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Sleep in Islam: The best sleeping position

  • 14 December 2021
  • By Rashmi Shetty

Sleeping position in Islam

Sleep science has been gradually building momentum over the past couple of years and has made substantial progress to prove what classifies as a good night’s sleep. But sleep has been a subject of interest since time immemorial and has been mentioned in many scriptures- particularly in Islam. The Quran and Hadiths have sleep mentioned throughout it emphasizes how important the sleeping position is in Islam. As much as your daily activity is important so is a good night’s sleep as a person’s daily functions depend on it. There have been many instances where the prophet has told his followers to prioritize a good night’s sleep- when a devotee was praying the whole night the Prophet told him “Offer prayers and also sleep at night, as your body has right on you”. Going to bed early and waking up early are two signs of a devout Muslim.

Sleep is an important aspect of the Quran and has been mentioned throughout it in various forms. A well-known verse notes “And among His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty, verily in that are signs for those who hearken” [verse 30.23]. These are some of the different names of sleep mentioned in Quran that correspond with the modern stages of sleep as described by sleep science.

  1. Sinah: It is the word for slumber or napping for a short period.
  2. Nu’ass: When a devotee is worried about life's challenges and is under a lot of stress, then taking a short nap will help him/her get back on track  to tackle any problem with renewed energy. This nap is known as Nu'ass
  3. Ruqood: A slumber that is for a long duration of time and makes the sleeper unaware of his/her surroundings.
  4. Hojoo: This term is given to the pious devotees who are fearful of Allah and sleep in small intervals because of it, its direct translation indicates sleep at night.
  5. Subaat: It indicates a person in the state of deep slumber and disconnects from his/her environment.

The Quran talks about Allah possessing the worshipper’s soul during his sleep and returns it once he’s awake, until he has reached his eventual death. There is a great connection of sleep and death mentioned in the Quran as it is of absolute importance that a believer remembers his inevitable death for the sake of letting go of worldly pleasures and surrendering to the almighty.

Islamic way of sleeping

Islam has set ways of sleeping as mentioned in the Quran and Hadiths and every Muslim should follow it religiously. There are various interpretations of how-to sleep-in Islam, but the main ones are as follows.

  • Wudu or Ablution is an important ritual in Islam meant for purification of oneself- a person washes specific body parts with water. This is done before offering salah and is also encouraged to be done before sleeping. Hygiene and cleanliness are a huge part of Islam and that is why wudu is observed among Muslims throughout the day.How to perform Wudu
  • Offer your salah. Muslims offer their last prayer Isha an hour after sunset, but they can carry on praying through the night known as Tahjjud which is continued till the next prayer (Fajr). But the prophet emphasizes even though prayer is important one must not deprive themselves of sleep and should be well-rested to wake up before sunrise the next morning.
  • Carrying out a daily routine before bed. A person should clean his bed and surroundings before sleep, dressing oneself in loose clothing and brushing one's teeth is suggested as prophet Mohammad used to brush his teeth with miswak and encouraged this routine because it is known to please Allah
  • Make sure the house has been thoroughly checked before sleeping. Close the vessels and turn off the lights and make sure all the food has been packed and covered, as open doors and uncovered vessels allow the Shaytan in. Sleep in the dark by turning off all the lights as the person should have undisturbed sleep.
  • The devotee is encouraged to keep dua before sleepingOffering Dua - Before sleep asking Allah for forgiveness and well wishes. You can recite duas from the hadiths or could make your own duas.
  • Make sure not to have a large meal before sleep and if you deal with sleeplessness or a nightmare pray to Allah for a good night’s rest.
  • Once you’re done offering your prayers and have finished your daily routine, head to sleep as it is discouraged to engage in activities once the last prayer has been offered. Unless there’s an emergency one must not participate in any gatherings or festivities.
  • Sleeping direction in Islam is mentioned to be towards the Qibla. There are no specific instructions regarding this, but it is generally encouraged to sleep in the direction of the Kaaba.
  • Wake up an hour before sunrise to offer your first prayer of the day- Fajr after performing Wudu. It has been suggested that early morning work has been blessed by Allah, so it’s the best time to start your day.
  • Qailulah is the other permissible nap time in the afternoon during or between the Zuhr period which is the only time during the day when people can sleep. Prophet Mohammad has been mentioned in the hadiths taking naps in the middle of the day after offering his Zuhr. Short daytime naps help a person recuperate his energy and improve his/her cognitive functions, furthermore it helps a person to function better throughout the day

Which side should you sleep in Islam?

The best sleep positions have been tried and tested throughout history with science having its own theories. Islamic way of sleeping also has a certain set of rules that one must follow. Most practices(sunnah) encourage sleeping on the right side with your right hand resting on your right cheek which was the preferred sleeping position of the prophet. The science of it suggests that sleeping on the right side has a beneficial effect on the heart especially among heart patients who have undergone surgery as it lessens the pressure on it.

According to the hadith’s, Prophet Mohammad emphasized sleeping on the right side as the best way to sleep, whereas, sleeping on the stomach was forbidden as it resembled people in hell. Although it is not haram to sleep on the left side it is still not a preferred direction of sleep unless the person shuffles in his sleep through the night.


Benefits of sleeping on the right side 

Benefits of sleeping on the right side

Prophet Mohammad found a man sleeping on his stomach and nudged him to wake up as that position was disliked by Allah and told him to sleep on the right side. This was 1400 years ago; in the modern age it has been proven that sleeping on the right side is beneficial for circulation and puts less pressure on the heart. On the other hand, sleeping on the stomach causes strain to the spine and abdomen as most of the weight is centered around the stomach. Stress on the spine means there’s stress on other parts of the body causing you to feel numb when you wake up. The neck ends up out of alignment due to the person shifting their neck either to left or right causing further injuries.


Vamkukshi – Hinduism’s perspective


Vamkukshi -Sleeping on the left side

Many other scriptures talk about sleeping and the best positions and directions to do so-one of them is HinduismSpecifically in Ayurveda, Vamkukshi position is the term for sleeping on the left side. It has a multitude of benefits such as aiding in digestion, preventing snoring, providing relief to the neck and spine, and so on. But its main purpose is to avoid acid reflux after a meal. If a person wishes to take a nap within an hour of having lunch, he/she can do so by sleeping on the left side this stops the food and digestive acids from regurgitating.


Vaastu Shastra- The best direction to sleep in Hinduism

There is another section of Hinduism that talks about the best direction to sleep in, specifically the direction in which the head and legs should be pointing towards. They are traditional texts that talk about the principles of design and is informally known as the ‘science of architecture’ in Hinduism. Vaastu Shastra is a science for integrating architecture with nature and has been followed for thousands of years. The recommended sleeping direction in the Vaastu Shastra is to lie down with the head pointed southward and the bed placed accordingly. According to Vaastu Shastra head in the north direction is possibly the worst direction to sleep in.


Sleep has science and religion to back it up and hence has been analyzed and researched since ancient times. It is a delicate time where one is unaware of his surroundings and gives into the night it is also one of the most important aspects of a person’s life cycle. Therefore, it plays a pivotal role in the functioning of the human body. Religions have their explanation as to which side is the best but at the end of the day it’s up to us to ensure a good night’s sleep and that we abide by a daily routine to help us sleep peacefully. A better way to do it is to get a comfortable mattress so that you can follow the rules religiously without any worry, so shop at Sunday mattress for the best sleep of your life.


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