If you’ve started waking up early and working in those early hours of the day as we recommend here at ProductiveMuslim.com, you’ll find that it’s pretty hard to be consistent each and every day with this routine. And when you look for the reasons for this inconsistency, you’ll realise that it’s mainly because it’s hard to regulate your sleep; one day you sleep well, so you wake up early and can work hard. Other days, you don’t sleep so well and those early hours are pretty difficult to maintain.
Sleep, as any other activity we do as humans, can be optimized by planning for it and following a particular routine each night. You might think, “dude, I just crash and sleep” well, that’s one way of doing it, but read the following routine, try it out and tell me if sleep doesn’t become a rewarding, spiritual and fulfilling experience for you after this.
The following sleep routine requires you to prepare for it at least 90 minutes BEFORE you actually sleep. And it’s basically dividing those 90 minutes into 3 parts:
⁃ One third for your Lord
⁃ One third for your self
⁃ One third for Sleep itself
One third for Your Lord: This starts with you taking wudhu, brushing your teeth, putting on nice clothes and perfume and praying tahajjud and witr to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) (Note: If you’re of those who prefer – and can – wake up before Fajr to pray these night prayers, then definitely go with that, however, if you can’t trust yourself to wake up that early, it’s better that you pray tahajjud and witr BEFORE you sleep). This is my favourite part of the sleep routine and favourite part of the day! It’s such a calming experience after going through a long hard day, to stand in front of your Lord, recite His verses, supplicate to Him and ask Him of whatever you desire in this world and the next. Do this for a couple of nights and you’d not want to give up doing it! In fact, throughout your day, you’ll be so looking forward to it!
One third for Your Self: This is where you prepare yourself for sleep by putting on your sleep clothes, getting into bed and reading a good book for at least 30 minutes. If you’re like me, as you’re reading the book, ideas/and thoughts will keep popping in your head that you want to save for later. For these, I have a plain notebook and pen/pencil next to me to scribble anything (and I mean anything) that pops in my head! You’ll be surprised how many great ideas originate from these 30 minutes. Alternatively, instead of reading, you may spend these 30 minutes brainstorming on a plain notebook any ideas/plans/projects you have in mind. You don’t have to come up with the ‘perfect’ idea/solution, but simply brainstorm as much as you can, then literally “sleep on it” (as the saying goes) and in the morning you’ll be surprised what your sub-conscious mind comes up for you.
One third for Your Sleep: I’ve said that this is a third for your sleep, but truly this is a third for your Lord to bless your sleep, and basically this involves going through the duas and verses that one should recite before sleeping as per the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). These include reciting Surat Al-Mulk and Surat Al-Sajdah and other supplications found here. This last part of the routine to me is like the cherry on top of the cake! Nothing fills you with more tranquility than sleeping with your last words being the words of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).
So there you have it, the ProductiveMuslim routine for Sleep. You might think it’s lengthy, but there has been no day that I’ve followed it, except that I slept peacefully and woke up peacefully.