Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Is Sleep?

Most of us will say that we know what sleep is. But the truth is, none of us know what sleep is. Even medical science still has very little understanding of what sleep is. For all that science boasts about being able to deny a supernatural or spiritual existence, at the same time there is so much of the universe that human science has little or no knowledge about.

You will spend about 1/3 (one third) of your life sleeping. Usually we do not realize how big a part of our lives that sleeping is. That is about eight hours a day. A man of 75 years has actually spent 25 entire years of his life asleep. If humans could go without sleep, we would add 50% to our waking hours. That is huge. That is like increasing your lifespan by 50%.

Most of sleep is divided between two types of sleep called REM sleep and NREM sleep. Again, science and medicine have no idea what these two levels of sleep are for. All we know is that the brain is up to 10 times busier during sleep than when we are awake. The neurons in our brain are firing up to 10 times or 1000% more during our sleeping hours than when we are awake. Something is definitely going on, we just do not know what. If we are impressed with our brain power when we are asleep, then it is an amazing question to ponder: what is all that brain power doing when we are sleeping?

Since we can remember very few of our dreams, it seems that we don't really dream a lot, but in fact most “sleep scientists” and neurologists theorize that we dream whenever we enter into REM sleep, which is about five times each night. If that is true, then in one year you will have had over 1,800 dreams!

The biggest sign that sleep is important is that when we don't get enough, we start having huge problems, both with our health and with our neurology. Even the brain and nervous system has compounded problems if we get less than eight hours of sleep a night and especially if our breathing is interrupted or if we have poor sleep patterns. Poor sleep has a huge negative affect on our life, which does prove that sleep is very important for a healthy life, but we just do not know why, except for the obvious facts that healing takes place more easily during sleep.

Asking “what is sleep” is really a great question, because the fact is, medical science and neurology is only beginning to learn the most basic things about what sleep is or why we need it.