During the day one can become more and more awake because of activities that connect to the higher sense of self, especially hen one is a practitioner of self-realization: meditation, all types of yoga, doing sports, singing, dancing, connecting with others, being in nature, breathworks, rituals, etc.

At the end of the day, one can feel more connected to his/her eternal self and more detached from the preoccupations of his/her ego. There is a feeling of more perspective in life and positivity about engaging with it.

In the evening there is a feeling that the day shouldn't end and continue with this heightened sens of self. Eventually, everyone gets tired and we need go to sleep. The next day, when we wake up again, it seems like there was a reset of the mind and a disconnection between the ego and the realized self. What happened the day before was forgotten and one doesn't feel the same about it anymore like the moment before going to sleep. One can rationalize about all the things that were understood, remember how one felt the day before and what the goals or plans were for the next day, but the feeling of conviction and determination is gone.

There is the phenomenon of sleep inertia, from Wikipedia:

Sleep inertia is a physiological state of impaired cognitive and sensory-motor performance that is present immediately after awakening. It persists during the transition of sleep to wakefulness, where an individual will experience feelings of drowsiness, disorientation and a decline in motor dexterity. Impairment from sleep inertia may take several hours to dissipate. In the majority of cases, morning sleep inertia is experienced for 15 to 30 minutes after waking.

Now that there is a neurological/biological identifier for the phenomenon, I would like to have some philosophical insight on this, because I believe there could be more understanding and guidance for the direct experience of this phenomenon.
So why is the cycle of sleep influencing the sense of self and how does this link with different philosophical discourses?

  • I’m no philosopher, but from a more physicalist (Though interpreted abstractedly), it seems the issue is momentum. It’s easier to stay running when you’re already running than to start running anew. This seems plausible for psychological effort as well.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 12:56
  • When you say the conviction is gone this means you are not fully discharging the libido. You have to fully discharge the libido throughout the "sex act" which in a larger sense is life.
    – Gordon
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 14:47
  • 2
    @Gordon Wow, I haven’t seen Freud around here in a long time.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 16:09
  • 3
    This seems more like a question for cognitive science than for philosophy.
    – E...
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 17:34
  • 1
    The answer here is probably about neurotransmitter level variations based on daytime stimuli and circadian rhythms more than anything philosophical.
    – Chelonian
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 23:50

3 Answers 3


The Upanishads are the compendium of Indian philosophy. Of which the Mandukya is both the shortest (just 12 verses) and is considered the pinnacle.

At the risk of talking beyond my capacity to explain (or even understand!) here's my summary:

Everything (call it world, God, religion, philosophy, meaning-of-life...) can be subsumed under the four states of consciousness : waking, dream, deep sleep, and a mysterious inexplicable fourth.

That fourth is the supreme goal but we ordinary folk know nothing of it; we only know the other three...

Of which deep sleep is closest to the fourth!

In short don't be too sure to disparage sleep!

Someone coming from a Christian background and trying to read the text may find it helpful to read "AUM" as "The Logos".

AUM! This utterance is the whole world!

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God.

Also see this answer

  • interesting answer, thanks. there is something a little hedonistic about sleep, i guess that's why that (iirc) over sleeping is somewhat prohibited in Buddhism. what is "AUM", which Hindu God utters or is that?
    – user38026
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 19:47
  • @another_name Maybe you are familiar with the more usual English spelling Om ?
    – Rushi
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 6:48
  • 1
    (To @ScottRowe who asked if this is about samadhi) No need to go spiritual (samadhi/nirvana/satori/heaven/...) . If even once in your life you've experienced a really good deep sleep, you've received the two pieces of data from which the central import of Vedanta falls out. (1) The recollection of happiness (2) The non recollection of anything else. (1) implies you exist there. (2) implies the "everything else" is contingent to the state, not necessary to your being.
    – Rushi
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 5:48
  • Yes, I've certainly experienced that. Also dreams with no imagery, just beautiful music, or a solo singer in an unknown language... Once there was this shade of deep blue, that's all there was, so beautiful I kept weeping every time I thought of it for hours after waking. Hard to convey to anyone else! But deep meditation can, with persistence and some 'luck', bring one to a similar state without rumpling one's hair. I've felt different parts of my mind go to sleep while I observed. Oh, the OP is about sleep! I am on-topic for once.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 10:07
  • 1
    Maybe there should be a UslessRubbish SE where the good stuff goes. Then the riff-raff won't mess everything up. Kind of like 'Iceland' and 'Greenland'.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 14:09

The philosophical issue I perceive here is the question of identity. To what extent are you the same person from moment to moment, year to year; and to what extent is the continuity of your identity an illusion?

There are MANY different philosophical perspectives on these questions. Some are recent, and based in modern theories of the brain and the mind, and empirical research. Others are ancient. The Ship of Theseus is an ancient Greek thought experiment about whether something retains its identity when all its parts are replaced over time (as is often, but inaccurately said to happen to the human body every seven years).

One of the most relevant perspectives may be the one that (some readers perceive in) Plato --to the effect that all the stable, lasting parts of any person's identity are drawn from an eternal, unchanging Reality deeper than superficial reality, and all the changing parts are illusionary accidents. According to this, Plato might say that over the course of the day, you ascend to a higher level of consciousness where you become more aware of your eternal identity, but that you lose it each night, as, like Sisyphus, you slip back down to a lower level again (similar to how you can grow more or less lucid while in a dream state).


We are aware of waking consciousness, dreaming, and dreamless sleep. But there is another state called Turiya. In Indian philosophy the three terms to denote these are, Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti.

Turiya is - as Ramana Maharshi, states - "the state of wakeful sleep." It is the fourth state of consciousness, which is the higher or pure Consciousness. It is the state of union also referred to as conscious samadhi.

Turiya is the background that underlies and transcends the three common states of consciousness. In other words, it is common in all the three states. But usually we are not aware of it. If there were no commonness or link with the other three states, things would have been entirely different.

During the day I become more and more 'awakened'

Yes. During the day we usually feel more awakened. But when you experience Turiya state you would realize that this awakened state was not the real awakened state.


The following link would also help you to get a clear idea.


Regarding your statement--During the day I become more and more 'awakened', did you notice the following words of Ramana Maharshi.

The bliss which is enjoyed unconsciously in sleep is enjoyed consciously in turiya, that is the only difference. The bliss enjoyed in the waking state is second-hand, it is an adjunct of the real bliss