The Best Position To Sleep In According To Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Safiya Rahman

January 15, 2024
Muslim woman sleeping on her back

In today's busy and tiring world, the thing we often most strive for is a good, high quality, restful sleep. As we generally apportion 8 hours, or a third of our day, to sleep, it's important we understand what constitutes good sleep hygiene in order to achieve the deepest slumber.

To try and form a good sleep routine then, it makes sense to look at the routine of the one person all Muslims follow and look towards for inspiration; our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

How did The Prophet (pbuh) sleep? 📖

    Whenever you go to bed, perform ablution like that for the prayer, and lie on your right side” [Sahih Muslim 2710]

    When the Prophet (pbuh) wants to go to sleep, he puts his right hand under his cheek” [Sahih Muslim 2713]

    One of the most emphasised sleeping positions according to the Sunnah of The Prophet (pbuh) is to sleep on the right side. He (Rasoolullah SAWS) himself used to sleep on his right side, with his right hand placed beneath his right cheek. Sleeping in this position aligns with the natural inclinations of our bodies and offers several advantages:

    1. Medical Benefits: It's scientifically proven that sleeping on the right side improves digestion as it allows the stomach to rest in its anatomically correct position. This position also helps prevent acid reflux and reduces the likelihood of heartburn, as the stomach is located below the oesophagus.

    2. State Of Wudu: The aforementioned Hadith also notes that The Prophet (pbuh) used to sleep in a state of wudu or purity. He also said the night prayers (Isha) before sleep. This encourages us to remember Allah and practice dhikr every night.

    Muslim man taking a nap in accordance to his faith

    Are there any alternatives to sleeping on the right hand side? 👉

    While the Sunnah encourages sleeping on the right side, Islam always promotes flexibility and does not impose strict rules, as the religion is meant to be easy to follow. Islam acknowledges that each individual is different and has differing needs. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also slept in other positions at times, such as sleeping on his back or in the fetal position. It is however discouraged to sleep on the stomach, or in the prone position, due to health risks.

    The Prophet (pbuh) told a man who was lying on his stomach, “Allāh and his Prophet dislike this position” [Sunan Al-Tirmdhi 2768]

    It is now widely understood that SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can increase seven-fold with infants who sleep on their stomachs.

    What other good sleep hygiene tips did The Prophet (pbuh) have? ✍️

    There are many other tips we can gather from religious texts that can help us have a deeper and more restful sleep:

    • Turning off the lights before sleep
    • Sweeping, dusting or tidying the bed before sleep
    • Covering your mouth when yawning
    • Napping in the afternoon
    • Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and using prayer to help guide this rhythm (wake up early and sleeping early)
    • Supplication or making dua
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