Among the important rules of a Muslim home is that all members of the house sleep early. Thus, the entire family should retire to bed after performing the ‘Esha Salaah. There are great physical as well as spiritual benefits in this. In order to maintain one’s health, one must enjoy sound sleep. Many illnesses are related to the lack of sleep or the lack of good sleeping habits. The Mashaayikh generally advise that a person get at least six hours of sound sleep daily. One cannot function efficiently without having sufficient sleep.
Allah Ta‘ala mentions in Surah Rum:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ مَنَامُكُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَابْتِغَاؤُكُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ ﴿الروم: ٢٣﴾
And among His signs is your sleeping at night and in the day and your seeking from His grace. Verily in this are signs for people who listen.
Adequate sleep is the key to a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, body and mind. It promotes good brain performance and is vital for the basic survival functions of the human body. A person’s blood pressure, heart rate and weight control are all linked to sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, weight gain and a decreased ability in dealing with stress. Most importantly it keeps one alert and enables one to wake up for Tahajjud Salaah or at the least, the Fajr Salaah.
Sleeping early is also established from the sunnah. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would dislike sleeping before ‘Esha Salaah (due to the fear that a person may miss the ‘Esha Salaah) and speaking after ‘Esha Salaah (as it will cause him to sleep late, causing difficulty in him awaking for the Tahajjud or Fajr Salaah).
Similarly, it has been narrated that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would hit those who would engage in conversation after the ‘Esha Salaah saying, “You engage in conversation in the first portion of the night and sleep in the latter portion of the night! (Whereas you should sleep in the first portion and engage in Tahajjud Salaah and ‘ibaadah in the latter portion)” (Fat-hul Baari vol. 2, pg. 93)
Note: The above hadeeth applies to people who engage in idle conversation after the ‘Esha Salaah. Hence, this hadeeth does not apply in the case where a person is engaged in imparting Deen or some other necessary task and there is no fear of him missing the Fajr Salaah. (Fat-hul Baari vol. 2, pg. 62)