What is sleep? What's the purpose of it?
I look at the word sleep (in Hebrew ) sheina שינה and I see that it's very similar to the word for change (in Hebrew) shinui שינוי.
When we sleep we give our bodies and our minds the opportunity to "stock-up", to become rejuvenated and re-energized for a new day. Our neshama (soul) actually goes back to HaKadosh Baruchu, it gets an infusion before coming back to us upon awakening.
Sleep allows the path to change.
When I have a hard day I go to sleep, and I tell myself that this sleep will bring me to a new day, a new beginning. Yes, sleep is a tool that can actually bring me to change.
What if I don't get any sleep?
It's a problem. I don't give myself a fundamental ingredient in the process of growth. Really, sleep has to be on the list of top priority.
What if all I want to do is sleep? I'm feeling low, unmotivated, down? I don't want to face a certain reality.
It too is problem, I hold myself back from going forward. The purpose of sleep is so that we can wake up with strength to serve Hashem and trust that He can give me what I need to fulfill my potential for today.
In both these circumstances I don't give myself what I need to make change happen or to get it started.
Before I sleep at night I pray that whatever sleep I get-and we all know that at different stages of life the amount is and isn't in our control-should be exactly what my mind and body needs to restock for the next day. I pray that the sleep should be a catalyst for change, the pathway to a new beginning, a new day.
So what is sleep?
It's a fundamental tool. It's vital for my mental, emotional, physical and yes, spiritual well-being.
Sleep allows the pathway to change.