We all know how lack of sleep can make us cranky, moody and not pleasant to be around. While you are snoozing away, your body is amazingly repairing, removing and rejuvenating. Studies have shown decades of sleeping problems to be linked to the development of heart problems, obesity and diabetes. Interestingly, the hormone which helps you feel full, known as leptin, drops off if you fail to sleep enough. Your awareness, memory and creativity are all affected by sleep levels. How to fall asleep can sometimes become a complicated task when you are stressed and have a million things going on.
Many of us suffer from poor sleep patterns which often lead to a massive consequence: missing fajr and failing to concentrate in salah. This is a sad reality for so many as having a difficult time getting off to sleep makes it a hefty task waking up to pray the morning salah. Your concentration wavers in anything you do when you’re running on a low sleep reserve, and salah becomes one of the first areas affected. This itself is enough for us to work on our sleep patterns because it directly impacts our worship.
Ensuring we rest is something we find taught by the Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) as the body has rights also:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “O `Abdullah! Have I not been formed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?” I said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)!” He said, “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” (Al Bukhari 133)
Here are some crucial tips on how to fall asleep.
Planning your bedtime
Have a regular sleeping and waking pattern
As best as you can,pick a time to head to bed and stick to it. Put your alarm on at the same time every day (for fajr!) so your body clock becomes tuned. By constantly changing the time you sleep and wake, your body is unable to maintain a regular pattern which is why some days you will find it difficult to get off to sleep.
Sleep in the dark
This is an often overlooked factor. Your sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a natural hormone called melatonin. The production of it is controlled by light exposure. At night, your brain should be secreting more amounts of melatonin to make you sleepy and less during the day when it is light in order for you to stay bright eyed and awake. As the generation born with mobile phones and other devices glued to our hands, the melatonin production is often affected by modern day. Turn off your phone, telly and laptop. Ensure your bedroom lights and lamps are off. Sleep in the dark because the only monster around will be you in the morning when you have not had enough time away in your dreams!
Studies show that those who exercise are less likely to feel sleepy during the day and have a better night’s sleep. Staying active helps those who suffer from insomnia and aids you be in the deep cycle of sleep for longer. This is not a quick fix, however, and takes months before you see the benefits. Long term investment.
Time for bedtime
Clear your mind
With busy days that spill over into the evening our bedtime can often involve our mind running at 100mph. Take a pen and paper (not your phone!) to write down anything on your mind; make a list of things you need to do, ideas you have and problems you need to deal with. Writing it down acknowledges these thoughts which will help your mind slow down and park up ready to sleep.
Wudu is the act of purification. By performing wudu before going to bed, you are preparing yourself to be in the purest of states before sleeping.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to me, “Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer, lie or your right side and say, “Allahumma aslamtu wajhi ilaika, wa fauwadtu `Amri ilaika, wa alja’tu Zahri ilaika raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika. La Malja’a wa la manja minka illa ilaika. Allahumma amantu bikitabika-l-ladhi anzalta wa bina-biyika-l ladhi arsalta” (O Allah! I surrender to You and entrust all my affairs to You and depend upon You for Your Blessings both with hope and fear of You. There is no fleeing from You, and there is no place of protection and safety except with You O Allah! I believe in Your Book (the Qur’an) which You have revealed and in Your Prophet (Muhammad) whom You have sent). Then if you die on that very night, you will die with faith (i.e. or the religion of Islam). Let the aforesaid words be your last utterance (before sleep).” (Al Bukhari 114)
This is a reminder of who you are and the purpose you have in life; linking your preparation for bed and worship, you can begin to appreciate the benefits of ensuring you get a good nights sleep. This link, reinforced every night, will help you control your thoughts wondering to those things that make falling into the land of snooze difficult.
Dua’s and Surah Mulk
When retiring to bed, we should make it a habit to remember Allah and recite dua’as found in the Sunnah, like the oe mentioned above. Having the intention to sleep in order to rise for Fajr is a powerful component that can help you fall off to sleep. From authentic narrations, the following verses and dua’as are recommended for bedtime:
- Allahumma qini ‘adhabaka yawm tab’athu – [or: tajma’u] – ‘ibadaka – O Allah, save me from Your punishment on the Day when You resurrect – or gather – Your slaves (Ibn Majah 51)
- Audhu bi kalimati’ llahi’t-tammati min ghadabihi wa iqabihi wa sharri ibadihi wa min hamazati’ sh-shayatin wa an yahdurun – I seek refuge with the complete words of Allah from His anger and His punishment and the evil of His slaves, and from the evil suggestions of the shayatin and from their being present (at death). (Muwatta Malik)
The above dua’as are not an exhaustive list but a few to point you in the right direction. Insha’Allah the contents of this post help you fall off to sleep tonight.