Sleep is a phenomenon that men have pondered and studied for millennia. Even with all of our current technology today, we do not understand everything about sleep. It is recommended that the average person get eight hours of sleep each night. That is one third of our lives. Sleep serves to refresh our minds and bodies. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people are just as impaired as those who are drunk. While sleep is good for our mental and physical well being, too much can be bad as is too little.
The Bible has something to say about sleep. God sometimes works or speaks through sleep. The following people experienced this:
1. Adam (Gen 2:21)
2. Abram (Gen 15:12)
3. Jacob (Gen 28:11)
4. Pharaoh (Gen 41:5)
5. Samuel (1Sam 3:3)
6. Ahasuerus (Est 6:1)
7. Man in general (Job 4:13)
8. Man in general (Job 33:15)
9. Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:1)
10. Darius (Dan 6:18)
11. Daniel (Dan 8:18, Dan 10:9)
12. Zechariah (Zech 4:1)
13. Joseph (Mt 1:24)
God gives the righteous sound sleep (Ps 3:5, Ps 4:8, Ps127:2, Prov 3:24, Ecc 5:12, Jer 31:26, Mt 8:24). However, we should not presume that everything we experience in sleep is a direct act of God. Sometimes it is our own minds. Sometimes it could be an evil spirit. Sometimes it is pizza too close to bed time.
Sleep can also be symbolic of different states. It can symbolize or describe being in a spiritual state of dullness (Jud 16:14, Is 29:10, Jer 51:39 & 57, Jon 1:5, Mt 26:45, Rom 13:11, 1Thes 5:6-7). It can signify not doing our duty or being lazy (1Sam 26:12, Prov 6:4-10, Prov 19:5, Prov 20:13, Prov 24:35). It can symbolize death, which it does 55 times with some notable examples (1Cor 15:6-51, 1Thes 4:13-15, 1Thes 5:10, 2Pet 3:4). The Bible often mentions that when men died they slept with their fathers (ancestors).
Just as we must balance our physical activity between activity and rest, so we must balance our spiritual activity (Ecc 3:1-8). Some people don't know how to take a rest, and some don't ever get going. Some think they need to fill every moment with activity and noise, and others would rather be isolated from it all. Neither of these extremes is healthy. Even Jesus took a break once in a while despite being more active than anyone ever (Mt 14:23, Mk 6:31, Lk 9:10 & 18, Jn 21:25).