Every day, many billions of man-hours are slept down the drain. If there are 6,000,000,000 human beings in the world, and each sleeps an average of 7.2 hours a night--well, you do the math. The bottom line is that slumbered time is probably our most wasted human resource.
Why do we spend 25% to 30% of our lives doing nothing? Why do we sleep?
Perhaps this seems a pointless question. Why sleep? Because our body demands it of us. Because that is how we are physiologically constructed--that we require so many hours of rest each day in order to function. But to the Jew, there are no pointless questions. If G-d created us a certain way, there is a reason. If our active hours must always be preceded by what the Talmud calls the "minor death" of sleep, there is a lesson here, a truth that is fundamental to the nature of human achievement.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains: If we didn't sleep, there would be no tomorrow. Life would be a single, seamless today. Our every thought and deed would be an outgrowth of all our previous thoughts and deeds. There would be no new beginnings in our lives, for the very concept of a new beginning would be alien to us.
Sleep means that we have the capacity to not only improve but also transcend ourselves. To open a new chapter in life that is neither predicted nor enabled by what we did and were up until now. To free ourselves of yesterday's constraints and build a new, recreated self.
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov taught that G-d creates the world anew every millisecond of time. If we are His "partners in creation" (as the Talmud says we are), we should be able to do that too--at least once a day.
Wake up tomorrow--and start anew.