If your dreams are not allowed… In the United States they have many sleep labs, and they have come to discover this phenomenon: if a person is not allowed to dream, within three weeks he will go mad. If he is awakened again and again whenever he starts dreaming… There are visible signs. When a person starts dreaming you can wake him. Particularly, his eyelids start fluttering fast; that means he is seeing a dream. When he is not seeing a dream his eyelids rest, because when he starts seeing a dream his eyes are functioning. Wake him and do this the whole night: whenever he starts dreaming, wake him. Within three weeks he will go mad.
Sleep doesn’t seem to be so necessary. If you wake a person…whenever he is not dreaming wake him; he will feel tired, but he will not go mad. What does it mean? It means dreams are a necessity for you. You are such…you are so illusory, your whole existence is such an illusion – what Hindus have called maya – that dreams are needed. Without dreams you cannot exist; dreams are your food, dreams are your strength, without dreams you will go mad. Dreams are a release of madness, and once the release happens you fall into sleep.
From waking you fall into dreaming and from dreaming you fall into sleep. Every night a normal person has eight cycles of dreaming, and he has just a few moments of deep sleep between two dreaming cycles. In that deep sleep all consciousness disappears, it is absolutely dark. But still you are near the boundary; any emergency will wake you. The house is on fire, you will have to run back to your waking consciousness; or you are a mother and the child starts crying, you will run, rush, towards waking – so you remain on the boundary. You fall into deep darkness, but remain on the boundary.
In death you fall exactly into the center. Death and sleep are similar: the quality is the same. In sleep, every day you fall into darkness, complete darkness; that means you become completely unconscious, the very opposite pole of buddhahood. A buddha is totally awakened, and every night you fall to a totally un-awakened state, absolute darkness.
In the Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna that when everybody is fast asleep, the yogi is still awake. That doesn’t mean that he never sleeps. He sleeps, but only his body sleeps, his body rests. He has no dreams because he has no desires, so he cannot have incomplete desires. And he has no sleep like you; even in deepest rest his consciousness is clear, his consciousness burns like a flame.
Every night you fall into sleep, you fall into deep unconsciousness, a coma. In death you fall in a deeper coma. These are all like darkness. That’s why you are afraid of darkness, because it is deathlike. And there are people who are afraid of sleep also, because sleep is also deathlike.
I have come across many people who cannot sleep, and they want to sleep. And when I tried to understand their mind, I came to realize that they are basically afraid. They say they would like to sleep because they feel tired, but deep down they are afraid of sleep, and that is creating the whole trouble. Ninety percent of insomnia is fear of sleep; you are afraid. You are afraid of darkness; you will be afraid of sleep also, and the fear comes from the fear of death.