"Sleep is death without the responsibility," but is sleep death, or at least how near to death is sleep? What is the point in sleep? What have we achieved after lying still for eight hours?
Is it an escape? Does sleep wrap you up in a little cocoon of well being which nothing can penetrate? Or is sleep a little taste of death? Is that why sleep can sometimes be such a terrifying thing? Are dreams in a way our heaven and hell? Some dreams give a sense of happiness and contentment, some just confuse, and some terrify to the point anything seems better than sleep.
But some people find sleep an escape from what is in the world, and escape from the stress and strain of life. This was illustrated when Sir Philip Sidney spoke of sleep as:
"The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release.
The indifferent judge between the high and low."
It is true that in sleep, as in death, we are all equal. No one can sleep a better or more fulfilling sleep just because he has more money or power; it is needed by everyone alike and no-one can escape its necessity. Just in the same way no one can escape the inevitability of death. Both are something uniting and universal, which everybody has the right to and can benefit from nightly. We can survive a shorter length of time without sleep than without food or water, but thankfully sleep is free and easy to come by, making it a daily escape available to every human.
Without sleep humans cannot function; it is one of the necessities of our existence. If we cannot sleep it can make our life a living hell. Every mother or father woken up nightly by a crying baby will tell...