Everybody has a busy lifestyle, but there are not always enough hours for everything to be done. This is why people in business, students and even people at home reduce the sleep time. Staying awake at late night can have some benefits connected to your work, but it is not healthy for you, your body and your mind. But how the lack of sleep affects our health?
Sleep deprivation does not affect only our body; it affects our brain on several levels. Nevertheless, let us examine the sleep routine from another angle.
Sleep and Falling Asleep
The usual process of sleep occurs as consciousness retracts from the senses and the mind loses itself in distraction, thinning out in mental pictures and ideas until it dissolves in darkness. Unconsciousness then continues until dreams arise. When they do, the feeling of self is reconstituted through a dualistic relationship with the visions of the dream until the next period of unconsciousness occurs. Alternating periods of unconsciousness and dream make up a typical night of sleep.
Sleep is obscure to us because we lose consciousness in it. It seems to be empty of experience because we identify with the entire mind, which ceases to function during sleep. The time in which our identities collapse, we call “falling asleep.” We are conscious in a dream because the moving mind is active, giving rise to a dream ego with which we identify.
Three Kinds of Sleep According to Yogic Teaching
Sleep of Ignorance
The sleep of ignorance, which we call “deep sleep,” is a great darkness. It feels like a darkness thousands of years old, and it is even older: it is the essence of ignorance, the root of samsara. No matter how many nights we sleep, every night for thirty years or seventy, we cannot finish sleeping.
We return to it repeatedly as if it recharges us, and it does. Ignorance is the sustenance of samsara. Once dissolved into the sleep of ignorance, we wake up stronger and refreshed.
The second kind of sleep is samsaric sleep, the sleep of dreams. Yogis call the samsaric sleep “grand delusion” because it seems endless. Samsaric sleep is like going for a walk in the downtown of a big city, where all manner of things take place: people embrace, fight, chat, and abandon one another; there are hunger and wealth; people run businesses, and people steal from businesses; there are beautiful places, tattered places, frightening places.
Unlike the sleep of ignorance, in which the gross moving mind ceases, samsaric sleep requires the participation of the whole mind and the negative emotions. Our body recuperates during the sleep of ignorance, but our emotional activity is the primary cause of dreams during the samsaric sleep.
Clear Light Sleep
The third kind of sleep is the sleep of clarity. It occurs when the body is sleeping, but the mind is neither lost in darkness nor dreams, but instead abides in pure awareness. The ancient texts describe the clear light sleep as the unity of emptiness and clarity. It is the pure, empty awareness that is the base of the individual.
Clear light is the direct realization of the unity of awareness and emptiness. Ignorance is the dark room in which we sleep. Awareness is a lamp in that chamber. No matter how long the room is left in darkness, an hour or a million years, the moment the light of awareness is lit the entire room becomes luminous.
How Does This Affect Our Brain
Lack of sleep affects our brain and body on several levels. The ancient wisdom tells us that during the sleep of ignorance we are healing and rejuvenating our body and mind. The sleep of dreams is activating our brain, and the clear light transfers us into another dimension.
Deprivation of sleep can affect our brain on several levels:
Sleep deficit can make dementia. This bad habit can destroy our brain cells. We age more quickly, and our metabolism gets worse. It can even cause early death.
Sluggish brain work
Lack of sleep also makes our brain working wrong. This is due to deficiency of blood in the frontal lobe. When this occurs, the brain waves slow down, and we feel lost and confused. It severely affects our decision-making capabilities.
An active brain is a mechanism that is busy and can get dirty, so we need sleep to make better work of the cerebrospinal fluids. This way our body can remove such dirt and cleanse it through the liver. If we lack sleep, the brain becomes filthy and works worse.
If we are tired and sleepy, even the routine tasks like dog walking, grocery buying, and driving can look like enormous pressure. This might even cause depression
If you are one of those that need sleep, do not risk mental and physical health. Sleep is not a luxury, is a need! The amount of sleep one needs depends on a person’s age. Most experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. A good night sleep will make you better the next day, and healthier. When you sleep enough, this makes the memory, insight, learning better than before. Sleep deficit will cause the opposite!