Why Does The Rejuvenation of Sleep Come From Being Unconscious?


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sleepingSleep, more like the Sister to death
Why does the rejuvenation of sleep, come from being unconscious?

Have you ever wondered, “Why do we as humans sleep?”
If we humans were the machine-like creatures of classical Newtonian physics we would not need “sleep”, only simply a steady source of fuel, until the internal parts are corrupted beyond repair, and can no longer function properly as a unit. But humans can’t really continue without sleep, using fuel as our only source of energy, can we?

We are born sleepers; a newborn sleeps approximately 20-22 hours a day for its first weeks upon arrival of this dense planet. No matter how much you try to arouse their attention to the world of matter, they remain non-physically focused within their physical bodies. Short, emergent burst into to their waking world, for fuel and data, then back to dreamland for a newly arrived humans. This sort of behavior continues for the first three months of life, while the sleep begins to taper off as they become more accustomed to the 3D environment. So why is sleep so important? Why does one need the tool of removing ones attention from the world that is perceived through our 5 senses? If you are to take an objective look at sleep and its components, what happens during sleep to the human body and what are the repercussions of not sleeping? It begins to become easy to hypothesize that wherever we “go” when we lay down our physical bodies and withdraws our consciousness from the world perceived with our senses, is the place that we prefer on some level.

First lets tackle the question, why is sleep so important? While researching information for this essay, I interviewed several people and it was a general consensus that we all need sleep to “rest” or for “rejuvenation”. I asked one college student and his reply was “because I need the energy…” what a paradox, to gain energy for the waking world, one must lose consciousness, this remains a paradox because even though it seems as if your body is in a state of restfulness, the inner workings of your body have not ceased at all.

During sleep the human body and brain goes into action, every night your brain performs a tune-up, Brain cells that were active all day shut down for repair. Chemicals clean up from brain cells activity and in some places new brain cells grow, during REM sleep your brain gets so busy that the blood flow is nearly doubled, which means there’s still active communication between your mind and heart, arteries, organs cells, bones, limps all never stop doing what they do during sleep, really .. The only part that shuts down is our thought center, the frontal lobe located within your brain.
The frontal lobes are considered our emotional control center and home to our personality. This part of our brain is the only part that is no longer active, which lends to the question, why does the personality part of our body remove its focus upon the body? And why does this process of allowing our conscious mind remove itself from the unity of human bodily function, seem to replenish our energy??

If our conscious mind is replenishing itself from some other source then it must be a postulate that is not yet being considered. What is this source of energy? Have we begun to consider the magnitude of its power? If you understand the amount of time you sleep, usually between 6-10 hours for the average human, which is around 18-20% of each day spent in an unconscious state. And this state by all accounts is what we need to receive energy, by this clear statement it seems easy for this writer to see how somehow the source of human energy is non-physical and our immortality lies in knowledge that we humans need sleep to survive the waking world of matter. Which leads to the idea that maybe we are not as much “human” as we think, but more this non-physical energy that sustains our human body, Humans need non-physical retreat from waking consciousness to continue to use the extremely limited however fine-tuned 5 senses to perceive the world of matter, if this is true, and it is, then we can easily consider that one’s permanent withdrawal of consciousness from the 3D world of matter, the idea that we call “death” can be no more than the full focus upon this non-physical source on which we have drawn upon, by way of sleep, during the entire human lifespan.

Sleep must not only be a cousin to death, but more closely related as in a sister. These are two ideas, born from the same notion. In a sense we each “die” every night, each night removing your consciousness from your world, your world that you see, smell and taste and touch, to replenish ourselves but really when you think of it, what part of our bodies are really being replenished? Our human form lives on food, gets its energy from carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, but somehow without the releasing of our consciousness from this world once every 24hr orbit of the Earth, we cannot even focus our minds on this waking world.

Our human bodies are clearly mechanisms of wonder and delight, however cannot be the dwelling place that is commonly perceived, sleep is the clear indicator of this perception. Moreover, if our human bodies purpose serves to function more like vehicles, using sleep or the removal of consciousness for fuel, then it’s possible that death is the removal of that vehicle, not the driver.


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  1. Awesome article! A must read.

    Reply
  2. Love that. “….death is the remover of the vehicle, not the driver.” Meaning after the vehicle is removed, there is only the driver. The driver then finds another vehicle! The spiritual life cycle. 😀

    Reply
  3. Good article.
    .

    Reply
  4. Joshua Van Schaick

    Wouldn’t the driver then be, consciousness? What Lao Tzu speaks of as the, Tao?

    Reply
    • Drake M.

      You may be thinking of “… your body dies; Tao endures: there is no danger.”

      Take this in context with the rest of the book – it’s not a reference to an afterlife or anything supernatural.

      Reply
      • There is so much general fear about concluding something “supernatural”. Let the fear be hereby dispelled: There is no “supernatural”. If it happens, it is part of nature, and it is our deficient understanding of nature that needs to expand.

        Reply
  5. Tara

    I have a similar theory. In my view you’re right about sleep = death and that we plug in to another level of “real”. And when we’re able to do so while remaining conscious of it, that’s when you get the most energy out of it. When I lucid sleep and dream I wake up with an exponentially larger energy and clear mind, even if I only had 30 mins of sleep. For me, no theory about sleep and dreaming is correct if it doesn’t take in consideration lucid sleep and dream and the experiences that come from it, because they often contradict what we think sleep and dreams are for.

    Reply
  6. peter warther

    Peter Warther 21st January 2012
    A thought, what if we absorb energy during our sleep cycles, how about then releasing energy during our ”alive” stage.

    Reply
  7. Hagop

    Is it healthy to have afternoon siesta as the do the Mediterranean people ?

    Reply
    • The mediterranean people escape from the heat of the sun. Maybe they “save” their senses from too much input. As I am living on a spanish island I got used to do this, too and may say that it is a good way to recharge senses energy.

      Reply
  8. Steven W

    Same goes for some animals I guess

    Reply
  9. Sarah Babiker

    Good read, I agree with your thoughts on the soul leaving the body when we sleep and returning when we wake.

    It reminds me of something I read which explains this theory in more detail.

    It doesn’t matter if your muslim, or christian, jewish etc or not, information and science benefits everyone and this is one solid explanation for what happens when we sleep and why.

    (“nafs” refers to soul or the self btw) Hope people check it out if they are open-minded to learn about theories of sleep :)

    ____

    Sura 39, verse 42 reads as follows:

    “God takes the souls (al-anfus) at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” (Qur’an 39:42)

    Verses such as these are not easily susceptible to an analytical approach since they hint at realities that are not readily amenable to scientific, experimental, or discursive knowledge. They point at metaphysical truths which we can attempt to unravel through various means but which ultimately we cannot know with certainty except through actual experience, whether that experience is gifted to someone while they are still alive or whether we experience it, as we all ultimately will, after our physical death when metaphysical realities which we only fuzzily and abstractly understood while alive will become piercingly clear to us. “…But now We have removed from you your veil, so your perception today is piercing….” (Qur’an 50:22) Of course, at that point we will not be able to return to describe what we learn. So we are left with revelation, the guidance of the Prophets and awliya, the various writings of those who have wrestled with such questions, and our own struggle to understand and attempt to discern possible meanings. And our understanding is subject to many limitations – we are restricted to seeking analogies and likenesses that may provide only a partial conceptual understanding of realities that remain largely unseen and unknown.

    To unfurl the possible meanings requires interpretation and interpretation is dependent on the type, level, and depth of knowledge and understanding – which is why it is prudent and realistic to indicate that any given interpretation (of such verses) is only a possible meaning and not a certainty – since all understanding is hemmed in by our many limitations (and complete certainty was only in the experiential knowledge of the Prophet and the Imams).

    In the verse “God takes the souls (al-anfus)…”, ‘taking the souls’ at the time of sleep does not necessarily refer to any displacement in space. In other words it is not necessary to think of it in terms of some mysterious force or ghostlike substance leaving the physical body and then later returning to it.

    During wakefulness, our face is turned towards this world and experiences a particular mode of existence and during sleep it is turned inwards and experiences another enigmatic mode of existence.

    When we sleep our consciousness fades and we are no longer in charge of our own selves – our hold on our self becomes very tenuous – automatic regulating processes step in and maintain us while our consciousness sublimates to a different level. Our nafs (our self) is no longer in “our” charge but is held in a different alternate state. God has set up a system by which our nafs (our individual self) is held intact in some manner until we wake – He “takes” and holds our nafs.

    “And He it is Who takes your souls at night (in sleep), and He knows what you acquire in the day, then He raises you up therein that certain conditions may be fulfilled….” (Qur’an 6:60)

    As well, “taking” can have the sense of bringing something close to oneself. Proximity, in relation to God, cannot however be conceived of in any physical sense.

    Nearness to God is not dependent on any kind of spatial or temporal motion since concepts like place and time are not applicable to the One who created space and time and through Whom these qualities of the material world subsist. Rather the nafs may be said to have extension into different levels of reality than the one of which we are consciously aware. It has a simultaneous existence and presence in this world and others (in this level of reality and others). In sleep, we may have flashes and glimpses of these other levels – of a realm in which traits, tendencies, and knowledge can take on forms and shapes not dependent on the physical matter of this world (much as desires, fears, anxieties etc. can take on symbolic forms and images in dreams). This is possibly why sleep is said to be a likeness of death – it can provide a glimpse into another mode of the nafs existence (one in which our internal knowledge and character traits manifest as external forms and events).

    In sleep we lose consciousness of the material world and we may receive a glimpse (through consciousness turning inwards) of other realms as well as fitful and fleeting symbolic indicators (of the state of our own souls) in the form of dreams. We enter into the world of our nafs which manifests its contents in varying ways during sleep. So our consciousness moves from one modality to another. It has a simultaneous existence on multiple planes although in wakefulness we are only aware of one of these. In sleep our awareness of one level weakens and recedes and we enter into a different modality and different awareness.

    This occurs in regular sleep and it also happens in the permanent sleep of death – where one suffers illness or injury which causes suspension of consciousness. In sleep or on the road to death (no matter what form that death takes or how slowly or swiftly it arrives) there will be a transition (even if only a momentary instance) during which consciousness withdraws from its awareness and perception of this world. If this withdrawal is only caused by sleep then the consciousness is able to later transition back to wakefulness in this world – otherwise (if caused by death) it will remain intact in the other.

    http://islamfrominside.com/Pages/Tafsir/Tafsir(39-42)-Sleep%20and%20Death.html

    Reply
  10. Drake M.

    Oh no… I’m very saddened to see that people believe these things, because it means that, even though you won’t be disappointed when you’ve died, your death will, most certainly, be a total disappointment – not at all the beautiful, real, complete thing that it is.

    I’m not here to troll or anything silly like that, but I must completely contradict this garbage.

    Consciousness is a scientifically reducible occurrence: it occurs in brains and stops when the consciousness activity stops.

    There are no souls. Descarte was wrong. It is not depressing and it is MOST CERTAINLY NOT THAT TO WHICH THE LAO TZU REFERS. Taoism offers explicit atheism and soundly-reasoned anarchism.

    Reply
  11. Drake M.

    For the superior explanation of dreams (incidentally the one most accepted by people who study dreams/ dreaming/ circadian rhythms) see The Synthesis and Activation Theory.

    Reply
  12. Richard Dench

    Drake M…”Consciousness is a scientifically reducible occurrence: it occurs in brains and stops when the consciousness activity stops.”
    You sound utterly convinced…..how can you be so sure of your beliefs?

    Reply
  13. God , the Soul , and Immortality are only shadows from the past!

    Reply
  14. Douglas Arestegui Castaénos

    25 – 41.6% actually :)

    Reply
  15. Sebastien

    What if being awake and being conscious are two different things. Just like it is when you’re having a dream and sometimes when you know that you are dreaming. It has been rare anyway in my case but I know its a totally different perspective. I like what Eckart Tolle says about consciousness. You can be awake and using your senses but at the same time being unconscious in the sense that you live with a mental idea of what was or what should be. Your thinking mind acting like a screen in front of reality. So I find it interesting when you talk about the studies showing that the part of thinking. The mind has no activity during deep sleep. As Eckart seems to point out you’re only at peace when your consciousness is focused in the only moment there is, that is now. In that way the thinking mind is not interfering with the perception of reality through thinking and judgments. So I wonder when you’re in deep sleep if you are totally conscious since we don’t really remember all that happens..

    Reply
  16. Adrian

    I am not sure how one could conclude that the consciousness “goes” somewhere when you sleep. From observations the frontal lobes simply shut down to rest. This does not really mean the consciousness “goes” anywhere. I would rather think it simply switches off for a bit. My view, however, is really based on what I have been exposed to and might change at some point, but for now I really do not believe that the consciousness goes to another “realm” or something and then returns. And I do not know why we sleep, maybe the consciousness is too distracting for the rest of the brain to do its job so it shuts it down to focus a little… or not.

    Reply
  17. Sapphire Song

    Same thing as Douglas said, but in more words since you didn’t correct it yet: 6-10 hours of sleep in 24 hours is 25 – 41,6%, not 18-20% – could you correct this, please?

    Reply
  18. HB

    Brilliant

    Reply
  19. Karena Allen, I wrote a book where I dedicated a full chapter to this subject, I do believe it will answer many of the questions you raised. I may speed up the english-version of this specefic chapter (it was published last march in Brazil, in Portuguese), in case you are interested enought to contact me.

    Reply
  20. Fady War

    How is it possible that death can be the removal of the vehicle and not the driver when neither can be shown to exist after death? As in, while asleep, we can demonstrate that the vehicle (human body) is ‘dormant’ while the driver (mind) is very active. In death however, the mind is also dormant, so it follows that death is more of a final state than sleep is. Therefore i reject that the two are related, especially as close as sisters.
    Thoughts?

    Reply
  21. Our material being, the body, receives its energy from food. Our immaterial being, the soul, receives its energy from sleep.

    Reply
  22. Food is the material source of energy. Unconsciousness is the immaterial source of energy. We know how energy is created from food; the question is, how is energy created from unconsciousness and in what form…the Universe itself?

    Reply
  23. Pascal Yang

    I used to think that sleep was important until I worried so much about lack of sleep that it became a problem that is insomnia. In fact quite a lot of people having insomnia sleep too much and not aware of it. The unwholesome desire to enjoy sleep or see sleeping as a form of enjoyment is also causing insomnia.
    If you carefully look into the pre-occupation with sleepl you will see how it starts the cycle of insomnia.
    If you don’t think too much, don’t pass judgement (mentally criticize ),don’t get angry, very stable emotion throughout the day you will find you don’t need much sleep and the next day you still feel fine and perhaps a little drowsy but the healthy kind of tire that doesn’t make you so tire that anytime you are going to drop like a bag of potatoes being dump.
    To cut a long story short,it depends on your job, your environmen t your mental health, if you practise being calm and not bother with what goes on in the outside world, you will hardly need 8 hours of sleep. And if you do the right meditation you don’t need to sleep at all. we are thinking and debating within ourself making judgement, creating conflicts within ourself all our energy are gone and you need to sleep to prevent yourself from going mad or slightly mad (and reaching out for prozac)Have nice sincere thoughts of others and you will sleep only 4 or 5 hours because your mind don’t need that much of sleep. Sleep is not a sister of death, I don’t think it is. Sleep is to prevent your mind from overloading with rubbish thoughts. But babies sleep long hours to grow all their organs.
    So if you don’t have much rubbish thoughts you only need 4 or 5 hours to clear them.

    Reply
  24. X-Man

    Holy shit man i think you hit the nail on the head on this one.

    Reply
  25. CJ

    I remained awake for 2 days. i got so tired that i dozed off. i bolted awake 20 minutes later and was fully refreshed, explain that? i was then able to carry on partying for another 36 hours non-stop!!

    Reply
    • It seems to me that the outcome based on what you have stated may be something like this:

      – i am going to stay awake for 23h 56m 4.100s x 2d = 86 164,1s / 2d = 47,86894h
      – alternatively calculated 47h 52m 8.200s
      – dozing off for 20 minutes
      – after 20 minutes of sleep i am fully refreshed
      – ready to party 36 hours non-stop

      Just for the sake of argument, let us say i need maximum of 8 hours of sleep with 1 minute of awakeness between 2 hours of persistent sleep.

      – 23h 56m 4.100s – 8h 0m 0s = 15h 56m 4.100s
      – rest of the day is persistent awakeness
      – exception is taking a nap one or more times
      – nap time is between 10-30 minutes

      Total expected lifespan of mine is 78 years which equals 2 453 091 927 seconds thru my calculation (more or less trial and error).

      – continuous 2 day / 20 minutes = 36 hour non-stop awake-sleep cycle
      – around 11 hours missing from first round of 2 day cycle
      – repeat 20 minutes of sleep?
      – if yes, then I may suffer another 11 hour reduction (only able to party 25 hours)
      – alternatively I may not suffer 11 hour reduction and I can keep up the pace
      – if not, then I may proceed 8h 4m 0s cycle or 2 hour cycle for cycle recovery
      – cycle recovery returns [15h 56m 4.100s | 8h 0m 0s] awakeness-sleep cycle
      – result dependant from overal behavior

      Result suggests a massive headache-drought mixture period which needs persistent sleep of X hours if behavior includes the consumption of alcohol, smoke, repeated majorly bass-emphasised music with volume level of a regular club, swift movement and/or hasty change of directions. If I continue this path, then I am taking a risk of a burnout (gradual mild, instant heavy).

      We are more or less like computers or then again I should say computers are more or less like humans. They can party all night long and all day long, but eventually one of their inner components is going to fail from the continuous subsequent stress built upon them by the presence of motion if their average, common, regular, calculated time of use per day is crossed.

      Whenever I continue to endure stress second after second the mind ultimately has no other way, but to shut down the system to cool it down if I decide not to change my situation myself. Usually this may be already too late which depends from the overal consumption of uncommon substances over unregular basis which affect the signals traveling within my body. During this peak or pinnacle moment one or more of the inner components may suffer malfunction or failure which makes it collapse even if the system is on cooldown.

      If I keep this pace up, I may suffer lifespan reduction which equals the total amount of moments in which the cycle recovery takes place. Cycle recovery is the moment when formating happens, a reset of the system so to speak. The more time it is needed to reset the system, the more likely it is that the next cycle recovery is not a recovery anymore, but a game over. Thus humans originally die sleeping, pass away, for it is their last set of format command that has already been used. No more dimes to play arcade that is. Cycle recovery is similar to sleep, but sleep comes gradually over time. Cycle recovery is more like a backup phase activated when I don’t gain enough sleep which is the maintenance phase.

      If it is of any consolidation, it is more probable to suffer a fatal impact from any external source during the party time since the signals and senses blur.

      This happened to my computer. It was in heavy use and one day it jammed. Gradually slowing down until it jammed for good. The last moment was sensable. Within 20-30 second period the computer slowed down the most and then it jammed. The End.

      How does this sound?

      Reply

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