Should I be getting sleep tonight?


Sometimes I pray in bed all night and I don’t get any sleep. I know this isn’t the appropriate way to pray as I should be on my knees but sometimes I feel like I am called to participate like this. According to science, I should be getting so many hours of sleep and I know by experience that if I get adequate sleep I will function better. Yet sometimes this idea is confounded because I have less sleep then usual yet a ready brain. Apparently I will be making up for this lack of sleep later but should I be thinking that I need to sleep or am I being called to pray the night away in a sense. Does anyone have sleepless nights because of a mind that does not want to rest? If my mind doesn’t want to rest because I think I need to stay awake and pray, what about tomorrow? Anyone else needing to get up early but not finding a mind at rest?


If you find yourself suffering from chronic insomnia, you may want to see your doctor. There could be a medical cause to your insomnia that can be treated which would help you get to sleep better. If there is no apparent cause to your chronic insomnia, the doctor could prescribe you any number of prescription sleep aids, not all of which are addictive.

That said, if you feel like God is wanting to talk to you all night, then go right ahead. I am sure that many of the saints prayed all night at times in there life. I often stay up all night or half the night just researching stuff about Catholicism, praising God through song, or praying. 99.999% of the time it is a combination of the three. I don’t think I have ever spent an entire night doing only one of those things but it could be escaping my memory. :p:o

Anyway, since you’re up, if you’d like someone to chat with, I’d be willing to chat with you. :thumbsup: Just send me a PM or an instant message on one of my messengers and I’d be glad to talk to you! :slight_smile:


St Theresa of Avila used to pray while on the toilet. Story goes a devil appeared to her once to taunt her about praying while on the can. She just said ‘what comes out of my mouth is for God, what comes out the other end is for you, devil!’ :smiley: :thumbsup:

So praying in bed is fine. In fact Jesus said ‘come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest’. Sounds like that is exactly what you’re doing. :cool:


Praying in bed is fine but you need to take care of your body - that is your body which God has given to you. Taking a good care of it is your responsiblity. When you are weak and ill, your mind can be weak…your thinking and rationalization can be weak also. Devils can attack you where your weakness is.

Sleeping routine is important to your health and mind.


Being sleep deprived is a little like being drunk, in that the sufferer doesn’t always recognize his impairment.

God made us with a need for a certain amount of sleep, and it is harmful to do without on a regular basis. Getting enough sleep is part of an orderly, obedient life.

If you can’t sleep, praying the night away is a good thing before you are able to address the problem if it’s ongoing.

If you occasionally spend a night in prayer because of a special situation and you are normally well rested, there shouldn’t be a problem.

But if you do it on purpose, frequently enough to cause significant sleep deprivation, you are endangering yourself and others when you drive, less efficient in your work and possibly causing long-term health problems.

Consult a doctor and spiritual director, just as you would before you begin a stringent fast from food.



Are you getting exercise and avoiding chocolate/sugar/caffeine at night?

Play some group sports, jog, swim etc.

You need some sleep. The great saints were big on taking care of the body.


This made my day, thanks Lily! :smiley:


To the OP. Praying in bed is fine, praying all night every night is not. Your body needs sleep. If you don’t sleep not only is it more dangerous to you when you drive or work or whatever, but you don’t have as much strength to fight sin and satan. Please ask a doctor for something that might help you get some sleep. Then once you are sleeping you can pray whenever and wherever you want. I pray when sitting or standing mostly, just going about my daily life. :slight_smile:


Lily, I remember this from the Saintly Humor thread… many, many months ago; and I STILL laugh about it… each time I visit the… er… “little nuns room” :rolleyes: (I think that’s the way you said it before). :rotfl:

To the OP… I agree with the advice about insomnia. It sounds like you may have a problem with chronic insomnia. See your doctor, please. And please be very careful if you drive. I’ve suffered from chronic insomnia for years… it can be truly awful. But on those sleepless nights, I’ve developed the habit of offering it to Jesus. I feel that your prayers are also a good way to spend those hours… when you can’t sleep. Still, I hope you will find out what is causing the sleeplessness.

God bless.


I believe I did call it that … what can I say, can’t beat a classic St Theresa story. It’ll probably do the rounds a few more times before I’m done :smiley:


If you are being called to pray like this, then you should. When your body is ready to sleep; it will. :rolleyes:


A select few saints, like St. Dominic, were given the grace to be able to pray throughout the night. He was famous for not even having a room and bed in any of the houses.

But the test of a penance like this is always its reasonability. If it interferes with your vocation you need to stop it. For instance, suppose that you are a student now. Your vocation as a student requires that you be fully rested so that you can do well in your studies. Without adequate rest your brain simply won’t function. So, if you find that your studies are suffering at all, then stop doing this.

It is often more glamorous or appealing to do an exotic or difficult penance, even at the cost of one’s definite calling, than to pursue faithfully-- and often very boringly- one’s calling. Remember that God expects you to fulfill all of your obligations first. Any penance which conflicts with the obligations in your life is not a Godly penance for you.

You say, “I know by experience that if I get adequate sleep I will function better.” This means, I think, that you ought to get rid of this practice. It isn’t healthy, and it is contradicting your real life obligations.

If you want to substitute a different and less rigorous penance for this, look up the monastic practice of the “night office.” Basically, the monks would pray the liturgy of the hours, the part called “the office of readings” during the middle of the night. The times varied depending on how much they covered and what order they were in. But they’d get up in the middle of the night, pray the night office, and go back to bed.

If you did this, it wouldn’t take longer than 20-25 minutes in the middle of the night. It would still be quite penitential, and yet you’d still be able to get a full night’s sleep. But the same restrictions as above apply.

And only take up penances after talking with a spiritual director/confessor.

God bless,




Thank you Rob. When I did penances in the past, I was staying up all night and fasting during the day to the point where my parents were feeding me like I was a baby. I was moving robot-like and not speaking to anyone except the spirits speaking to me internally. These made a case for the psychiatry ward in which I was eventually sent.

The night I posted this I did actually fall asleep but with the idea that I can do penance another time so I best get to sleep even if I were to sin in my dreams. I am guessing that if I am attacked by evil spirits in my dreams but I never will to do any evil, I haven’t committed any mortal sins. With this thought I can rest except for the fact that I might commit venial sins in my dreams so I will waken weaker than the previous evening. Therefore, I want to receive communion to be strengthened in Christ for the day ahead but my mother asks why I need to go to church almost every day of the week. This falls into another question I have. If I have an adopted mother under a baptist marriage and I am the only catholic and practicing catholic, is it a mortal sin to go to mass tomorrow even though she told me not to?


Hello speaker!

I ran across your thread and immediatly saw that your case is very similar to a case of my brother who is 18 years old. He was diagnosed with OCD a couple of years ago and he stays up most of the night and well into the morning, praying over and over again because he thinks he is sinning, or he *thinks *that he does not give his life fully to God already. (he also does this duing the day while playing outside or simply just talking to people). He has been both to a doctor and a priest and both have said that this constant praying has to do with OCD.
I am not saying that this is what you have, but it might be worth checking out, just in case.

With much love and God Bless:blessyou:



You cannot sin in your sleep because you lack sufficient free will and use of reason while sleeping. You do better by sleeping because it is taking the proper care of the GOOD thing, your own body and health, which God has given you. As a human being you are charged with proper stewardship of your body. That means eating and sleeping reasonably. Therefore: sleep.

You should go to a confessor and explain that you have problems with scrupulosity with things like this. If he is merciful-- and ask him to do this for your own peace of mind, if he thinks it is prudent-- he will command you under obedience not to stay up all night. And you will be holier, believe it or not, for not staying up all night.

As for mortal sin-- it cannot possibly be a mortal sin. Don’t worry. Start showing your mother that you can get a full night of sleep and maybe she’ll be more comfortable with you going to daily mass.

And definitely speak to a confessor about these sorts of things. He can have the authority to ask you, under obedience, not to do these extreme penances. And if he does ask you under obedience you will have a sweet and easy road to sanctification-- becuase it is always holier to be obedient than to try to do extreme penances. But discuss with this confessor if you have mental problems about which he should know.

God bless you,


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