There are numerous Muslim sleep traditions that Muslims try to follow in order to be in accordance with the practice of the Prophet (pbuh) (Sunnah).
Early bedtime and early wake up time
Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged his companions not to be involved in any activity after Isha prayer (darkness prayer, which is around 1.5-2 hours after sunset). The Prophet (pbuh) said, “One should not sleep before the night prayer, nor have discussions after it” [SB 574]. Additionally, Muslims are required to wake up for Fajr prayer, which is about one hour before sunrise. The Prophet did not sleep after Fajr prayer.[
The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control2] In addition, the Prophet (pbuh) told his companions that early morning work is blessed by Allāh.
Perform ablution (wudoo) before going to bed and supplicate
It is reported in Sahih Muslim (SM) that one of the companions said that the Prophet (pbuh) told him, “Whenever you go to bed, perform ablution like that for the prayer, and lie on your right side” [SM 2710]. And then he asked him to say the night prayers before sleep.
Dusting and cleaning the bed before sleeping
It has been reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “When any one of you goes to bed, he should take hold of the hem of his lower garment and then should clean (his bed) with the help of that and then should recite the name of Allāh” [SM 271].
In Islamic culture, some sleep positions are encouraged while others are discouraged based on the practice (Sunnah) and recommendations of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Thus, many Muslims sleep on their right side, particularly, in the initial part of sleep. Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Whenever you go to bed, perform ablution like that for the prayer, and lie on your right side” [SM 2710). In description of the sleep of the Prophet (pbuh), a Hadith states, “When the Prophet (pbuh) wants to go to sleep, he puts his right hand under his cheek” [SM 2713]. Modern scientific studies have suggested a beneficial effect of right lateral decubitus position on the heart. In particular, one study assessed the autonomic effect of three sleep positions (supine, left lateral decubitus, and right lateral decubitus) in healthy subjects using spectral heart rate variability analysis.[
The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control14] The results indicated that cardiac vagal activity was greatest when subjects were in the right lateral decubitus position. In addition, an animal study indicated that vagal stimulation has an antiarrhythmic effect.[
The following popper user interface control may not be accessible. Tab to the next button to revert the control to an accessible version.Destroy user interface control15] Several studies have demonstrated that the recumbent position affects autonomic nervous system activity in patients with congestive heart failure, and that there is attenuation of the sympathetic tone when subjects are in the right lateral decubitus position.[
Turning off light before sleep
It is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Put out lamps when you go to bed, shut the doors, and cover water and food containers” [SB 5301]. This may correspond with current scientific understanding that it is important to maintain a dark environment during sleep so as not to disrupt the circadian rhythm.
Yawning is an unacceptable behavior for Muslims, especially in public places. If yawning occurs, the yawner is instructed to cover his mouth with his hand. The Prophet said, “Yawning is from Satan. If you are about to yawn, you should try to stop it as much as possible. If you yawn, Satan will laugh” [SB 3115].
Sleep from an Islamic perspective