Right from the day man started to discover and develop more and more gadgets, his sleep routine has become very troubled as he has started feeling that sleep is a waste of time. There is another group of people, the monks, who feel that sleep - the unconsciousness in the form of sleep– was the opposite state of self-realization or self-awakening and hence, the less the sleep the better.
With the murder of sleep, all the deep centres of man's life have got shaken, disturbed and became uprooted. We have not even noticed that the cause behind all the modern-day illnesses, all the disorders that have entered man's life is due to lack of sleep. The person who cannot sleep right cannot live right. Sleep is not a waste of time. The eight hours of sleep, which are essential for a human being,is not time being wasted; rather, because of those eight hours, we are able to stay awake for the next 16 hours. During those eight hours, life-energy is accumulated; our life gets revitalized, the centres of our brain and heart calm down and our life functions from our navel centre. Due to those eight hours of sleep, we have again become one with nature and existence and that is why we become revitalized.
Our food habits too have become disorganized; labour has become disorganized and sleep has been totally murdered. The thing which has been harmed the most in the development of human civilization is sleep. From the day man discovered artificial light, his sleep has become very troubled. As more and more gadgets started falling into man's hands, he started feeling that sleep is an unnecessary thing. People who calculate everything, prepare statistics about everything, have calculated that if a person sleeps for eight hours, one third of his day is spent in sleeping. If he lives for 60 years, then 20 years would be wasted in sleeping. Out of a life-span of 60 years, only 40 years are left for use and then they further calculated the time a man takes to eat food, wear clothes, shave, bathe, and so on and declared that everything goes into waste and nothing remains in life
The best way to torture somebody, a process invented thousands of years ago, was to prevent that person from sleeping. If one is denied of prevented from sleeping, he goes on losing his life-energy, and as a result, becomes totally dried out. Sleep needs to come back into man's life for psychological health of humanity. It is very important that people sleep properly and for enough durations. Right sleep will vary for every person. It will not be equal because the body has needs which are different for everyone, according to age and other elements.
When a child is born, he sleeps for 20 hours. His body is still growing. Then he sleeps for 18 hours, then 14and slowly, the duration of his sleep becomes lesser. In the end, it settles between six to eight hours at a stretch. Meanwhile, the sleep of an old man decreases with time – five hours, four hours, even three hours – because the growth of the body of the old man has stopped. He has no need of much sleep daily because his death is coming close. If an old man sleeps as much as a child sleeps, then he cannot die, death will be difficult. For death, it is necessary that sleep becomes less and less. For life, it is necessary that sleep is deep. That is why an old man, by and by, starts sleeping less and less but a child sleeps more.
Osho points out, “If old people start expecting the same behaviour from children as they do from themselves, it becomes dangerous.Old people often do this. Old people treat children as if they are also old. They wake them up too early in the morning. They are not aware that because they are old it is alright if they wake up at four o'clock but children cannot wake up at four o'clock. To wake them up is wrong. It is harming the body functions of the child; it is very harmful for him.”
“We are not aware that children are often treated like old people and then, as they grow older, they have to start living according to many fixed rules written in many books. Perhaps you may not be aware that the latest research says that there cannot be one fixed time for everyone to wake up. It is always said that to wake up at five o'clock in the morning is good for everyone. This is absolutely wrong and unscientific. It is not good for everyone -- it may be good for some people but it may be harmful for other people. Within 24 hours, for about three hours, the body temperature of each person goes down. And those three hours are the hours of deepest sleep. If the person is woken up during those three hours, his whole day will be spoiled and his whole energy will be disturbed.Generally, these three hours are between two to five in the morning. For most people, these three hours are between two to five in the morning, but it is not the same case with everyone. Normally. it is alright for everybody to wake up with the rising sun, because as the sun rises everyone's temperature starts rising. But this is not a rule, there are some exceptions.”
The deeper and longer one is able to sleep, the better. But lying down on one’s bed is not sleep, one has to really get sleep. Waking up when the person feels it is healthy for him to wake up, should be the rule.Each person should discover what is the best arrangement for him.
Osho explains, “Everyone should make his own rules. No two persons are alike, so no common rule is ever applicable to anybody. Whenever someone tries to apply a common rule, it has a bad effect. Each person is an individual. Each person is unique and incomparable. Only he is like himself, there is no other person like him anywhere on the earth. So no rule can be a rule for him until he finds out what the rules for his own life-processes are. Books, scriptures and gurus are dangerous because they have ready-made formulas. They tell you that you should wake up at a certain time: you should eat this, you should not eat that, you should sleep like this, you should do things in this way.... These ready-made formulas are dangerous. They are good to understand, but each person has to make his own arrangements for his life. Each person has to find his own path of meditation. Each person has to walk by himself and create a path for his spiritual journey. There is no ready-made highway for you to go and start walking on. There is no such highway anywhere. The path of the spiritual journey is like a small footpath – but a footpath that isn't even there! You create it as you walk along with it and it continues for howsoever long you walk on it. And the more you walk, the more your understanding of the journey that is yet to come develops.”
Ma Naina (Naina Rajkumari) is an MBA and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She was initiated into Osho’s Neo Sannyas in 2003 and had been heading the publications and media relations at Osho World Foundation before moving on to join Solidaridad Network Asia as Head of Communications.
Ma Prem Naina