Jun 2009
I enjoy sleeping but sometimes resent the time it takes. I know I am lucky not to suffer sleep problems, apart from a reluctance to wake up in the mornings!

I read an interesting article about how sleep problems seemed to play a part in mental illness. I wish I could post a link but I don't remember where I stumbled upon it. Basically it conculded that in a study of depressed individuals in hospital there seemed to be a correlation between poor sleep and bad dreams and likelyhood of suicide attempt. The writer posed the question - was it the poor sleep that was making these people more depressed or was it the more severe mental ilness affecting the sleep.

I bring this up as I can testify that lack of sleep leads to a less than ideal frame of mind when it is sustained. There can be, of course, other reasons for lack of sleep and that "brain dead" feeling that do not stem from the individual's mental state. These could be, for example: a crying baby, sick child, travel or pain.

I wonder about this when I read about the early believers in the Bahá'í Faith. There seem to be a number of accounts of people so entranced with their newly found faith and so enraptured to be in the presence of the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh that they slept very little yet seemed to experience only joy and a sort of clarity that seems to defy sleep deprivation.

Does this strong, positive emotion the early believers had override the need to sleep. Did it recharge them the way sleep does so that sleep wasn't so important? Did they fall in a heap and catch up from time to time but no-one decided to write about that? Were they just burning up their lives a little quicker and sacrificing their good health in order to serve? Can we do this? Is this ability to function with sanity on little sleep something that can be: learned?, will come with increased spiritual development?, will come if the situation demands it in some mystical way? or is it just a phenominum of that time.

I wonder about all of this.