Do you find yourself facing sleepless nights, wherein you dread going to bed coz you just know that you are going to be listening to some nice qiraat from some sheikh or the other…but for hours on end? It’s not that listening to the Qur’aan recitation is such a hardship. The real problem is that you are going to fall asleep at around 3 am, and then not even hear your alarm go off for the Fajr salaat. And that, my friends, is tragic, perhaps more tragic for me than for you, because when do I finally wake up? Why, of course, as soon as the time for Fajr salaat expires. If that is not the Shaytaan messing with me, I don’t know what is. But the thing is, what do I do to allow the Shaytaan to mess with me?
The thing that brings this up was an article in the LA Times this morning, regarding insomnia (and corresponding suicide) among Hollywood’s beloved celebrities:
“At least if I died, I’d get some rest,” one insomniac said. The celebrated Swedish physician Axel Munthe, who had more success treating the insomnia of his patients than he did his own, wrote in his 1929 bestseller, The Story of San Michele: “Insomnia does not kill its man unless he kills himself — sleeplessness is the most common cause of suicide. But it kills his joie de vivre, it saps his strength, it sucks the blood from his brain and from his heart like a vampire.” We’ve been taught to see insomnia as secondary to, as resulting from, depression, neurosis or other sorts of psychopathology. But there is increasing evidence that it may work the other way around: Insomnia may be the cause and not the consequence of a person’s emotional instability. Insomnia is now known to be a risk factor for depression, alcoholism and suicide. And research suggests that how well or badly we sleep may have as much to do with genetics, with a physiological predisposition to fragile sleep, as with anything we’re doing to mess ourselves up.
Well, let’s all not kill ourselves just to get some sleep. I don’t know about you, but that last part there about genetics playing a role in how well or not we sleep at night was certainly interesting. It got us all to talking about how my younger brother, my mom, and my grandmother on my mom’s side always have had difficulty sleeping. And then my mother told us how my grandmother copes with her insomnia, and which my mom does till today…which I feel compelled to share with you.
Make the intention that if you do not get sleep by a certain time (2 or 3 am sounds about right), then you will wake up to pray tahajjud salaat. Now, I know that most of us think tahajjud salaat is for everyone but ourselves: people who are either a) older; b) more “religious”; or c) just plain old boring. But you know what, to someone else out there, you and me are a) older, b) more religious, and c) plain old boring. So, this does apply to you, my friend! 🙂 So, yeah…make the intention to get out of bed, make fresh wudhu, pray tahajjud. Read ayat al Qursi a few times, and watch yourself get sleep. If you don’t get sleep after making the intention to use your sleeplessness wisely, it will be a miracle. Believe me, Shaytaan will not want you to get additional free reward, and he will make sure you get your beauty sleep! My grandmother actually started making the intention that if she does get sleep, then she will still wake up for tahajjud. I never understood how she prays tahajjud with such amazing regularity…until now. We have insomnia with regularity, don’t we? So we can use it in our favor, inshaAllah.
And I share this with you so that I can remember to do it myself, inshaAllah. 🙂