Sunday, 20 April 2008


You’ve heard that sleep encompasses most of our lifetime. Well, it’s not just some theory. Thorough examinations of sleeping behaviors and disorders over the past decades led scientists to understanding sleep better. They even unintendedly scored Islamic science some points.

Basically, each one of us has about 5 major sleep phases and in each phase, the character of brainwave changes. Many times in life we experience daydreaming; in class, lectures, briefings, you name it. This is actually an introductory phase of sleep when your mind’s wanderlust makes you ‘abandon’ reality. While awake, your conscious mind emits high-frequency beta brainwave (measurable by an EEG apparatus). Entering the first phase of sleep, the brainwave switches to alpha. If uninterrupted, the brainwave will again decrease in frequency entering theta and it will switch to and fro between alpha and theta before entering the second phase. This is when your brain ‘dismounts’ in K-complexities before entering deep sleep of delta brainwave.

Phase 3 and 4 of delta brainwave is very important to the brain, justifiable by the discrimination the brain is willing to impose on other phases upon scarcity of time. This is when your body replenishes and rejuvenates. Blood enters muscle streams to ‘repair’, et cetera. Bodily activities drop to the lowest.
Surprisingly, phase 5 exhibits brainwave just as active as when you are awake, clearly seen through the REM or the physically Rapid Eye Movements. Scientists proposed that this might be the phase when your body assimilates the information it gathered while awake. That explains why about 50% of newborn’s long sleep is being occupied by REM phase.

But the beauty of these phases (its interchangeability, its function in mitigating the stress of real world and how these all connects to Islamic science revealed way back (before humans think that sleeping is a complete ‘shutdown’), by virtues of the Almighty and the beloved Prophet) is yet to be explained through the Circadian Rhythm.

Circadian Rhythm in a nutshell is the cycle of bodily temperature. It is amazing, equally; irritating, to find out that preliminary science at primary is a justified lie. Body temperature does change in degrees of two. It is nearly minimum at times between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., increases until a slight decline in the afternoon at about 12 (when you start to feel the urge to sleep) and continues till up to 10 p.m. when the downturn officially starts and it goes on and on.

Do you see how body temperature affects the urge to sleep? Do you understand why in Islam, it is encouraged to have a short nap in the afternoon (namely Qailulah) in order to increase the capacity of informational assimilation in REM phase, increase the efficiency of distributed-reparations of day (12 in the afternoon) and of night in the deep sleep phase and finally; to shift the Circadian Rhythm graph to maximum Geist performance in the morning?

So what is a quality sleep? In fact, what is the ‘path’ of a quality life?

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