Tehillim 13:4 talks about ‘the sleep of death (אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת)’, Yeshayahu 26:19 reads something like my dead bodies shall arise--awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust (הָקִיצוּ), Sleep and death are comparable but not the same.. Death is when the inner animaties component (soul) leaves the body completely and the breath and heart beating stops; the body becomes a empty vessel so to speak. So why compare it to sleep. Please help me out you understand the comparison of death with sleep.
When the rabbis liken sleep to 1/60th of death, they mean to say that it is a little like death, for obvious reasons, but not a lot like death (1 out of 60 is identical to the 1.67% percent used to nullify meat in milk and most non-kosher foods with kosher ones, in other words, it’s just about a nullified percentage)! Or as you said, they are comparable, but not the same. The essence of life is “free will”, and when we are asleep, just as after death, we aren’t in control of our essence, our free will. This also stresses that when we are awake, we should utilize our free will to the max, and not live like zombies succumbing to peer or external pressure, that may run contrary to our beliefs.