Significance of Sleep
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on
And our own little life
Is rounded with a sleep
Our life is two fold
Sleep has its own world
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence
Sleep has its own world
And a wide realm of wide reality …
Sleep is a very important part of life. We spend almost one-third of our life sleeping. New born kids sleep most of the time during their first year to grow at a fast rate. They smile and do peculiar activities during sleep. According to Indian researchers, newborn children when smile during sleep, they basically are watching the Alimighty, His powers or enjoying their previous life events.
In Padmapuran’s sacred portion Geeta’s first chapter, goddess Laxmi asks Lord Vishnu, “Dear, you are the provider to this whole world, still you are not enjoying the luxuries, simply sleeping in this great Kshirsagar (OCEAN OF HEAVEN) … What is the reason behind it?
Lord Vishnu smiles and says, “I am not sleeping but using my intuitive powers. Dear, this is the power that great saints happen to see with their wisdom in their unconscious and then guide the ordinary living beings!
SLEEPING EVERY NIGHT:-
We feel like sleeping once the night falls. Our bodies become very dull, our eyes start closing on their own an our minds blank out for many hours everynight. This process somewhat resembles other phenomena like, the rising and the setting of the sun, changing seasons, mating in the animals, gestation period in the mammals etc. Likewise sleep is also controlled by these rhythms. The internal clock in our brain gives signal to our bodies at night to stop our routine activity and forget everything for a certain period of time. Usually it happens at night because our body is less functional, our mind is less receptive to learn a thing, our body temperature lowers and our body reflexes slow down during that time.
The study has proved that if we changing our sleeping habits, we do not feel healthy when awake. Rather, we become nervous, irritable and fatigued.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP:-
Sleep is very necessary for all human beings to work normally. When we are deprived of sleep for more than one night we feel many problems with our body and brain. A person who has not slept for many nights may complain of itchy eyes and seeing double. He feels that his senses are out of control and something is buzzing in his ears. In such circumstances, he may begin to develop paranoid symptoms. Even animals show negative effects in the absence of sleep. Persons who claim that they remain normal in the absence of sleep, in fact take enough sleep by repeatedly dozing off for a few seconds without realizing the same.
Experiments have proved that we do not sleep only to rest. It has also been proved that prolonged isolation decreases the need for sleep in a person. Persons who interact less with others require less sleep. Like it happens mostly with older people who suffer from lack of interaction with others and hence receive stimuli from the external contacts, and as a result require a smaller sleep.
We have sleep controlling centre located in our brain stem. When we sleep our heart beat and breathing rate increases, blood pressure is lowered and body temperature drops below its normal level. Still, it is difficult to know exactly when we fall asleep. When we are awake our conscious awareness is intact and once we fall asleep, it is not with us any longer. Then, we cannot respond to any external stimulus, like noise or a question someone asks us. Persons who suffer from somnambulism sometimes do respond to questions during their sleep even, but that is an exception. During sleep our body is only functioning at a very low level, stressing the important role played by the brain in keeping it awake. Brain remains busy in reaccessing, filling and updating the whole day’s account.
Researchers have discovered two types of sleep : REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and NREM (Non- REM) sleep. The NREM sleep is the first sleep period of the night, also known as ‘quiet sleep’. It is characterised by slow but regular breathing, an absence of body movements and decreased brain activities. During this phase the sleeper has no contact with his environment, he no longer receives any information through his senses and hence does not react to his surroundings. Though the sleeper can move his body during this phase but he does not do this due to brain’s lethargy.
There are many NREM periods during the whole night. The initial NREM phase lasts longer (80 minutes) than REM phase (10 minutes). But as the night progresses, NREM phases become shorter and REM phases take up most of the sleeping time. REM sleep is identified by small movement of facial muscles and light movements of limns, especially hands. If the sleeper is snoring during NREM sleep, he stops it once the REM sleep phase starts. During REM sleep, the sleepers breathing becomes irregular and laboured. His body becomes completely paralysed and no more body movements are seen. Blood pressure usually soars during REM sleep and the sleeper’s heartbeat increases. Apart from all this, the sleeper’s eyes begin to move rapidly from side to side under closed eyelids.
During night the NREM and REM periods of sleep alternate with each other on an average of 90 minutes. So we dream approximately every 90 minutes throughout the night. Thus we dream approximately two hours out of every eight hours sleep.
SIGNIFICANCE OF REM SLEEP:-
Many sleep researchers have proved that every human being needs a sound REM sleep so that he can work normally the next day. If at all, the sleeper is not allowed to complete only of their REM periods he becomes erratic in his behaviour. In other words, the sleep is very necessary for all of us, particularly the portion of sleep that is connected with dreaming. Many eminent researchers believe that we sleep so that we may dream. During sleep our awareness reaches the land of dreams.
Researchers believe that when we sleep at night, we return to that source from where we have come, taken birth. This source has infinite dimension, larger than our own world which is so limited. While visiting the indefinite, our unconscious mind may unravel and absorb the problems and happenings of each day incorporating them into a neat filing system of the collective unconscious. Perhaps, a dream is the way in which the unconscious mind copes with things, helping the individual interact satisfactorily with his environment. Thus we recharge with more vigour and vitality. For that reason, sleep deprivation, particularly REM sleep is not good for an individual. To cope up with the routine stress and strain, we must take a sound sleep.
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