Sleep. The End.

Finishing off some thoughts on sleep.

So I had to drop that preconceived idea that going to bed to sleep was a process of collapsing, of 'relaxing' and letting go of all that effort of the day. Because using your body as a tensegrity structure means you have no effort in anything you do. You use energy, but there's never a biploar exertion/collpase involved.

What became important for me to realise is that lying in bed is just that - lying in bed. It's not doing anything different to standing up in the sense of doing anything at all - there's never any doing needed, at any time. It's just being, but while reclined. So sleep to me now isn't about relaxation at all, it's about stillness and being horizontal. There's something about that which is obviously important to the body. I'm not sure it recharges your batteries, or any of those other energy analogies. You may use energy during the day but it doesn't (as far as I can tell) recharge by lying down. It does that by eating and drinking and breathing.

There's something then about the stillness and reclining, and shutting down of sensory pathways (closing your eyes, darkening a room, being less engaged in what's going on around you) which seems essential to sleep. I think all of our recovery and energy analogies or metaphors may be missing what sleep is all about. It seems to be much more about a slowing down of activity than it is about 'resting' in the sense of needing to allow a body to recover form something.

Not that I really know yet what it might be about, but it doesn't seem to be about those other things.


  1. Nick,
    I too think that sleep is a slowing down of activity. Dreaming is another interesting aspect of sleep. It's probably a means of processing any "unfinished business" of the day. I reckon that when too much is going on during the day, when we become overwhelmed during our waking hours, dream activity is a way of sorting and making sense of the unprocessed and uncompleted material.

  2. Peter

    I can't remember the names, but that's also the theory some dream researchers have come up with as well. And they use it to explain depression too, the more you go to bed with unresolved emotional tension, the more you dream to try to relieve that, and the worse you sleep. Which means you're tired the next day and subsequently become even more emotionally charged, and the cycle goes on and on.

    They say the only way to break that cycle is to cut back the emotional rumination during the day. So by all means think abut things, but calmly so they don't becme emotionally charged and unresolved.


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