Many people wonder whether sleeping can be classed as a hobby, especially since it’s something we have no real choice in doing — literally, you will die if you don’t eventually sleep.
In fact, humans have an intricate connection to sleep, and it’s where many important bodily functions occur such as forming memories, processing emotions, and even helping to grow your body to become stronger after a workout.
We even get to dream during sleep, which is an unusual but important phenomenon that lets us do all kinds of physics-defying feats such as flying around and changing the landscape we’re in.
Some research suggests that dreaming is a kind of “night-therapy” that helps us to overcome difficult situations or emotions that would otherwise be hard to deal with during our wakeful state.
So, it’s essential, but is it a hobby?
Well, it’s a complicated answer, but you can make sleep a hobby if you enjoy the prospect of taking a nap to enhance your productivity, or perhaps so you can experience the wildness of lucid dreaming (more on that later).
Hobbies are things that you can do for enjoyment and sleeping is no different, therefore, we have to conclude it is a hobby — see expanded conclusion below.
With that said, we’re going to expand further on some of the more interesting facts surrounding sleep to help bring you up to speed with the latest research and things we already know about it.
A World Within a World: 5 Interesting Facts About Sleep and Dreaming
1. Sleeping is not weak
Contrary to popular statements such as “sleep is for the weak” or, “I’ll sleep when I die”, sleep actually helps your body grow stronger by releasing HGH (human growth hormone) mostly during the early parts of your sleep cycle. (1)
HGH doesn’t just help your body grow muscle but it’s also extremely important for wound-healing and recovering from injuries, meaning you should try and get your 8 hours every night to stay in tip-top condition.
If you’re following a bodybuilding program, you might want to incorporate sleep as more of an active hobby in your schedule where you take intermittent naps throughout the day to take advantage of this chemical bonanza.
2. Why you should “sleep on it”
There’s a method to the mantra “sleep on it”, and that’s because when we go to sleep we are better able to process the emotions of the day or the difficult choices that lay before us.
This can help to prevent you from making rash decisions or impulse purchases that we might regret further down the line; in essence, it gives you more perspective around any given scenario.
How often have you found yourself in a bad mood that’s dominated your entire day?
It’s quite common to get swept up in your emotions as they help to influence our decisions, however, if you have the luxury of time then we recommend getting in some extra Z’s to mull over any important tasks.
3. Sleep is not the same for all creatures
Most scientists agree that the majority of animals sleep to some degree, on the flip side, it’s also agreed that we don’t all experience sleep in the same way.
When a human sleeps, we go through various cycles of deep sleeping, REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep, light sleep, and even short wakeful states that most people forget.
Some creatures, such as dolphins and birds, have evolved to perform a certain sleep state called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep that allows one part of the brain to remain active so they can continue to perform important tasks such as migration while the other half rests.
The reason for having such varied sleep-states amongst different creatures is mostly down to evolution: the most successful (fewer deaths) form of sleep evolved to be the most prominent.
You can also observe unique sleep behavior in creatures such as bats, ground squirrels, and bears where they hibernate to conserve energy for long periods of time; some periods of hibernation last for months on end without food or water.
4. Lucid dreaming is a real phenomenon
Most people have seen the movie Inception which forms the majority of its plot within a dream world that can be controlled and influenced on a conscious level.
Essentially, that’s what lucid dreaming is: the ability to take advantage of the dream state to do weird and wonderful things on a conscious level i.e. you’re consciously aware that you’re dreaming meaning you can enjoy not being bound by the laws of physics.
Some people use it to live out their wildest fantasies like flying around the world or entering an alien landscape — if that piques your interest then check out this video that gives a very good explanation of what lucid dreaming is and how you can do it:
In fact, lucid dreaming is probably the point where we would agree that sleeping has become a hobby for you rather than a necessary mechanism of survival. Pretty cool, right?
5. We don’t all dream the same
Have you ever wondered what a blind person dreams about if they’ve never seen anything, or if we even dream in the same way?
People who’ve never had the sense of sight or are born blind don’t actually dream with images, instead, they experience sounds, smells, and even emotions as their primary form of nighttime entertainment.
Another little-known fact is that some people can only dream in black and white meaning they experience their dream state like an old-fashioned movie.
Some people even act out their dreams which is a condition known as sleepwalking; sleepwalkers have been known to carry out complex tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and even driving without realizing it until the next day.
FAQ: Important Questions About Sleep
Why do I need to sleep so much?
When you quantify the amount of time you sleep, you’ll realize that around one-third of your life is spent on it.
When you factor in that you’ll be working or studying for the majority of the week that means there is very little time left for entertainment or personal pursuits.
It’s a sobering thought and can actually be quite depressing, however, sleep is critical for helping us to grow, recover from injury, and even boost our immune system to fight infection.
It’s simply a biological fact of life and one we can’t really argue with, though you can make it far more entertaining if you know how to lucid dream or spend some time creating a dream journal.
How much sleep do I need then?
The amount of sleep you’ll need to feel rested will vary between each person including their current disposition i.e. healthy or fighting an infection etc.
With that said, most people agree that aiming for 8 hours of sleep per night will give the average person an adequate level of recovery to be able to carry out important tasks efficiently the next day.
Some studies also concur that there is no “magic bullet” for the amount of sleep you need per night meaning you should go with what makes you feel best.
The takeaway from this is not to under sleep, and you should even consider it as important as your nutrition or general fitness levels.
In conclusion, sleep is and isn’t a hobby — That’s because it’s both a vital bodily process that is carried out for our survival and at the same time, can also be something you can do for your own enjoyment such as lucid dreaming or creating dream journals.
In fact, work culture in Japan has even incorporated napping into their best business practices as a way to stay productive throughout the day.
There are many enjoyable and not so enjoyable aspects of sleeping; it mainly depends on who you are as a person and what your experience of sleep is.
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We also have a massive list of hobbies for you to browse in case you’re thinking about taking up a dedicated pastime that can help tire you out just in time for your nap!