential part of sleep. Generally the sleeping individual does not understand anything that is happening around him unless a huge sound or disturbance occurs. The research analysis says that the mechanical and physical functions of the body are repaired during this stage.
Stage 5: It is a dreaming sleep or REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The eye movements during dream correspond with dream plot lines. The remainder of the body paralyzed during REM sleep, which prevent us from physically acting on our dreams. The research says that REM sleep repair mental functions of the body, hence the dreams are the indication of the repair of the brain. It does not mean that the dreams are only indication of active brain and functioning.
The delta waves are active during the fourth and fifth stages of sleep can be experienced through dreams. Most of the dreams are long or seems to be longer than the actual time span due to the heavy release of delta waves with the slowest speed of 1-4 hertz. There is an interesting relativity between the delta mental waves that does not match the usual time speed. The slowest delta mental waves actually help the dreams against the time speed during unconscious stage of mind and are the reason for long dreams and sometimes tiring. There are many research activities happening to uncover the relativity between the delta waves and the dreams.
A four year old child spends average of three to four hours in dreaming per night. The duration of dream reduces to roughly between 100 to 120 minutes per night after 10 years old.
Ancient civilizations believe that dreams are bridge between mankind and supernatural or God or induced by language of evils and demons. Soothsayers believe that dreams could foretell one’s future. In fact, mankind is always curious to know what is ahead of us and therefore they consider dreams have major role in prophetic power of attributing and astrological predictions.
Psychoanalysts say that they have certain method to diagnose the troubles of individuals by asking and recording their dreams. Further, they say that dreams reveal our secret wishes, fears, loves and hatreds. In dreams we become our true self and identify us with hidden dual character is what modern psychiatric confirms.
Everyone dreams and is a matter of remembering them. Mostly we are unable to reconstruct our dreams and nevertheless dreams are integral part of life. Dreams fulfill our functions, wishes, inspire us and release inhibitions. Dream also releases our accumulated unhealthy emotions, hide the meanings in symbols and take us back to carefree childhood life. Dreams may have practical values and repeated dreams are indication of root conflicts in our personality or related to unresolved issues in life. Associating famous persons in dreams might have the indication of deep rooted inferiority complex.
I have taken another interesting rout to study the ‘sleep’ in religious context from Holy Quran.
In Holy Quran, chapter 78, verse 9 ‘And made your sleep for rest’ meaning sleeping is essential part of life and the scientific research suggests that a sound sleep is highly refreshing by repairing the mental and physical part of body. It is a natural cause programmed in body and mind by the Creator to refresh the physical and mental conditions of mankind.
In chapter 30, verse 23, Allah says “It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep; those on who He has passed the decree of death He keeps back (from returning to life) but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect”.
The interesting revelation of ‘He keeps back’ has certain meanings denoting the migration of souls to an unknown destination or space. The Almighty claims that He retains all souls with Him and to those He passed the decree of death will be prevented from going back.
In a tradition (Hadith) from Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), related by Abdullah Bin Abi Qataba, mentioned in Sahih Bukhari that “during a travel when everybody got to sleep and Bilal have said prophet Mohammed (PBUH) that he will not sleep and responsible to wake them for Fajr (morning) prayer. But he also got to sleep and unable to wake up for Adhan (call for prayer). Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) have wake and found the sun is on its edge. So he wake up Bilal and asked him what happened to his statement? Bilal replied that I have never slept like this one. The beloved Prophet said it is Allah captured your soul and He released when he wishes”.
The question is that are we experiencing a temporary death during our sleep? Is sleep twin brother of death? I will leave this question to readers to explore the answer. Nevertheless, sleep is an indication and reminder to mankind that one day we need to permanently sleep upon terminating our connection with this universe. One can be a believer of God or atheist, but experiencing the unconscious nature of life at every night in which we have no control on our mind and body. We are experiencing a phenomenal miracle of life at every night with little or no attention to it. It is necessary for every individual to give equal attention to ‘sleep’ an important state of life because living beings are naturally balanced.
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