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Bible Verses About A Good Night’s Rest

What does the Bible say about a good night’s rest?

Sleep has been called a “gift from God.” Yet, we’ve all heard stories of ancient Christians waking in the early morning, depriving themselves of sleep to meet God. It’s tempting to equate their practice of less sleep with godliness. Doesn’t the Bible warn us against being lazy and loving sleep too much? But is skipping rest necessary to grow in godliness? Are there times when we should rest rather than participate in ministry? Here are some thoughts about what the Bible says about a good night’s rest.  

Christian quotes about a good night’s rest

“May you be covered in God’s love and protection as you sleep. Goodnight!”

“God gave us sleep to remind us we are not him.” Charles Spurgeon

Sleep is important

According to medical studies, sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. When we sleep, our body works to bolster the function of our physical health and our organs, including our

  • Respiratory system
  • Immune system
  • Heart and circulation
  • Brain function
  • Metabolism

Good sleep is associated with better growth and development in children. Those who don’t get enough sleep are at great risk of chronic health problems, and kids who don’t get enough sleep will not develop properly. 

″For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.” (Hebrews 4:10)

The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. (Ecclesiastes 5:12 KJV)

What does God say about rest? 

As we read through the Bible, as soon as we reach the second chapter of Genesis, we encounter the topic of rest. God, the sovereign, all-mighty creator, had just finished constructing the heavens and the earth in six days. Of all the things he could have done on the seventh day, he chose to rest from his work. In doing so, God established rest as something to be valued and practiced. 

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:1-3 ESV)

In Exodus, God takes it a step further, making rest a priority for his people by incorporating it as one of the Ten Commandments. 

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11 ESV)

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. (Exodus 31:15 ESV)

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14 NIV)

How did Jesus view rest? 

In the New Testament accounts of Jesus, we learn that, like us, he got tired. 

Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. (John 4:6 ESV)

Sometimes, he was so exhausted he fell asleep, much to the disciple’s dismay. 

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:37-38 ESV)

Jesus encouraged his disciples to take breaks from their work. 

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31 ESV)

Interestingly, Jesus used the analogy of rest when he called people to follow him. He understood our human condition. Not only do our bodies get tired, but our hearts and souls get weary. The rest Jesus offers goes beyond our physical needs. His rest gives  our souls eternal life. 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

Christ’s coming to earth changed resting on the Shabbat to something deeper. His rest was more powerful than Shabbat’s day of rest. We read in Hebrews about a future Shabbat for God’s people in the new world God promises to create for his followers. But until then, we can enter his rest by trusting and believing in Christ. He gives us rest not only one day a week but every day as we turn to him with our weariness and needs. 

Did people in the Bible sleep?

The Bible contains numerous stories about people like us who were tired and needed to rest. God created our bodies to need sleep, and sleep helps us realize our dependence on God and others. 


But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. (Exodus 17:12 ESV)


There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.  But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.  And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.  (Acts 20:8-12 ESV)


And he [Elijah] lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” (1 Kings 19:5 ESV)

How Scripture can help you to sleep better

Scripture reminds us that we need help outside of ourselves. Life is hard and stressful, and often, we feel overwhelmed by its demands. Turning to God rather than trying to slug it out on our own is not only a display of humility on our part but also a deep dependence on the only one who can give us the rest we desperately need.

Of course, beyond our need for rest, our biggest need has been taken care of by Christ on the cross when he offered himself as a ransom for our sins. Because God is holy and we are not, Christ’s death allowed us not only access to God but a way to become a child of God. 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:3-4 ESV)

For through him [Christ] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (Ephesians 2:18-19 ESV)

As God’s children, we find true rest for our hearts, minds, and bodies because we know God, our Father. He promises to always be there for us and take care of us. Remembering these truths helps us get a good night’s sleep. 

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

What are some good Bible verses to read before bed?

The Bible constantly reminds us that God wants us to rest and sleep well. Here are just a few verses we can read before bed.  

God provides us with a sense of peace and safety

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8 ESV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you.” (Psalm 56:3)

God gives us sleep

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2 ESV)

God sustains us

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. (Psalm 3:5 ESV)

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. (Psalm 54:4 NASB)

You will be secure, because there is hope, and you will look around and lie down in safety. (Job 11:18)

God is like a shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3 ESV)

God gives us rest from our burdens

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV)

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)

God watches over you

Trusting God and getting good sleep seems to go hand in hand. We can let go of fear and anxiety as we rely on God and follow his commands. 

My son, do not forget my teaching,  but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1-2 ESV)

If you lie down, you will not be afraid;  when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3:24 ESV)

“May the Lord watch over you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:26)

“The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time and forever.” (Psalm 121:8 NASB)

Praying before bed

Although Jesus didn’t teach a specific prayer for us to pray at bedtime, there is a good chance that scripture informed his nighttime prayers. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we read about the life-changing power of scripture. All Scripture is God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 

Using scripture to guide our prayers will powerfully affect our hearts and minds. 

Here are some scriptures that we can pray before bed. 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8 NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5 NIV)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8 NIV)

Of course, we can always use our own words to create our bedtime prayers. God, who looks at our hearts, not the perfection of our prayers, promises to hear us. When we pray at bedtime, we could include 

  • Thanksgiving for the day’s mercies
  • Thank God for getting us through the day with its challenges and experiences
  • Ask for God’s watch care over us and our loved ones as we sleep.
  • Ask God for peace and safety 
  • Ask  Him to help us let go of our worries and cares so we can sleep. 


A good night’s rest is a gift. Even though God calls some saints to fast their sleep so they can seek him in prayer, it’s not a regular occurrence. For the most part, getting a good night’s sleep should be our priority to stay healthy. 

Of course, because we live in a world that applauds busyness and productivity, it’s challenging to value rest. If God rested after creating the heavens and the earth, we should, too. Stopping to rest helps us see our need for God. Besides this, God knows our bodies need sleep. We can pray to him, asking him to help us sleep. Praying scripture at bedtime can also be powerful, helping put our hearts and minds at ease before we go to bed. Whatever prayers we choose to pray, we can rest assured that God hears us. 

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