Why did Jesus speak of death as a sleep?
Because a sleeping person is inactive. During deep sleep there is no consciousness of surroundings or the passing of time. There is no pain or suffering.
Similarly, in death there is no activity or activity or consciousness. But the comparison goes further with sleep.
With sleep, one expects to wake up. And that is exactly the hope that the Bible offers for the dead.
This would be the resurrection that Jesus spoke about.
Jesus’ early disciples clearly understood the true condition of the dead. To the followers of Jesus death was a sleep, and the grave a resting-place.
God knows what happens to us when we die, and he has told us that when a person dies, his life ends. Death is the opposite of life.
So when someone dies, his feelings and memories do not keep on living somewhere else. When we die we can’t see, we can’t hear, and we can’t think anymore.