How Sleep Is Like Death, and Necessary For A Good Life

Sleep is a big part of life. We spend about 1/3 of our life sleeping. Forcing ourselves to stay awake and treating sleep like it’s a problem that must be overcome, is very unnatural. We’re meant to sleep, a lot.

Some people say they’ll sleep when they’re dead. But if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re half dead already.

There are a lot of important things that happen during sleep. It improves our physical health. It helps prevent depression and PTSD. And it’s also where a lot of our learning takes place (when sleeping, our brain processes the day’s experiences). We also sometimes have vivid and transcendental dreams that help us view life in a bigger way.

Falling asleep is a form of surrender. It requires us to let go. We can fight it, but eventually we get so tired that we fall asleep whether we want to or not. In this way, sleep is a bit like death. We fight it, but inevitably it comes.

Taking that analogy a bit further: We sometimes hear people say they’re going to fight against their illnesses (ie; “Cancer is not going to beat me.”). It’s admirable that they want to stick around for their family and do more good things in the world. If I was terminally ill I would want that too. (Though maybe it would be better to surrender to whatever path God chooses for us. Death now, or death later).

That’s sort of what it’s like sometimes when we’re tired. We fight against it, because there’s more we want to do. But eventually we’re forced to surrender.