Getting a good night’s sleep after a long and exhausting day is something that everyone looks forward to. (I’m pretty sure you know how groggy and cranky some of us can be without enough sleep!)
The cessation of movement when we sleep means that the body can rest from all the moving and going about our daily lives. Imagine having to go through our daily routines – studying, working, sports practice, performing all sorts of activities – and not having the time to rest and rejuvenate at the end of the day. What a hard and unpleasant life that would be!
This is why sleep itself is actually a huge mercy from Allah SWT.
In Surah An-Naba’, Allah SWT says:
وَجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَكُمْ سُبَاتاً
“And We have made your sleep [a means for] rest.” (An-Naba’: 9)
A lot of research has been done by experts who have tried to understand the science of sleep and how it affects us. Sleeping is more than just about letting the body rest from physical activity. Do you know that your brain goes into “spring cleaning mode” when you go to sleep? After working so hard during the day processing all sorts of information, sleep allows the removal of toxins that tend to build up during the hours we are awake. Also, there’s an interesting link between getting enough sleep and its effects on the immune system, too. Researchers found that individuals who got better quality sleep were less likely to develop cold symptoms.
Sleep deprivation can have negative effects on our mood and concentration as well. You might find that you would feel more irritable if you have insufficient sleep (which would in turn affect your interaction with the people around you!). Not only that, it’s also harder to be alert, pay attention, memorize things, and solve problems when your mind is not fully rested.
Now we know that getting enough sleep means taking care of our physical and mental health, but we shouldn’t miss another very important point: that being healthy would ultimately help us perform our ‘ibaadah with better stamina and concentration, inshaAllah.
Sleepforkids.org has two interesting resources to help children learn and understand sleep better, the Sleep Diary (helps them track how much sleep they get, how they feel during the day, etc.) and Sleep Calculator. Nice way to get started on healthy bedtime habits! 😉
Also check out this page for different hands-on activities and experiments to explore the concept of circadian rhythm.
Last but definitely not least, make sure to read the wondrous story of the People of the Cave as told in Surah Al-Kahf and discover the extraordinary facts about their sleep! 🙂