The sleeping patterns and habits of the Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him.
Today most of us are almost completely reliant upon alarm clocks. However, in the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) there was no such thing, rather they naturally woke up and/or were woken up. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us that in the middle of the night the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would wake up naturally to pray in the night.
This is an important study for many reasons, it was these sleeping habits that even affected performance in battles. For example, when the Muslims were told: “Be patient. You will not sleep tonight” and a battle continued until the time of fajr. By the mercy of Allah the companions had become used to praying throughout the night and thus were able to continue until this time, and it was then that victory was granted.
In the ayat ul kursi (2:255) Allah says that no drowsiness overtakes Him – subhannahu wa ta’ala. Tiredness and sleepiness is a weakness and is a characteristic of humanness, and Allah is far removed from that; how Perfect is He. The true rest and relaxation is in the next life, so let us seek refuge with Allah from laziness. Let us strive with all our efforts to use all our time seeking the pleasure of Allah, striving in His cause and working to bring ourselves closer to our Lord. This Ummah has been blessed in the morning period, after fajr and onwards, by the supplication of Allah’s Messenger – peace and blessings be upon him.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to teach the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) how to sleep, and how to adjust and perfect their sleeping habits. He (peace and blessings be upon him) instructed them to make wudu’ before sleep, to lie on the right side, to make du’a before sleeping, to make du’a upon waking, and to pray at home. And, Allah says:
“Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be
able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause
of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (73:20)
Muhammad al Shareef (may Allah reward him) explains some basic tips so that we can improve our sleeping patterns and habits. He suggests:
(1) Sleep early, and based upon a natural cycle. This is difficult in our times as we mostly work 9-5, whereas the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions began at the time of fajr. Likewise we must reflect on our priorities as often our lives are busied with things of no benefit to us. Sleep after salaat ul isha. Avoid sleeping on the stomach. Don't sleep after asr.
(2) Avoid things that alter natural sleep patters: Caffeinated drinks, Coffee, sodas, unhealthy foods, overeating, television, video games, over-use of computers.
(3) Don't sleep after fajr. Use the morning as this time is blessed, don’t let it pass by during your sleep.
(4) Praise Allah and seek Refuge with Him. Praise Allah and seek refuge with Him when you feel tiredness or are about to push the snooze button. Finally, force oneself to make wudu’. And lastly pray two rak’ah. The three knots of shaytan are undone and tiredness will be removed by Allah’s mercy.
(5) Pray at night. And, sleep before fajr after qiyyam.
(6) Stay away from the disobedience of Allah.
May Allah bless all of us in our time. And Allah knows best.