To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I was reading an article the other day about a new theory on the reason that we sleep.  A UCLA researcher suggests that rather than provide some vital biological function, it appears that sleep evolved to conserve energy and “keep us out of trouble.”  So it got me thinking about all of the other theories that I have read over the years – it helps restore energy levels, it strengthens the immune system, it repairs tissues and cells, it was an evolutionary development to avoid noctural predators.  And the list goes on, with no end of confusion and no apparent scientific consensus.

I wondered, what would be the purpose of sleep in a programmed reality?

And I thought of a possibility.  In multiplayer online games, a great deal of the logic behind the game resides in the client that sits on your PC.  The storage of the overall architecture of the game, each players attributes (to avoid hacking), etc., are on the server.  So what if our brain is analgous to such a client?  Doesn’t the client need to be upgraded periodically?  Ever notice how most PCs and Macs do automatic upgrades to various client programs upon reset, or when you attempt to open the program after it has been closed?  Notice that these upgrades aren’t done while you are playing or running the program?  The reason for that is to avoid any kind of software conflict.  It is far safer, and in most cases, essential, to do upgrades while the program is not running.  And then the next time you fire it up – presto, there are the changes.

Maybe the purpose of sleep is to allow the programmers the opportunity to upgrade our memories, processing capabilities, or whatever, during a down time.  It might explain why sleep deprivation causes us to act a little strangely.  It’s kind of like trying to run an ancient version of Word on your new Vista laptop.

(thanks to my nutty cat, Simba, for the sleeping pose)