Spring has come, and people would be finding it hard to stay awake in the pleasant climate.
There was a noteworthy column published in the BBC about sleep. The article discussed various hypotheses about why animals require sleep.
I Sleep a way to Kill Time and Save Energy?
The article in question examined the hypothesis that people and animals sleep because they have spare time. It states that animals sleep when, after they finish their meal, there are no enemies around and it is not the season to copulate.
Cognitive neuroscientist Professor Matthew Walker of University of California, Berkley says that this hypothesis is implausible, as animals are more prone to attack by enemies when they are sleep, as opposed to when they are awake.
Another hypothesis is that mammals sleep to save energy evident by the decreasing body temperature. Walker has again refuted this saying that we only save an extra slice of bread’s worth of energy when we sleep in comparison to when we just lie down while awake. Thus it is insufficient to conclude that saving energy is the purpose of sleep.
REM Sleep Longer in Humans than Other Animals
The article explained a unique characteristic of human sleep. To understand this, we must first understand what REM and Non-REM sleep is.
REM sleep is light sleep where the brain is fairly active, and Non-REM sleep is a very deep sleep. Generally speaking people who are stressed will have longer REM sleep, and will often wake up still somewhat fatigued.
Walker suggests that in other animals, only 5-15% of their sleep is in the REM stage while for humans, it makes up around 25% of their total sleep. It is said that this is due to the complicated society (much of it being human relationships) in which we live. In other words, humans experience more stress than other animals, and sleep is necessary to revive and revitalize the weary stressed influenced body.
Sleep is Spiritual “Homecoming”
This explanation, however, is still within the realms of hypothesis. There is much debate about sleep outside of the article in question, but a lot of it remains a mystery. Master Ryuho Okawa founder of Happy Science explains the spiritual reason behind sleep in his book “The Complete Health Manual” thus:
“While we are asleep, our spiritual body leaves our physical body and we return to the spiritual world. This is a spiritual ‘homecoming’ and originally this habit began as a way of reminding ourselves that we are spiritual beings. This is one reason why we need to sleep. The other reason is to supply spiritual energy. This is because our physical bodies are nourished by food, but our spiritual bodies are similarly nourished by spiritual energy.”
Humans are beings that have both a body and spirit. We cannot live unless we supply our physical and spiritual bodies with energy through sleep. Our view of sleep changes dramatically when we look at it through a spiritual viewpoint.