Consciousness can be described as an awareness of everything that you experience. It encompasses all your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Consciousness is unique to each individual.
There has been a lot of interest in how our consciousness works, especially when we are asleep. When we sleep, our state of awareness is lowered. As a result, our senses are disconnected from our surroundings.
But the activity in our brain still continues despite us being asleep. Studies have shown that we are sometimes aware of our consciousness, even when we are sleeping.
Does It Disappear?
Our consciousness does not fully disappear when we sleep. We may still be aware of things, but it will be on a subconscious level. This is because certain areas in the cortex of the brain stop communicating with other areas.
We can still be aware of our surroundings, but our responses are muted. That is why you can fall asleep while traveling or even listening to a lecture. Your brain is still alert, and you are jolted awake when needed.
This proves that consciousness is present. So even when we are asleep, this awareness is with us. We still do not fully understand how it works, though.
Is It Completely Gone?
There are distinct stages of sleep in which the neural activity of the brain changes. When this happens, it is assumed that our consciousness also changes. But it is difficult to properly verify this assumption.
Even though there have been tests carried out on individuals, it is challenging to get accurate facts. This is because it is difficult to remember any consciousness experience that occurs when one is asleep.
Is Consciousness A Dream?
Dreaming is said to be an altered state of your consciousness. When you dream, you experience an environment that is very much alive. For example, although you are able to see and touch, your senses are muted.
A part of your consciousness is subdued. But the thoughts in our conscious minds influence what our dreams will be like.
Sometimes you are even aware that you are in a dream.
This is termed lucid dreaming. In this situation, you are able to control what happens in your dream. This indicates a consciousness that is able to transcend dreams.
Does Consciousness Think?
The conscious mind does think. Our consciousness keeps track of all that we experience at the moment. Our awareness of the surroundings and our responses are carefully studied and remembered.
Our brain is able to function without us being aware of doing so. It is an automatic level of consciousness that is in action in the background. Most of the time, we do tasks without thinking about them.
Is Our Consciousness An Illusion?
This is highly debatable. There are some who say that our consciousness is simply the brain making decisions for us. In comparison, others would argue that consciousness is very real.
We all have conscious and unconscious thoughts in our minds.
We may not be aware of them, but these thoughts are essential to how we view things. Therefore, we cannot term them as illusions simply because we do not understand how they work.
We still do not have a complete understanding of how our consciousness works. For example, we experience physical stimuli like seeing and touching. We also experience dreams when we are not physically responsive.
There are many aspects to be considered. The brain is in control of our every movement. In that sense, we must study how much of our consciousness is an illusion.
Final Thoughts on Where Does Consciousness Go During Sleep
There is still much that is not known about our consciousness. For example, we do not know how our brain is able to control our consciousness. We only know that certain parts of the brain are responsible for certain functions.
We cannot state what truly happens to our consciousness when we fall asleep. Even though there have been tests carried out, we cannot measure consciousness. We can only say that consciousness is a whole part of us, whether we are aware of it or not.