What is the Purpose of Sleep?
Sleep has multiple functions that are necessary for the maintenance and growth of the individual — it is not that some are more main and others more secondary, all are important — they are just different like the multiple functions of your circulatory system (delivering nutrients, taking away wastes, fighting infection, and maintaining temperature).
There is the physical need that everyone is aware of as well as the non-physical need that few are aware of. Sleep provides an alternate reality for us to have experiences in (i.e., to have intents and make choices in). The events, situations, intents, choices, actions and interactions experienced while sleeping, meditating, traveling or exploring in NPMR, or any other such “non-physical“ reality (outside of PMR) are as valuable and pertinent to our learning process as the experiences in PMR. We individuated units of consciousness (including your dog) operate (exist, learn, and grow) in multiple realities. PMR is just one. And as said above, none are more main or more secondary, all are necessary — they are just different like the multiple functions of your circulatory system — in the bigger picture there is no hierarchy by importance.
Each of the realities in which your awareness (ability to make choices) operates provide a unique experience-space that supplies a specific type of learning opportunities (there may be just two — PMR state and dream state — or a half dozen or more, depending on the level with which your awareness functions). Yes, even if you do not remember your dreams you are still dreaming (everybody appears to go through REM periods during sleep) and using the dream reality as a learning tool — you are just not consciously integrating that experience with your PMR experience. Even if you do remember your dreams, that does not ensure (in fact it is unlikely) that you will optimally integrate the two experiences within your PMR awareness.
That there are physical and non-physical realities is a false distinction that we use to discuss the subject of reality with novices who believe that they inhabit the only knowable, the one singular, reality -- and that it is physical — the only reality that is or can be physical from their point of view.
You, as an Individuated Unit of Consciousness (IUOC), exist and operate in multiple realities which are simply different from each other — each has its own properties and physics. Whichever reality your awareness is in at the moment (whether you can access only one or many) appears to be “physical“ according to its own rules, while the others appear to be non-physical. A reality being physical or being non-physical is only a matter of individual perspective or point of view and has nothing to do with the fundamental significance or nature of any reality. All realities are learning labs. All appear “physical“ in their own unique way when you are operating within them. All provide unique growth opportunities (consciousness evolution) through interaction. All are fundamentally equivalent. All exist as part of the Larger Consciousness System of which you are a part. This multiplicity of opportunity is simply the nature of reality as it appears to an individuated unit of consciousness. The system is designed for your, and thereby its own, evolution. [MBT Forum 1]
Lying down and being awake but still for 8 hours is not the same as sleeping for 8 hours. The difference can be large or small depending on what you do while you are lying there awake. The mind leads and the body follows – thoughts do not only affect the brain. The entire body (literally every cell) dances to bio-electro-chemical processes that change as one’s emotions and thoughts change. Simple muscle contraction and relaxation (physical movement) is not the only work the body does. Simply giving the muscles a break by lying down is not enough to allow the body to recover from the requirements of the day. The mind must also be still. I suspect that the work that muscles do accounts for less than half of the work that a typical body does in a day. Most of us sit at desks all day working hard instead of working hard at physical labor. And we are tired by the end of a day. Quadriplegics barely move a muscle all day and if they have an active mental life, they are tired and need sleep by day’s end. If lying down and being still were enough, they would never need sleep.
Sleep has multiple functions.
1) Work, both mental or physical, generates waste products (the byproduct of metabolism and cell function) that accumulate faster during the day than they can be eliminated. Sleep allows the body to catch up on its housekeeping.
2) Everybody dreams, as evidenced by REM, with most going through 4 to 6 dream cycles every night. Many if not most dreams are not remembered. In these dreams are you working on consciousness evolution in the dream NPMR reality frame just like your waking life is you working on consciousness evolution in the awake PMR reality frame. No difference – you work day and night – that is an efficient use of system resources. To make the best progress you need the kind of very different experience (tight rule-set and loose rule-set) that both reality frames offer. Some things can only be experienced in one frame or the other. Often these frames are connected by intuition, and sometimes by intellectual process when the dreams are remembered. None of the learning is lost just because you cannot remember
3) Having to sleep forces you to put aside issues and problems for a while often resulting in a bigger picture in the morning. We tend to emotionally and mentally paint ourselves into corners all the time and sleep breaks this very inefficient self-referential cycle. Like rebooting your perspective when it gets hung in an endless loop or keeps returning an error message. This saves a huge amount of ineffective (wasted) process cycles and is thus a very efficient use of resources.
4) 1), 2) and 3) happen in parallel to almost everyone every night. Sleep is a very productive and time well spent from the standpoint of system efficiency. One may be able to physically carry on by lying still with a more or less blank mind for 8 hours a day, but one pays the price in process inefficiency. [MBT Forum 2]
What Happens When I Sleep?
Nothing happens to your consciousness, it just is no longer interactive in PMR through your physical incarnation (FWAU). The uplink (to the IUOC) of data from your FWAU in PMR is quiet. If you are dreaming, the uplink from your FWAU in dreamland is still active whether you remember the dream or not. The FWAU in PMR is only aware of the subset of the larger IUOC that makes it into its PMR intellect. If the PMR-FWAU dreams or meditates or goes OBE and remembers those experiences, then such experiences are part of his PMR experience-base at the intellectual level. The experiences are also part of the experience-base of the IUOC. If he/she doesn’t remember, then those experiences still become a part of his/hers IUOC's experience base even though they do not become a part of the PMR-FWAU intellectual awareness (PMR experience-base at the intellectual level).
Let’s assume that an IUOC learns something significant to its development from those experiences that the PMR-FWAU does not remember. [If the FWAU had remembered he/she might have also learned something significant]. If the IUOC is just collecting data, then the new information will not be available to be applied in PMR until the next incarnation. If the IUOC is in a NPMR VR of his/her own where he/she is interacting with his/her PMR-FWAU, then the PMR-FWAU will have use of the new information immediately -- intuitively but not intellectually. Less evolved entities are more likely to have an IUOC that is just collecting data because that is a more efficient use of system resources... while more evolved entities are more likely to have an IOUC that is actively engaged in their development because that is a more efficient use of system resources. [MBT Forum 3]