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. And as more and more gadgets started falling into man’s hands, he started feeling that sleep is an unnecessary thing, too much time is wasted on it. The time when we are asleep is a complete waste. So the less sleep we can do the better. It does not occur to people that sleep has any kind of contribution to the deeper processes of life. They think that the time spent sleeping is time gone to waste, so the less they sleep the better; the more quickly they reduce the amount of sleep, the better.
We have not even noticed that the cause behind all the illnesses, all disorders that have entered man’s life is lack of sleep. The person who cannot sleep rightly cannot live rightly. Sleep is not a waste of time. The eight hours of sleep are not being wasted; rather, because of those eight hours, you are able to stay awake for sixteen hours. Otherwise, you would not be able to stay awake all that time.
During those eight hours, life energy is accumulated, your life gets revitalized, the centres of your brain and heart calm down and your life functions from your navel centre. For those eight hours of sleep, you have again become one with nature and with existence. That is why you become revitalized.
Sleep needs to come back into man’s life. Really, there is no alternative, no other step, for the psychological health of humanity than that sleep should be made compulsory by law for the next one or two hundred years.
It is very important for a meditator to see to it that he sleeps properly and enough. And one more thing needs to be understood – the right sleep will be different for everybody. It will not be equal because the body has needs which are different for everyone...according to age and to many other elements.
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 waking 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 to other people. Within twenty-four 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 case with everyone. For some people their body temperature is low until six o’clock, for some it is low until seven. For some their temperature starts becoming normal at four in the morning. So if someone wakes up within these hours of low temperature, all twenty-four hours of his day will be spoiled and there will be harmful effects. Only when a person’s temperature starts rising to a normal level is it time for him to wake up.
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. For some people, it may be necessary to sleep a little later than sunrise, because each individual’s body temperature rises at a different time, at a different pace. So each person should find out how many hours of sleep he needs and what is a healthy time for him to get up, and that is the rule for him...whatever the scriptures may say, whatever the gurus may say. There is no need to listen to them at all.
For the right sleep, the deeper and the longer you are able to sleep, the better. But I am telling you to sleep, not to keep on lying on the bed! Lying down on your bed is not sleeping!
To wake up when you feel it is healthy for you to wake up should be the rule for you. Usually, it happens along with the sunrise but it is possible that this does not happen to you. There is no need to be afraid or worried or to think that you are a sinner and to be afraid of going to hell. Many people who get up early in the morning go to hell and many people who get up late are living in heaven. None of this has any relation whatsoever to being spiritual or unspiritual. But right sleep certainly does have a relationship with it.
So each person should discover what is the best arrangement for him. For three months each person should experiment with his work, his sleep and with his diet, and should find out what are the most healthy, most peaceful and most blissful rules for him.
And 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.