Chapter 71:4 & 5
Behavior at Night
4. A person who did not recite all three passages of the Shema after
nightfall should recite these passages while reciting the Shema before
retiring. However, if he recited the three passages after nightfall, they
need not be repeated before he retires, and only the first passage must be
recited. Nevertheless, the most preferable way of performing this custom is
to recite all three passages.
Afterwards, psalms and verse which arouse G-d's mercy should be recited, as
printed in the siddurim. Nevertheless, [one change should be made:] in most
siddurim, the blessing Hamapil is printed before the Shema. It is
preferable to recite this blessing in conclusion, so its recitation will
directly precede one's going to sleep. Thus, one should recite the Shema
and the psalms before one goes to one's bed, and recite the blessing
Hamapil alone while on one's bed.
Before going to one's bed, one should approach the mezuzoh, place one's
fingers upon it and recite Ado-noi Shomri... [G-d is My Protector...].
Afterwards, one should repeat the verse: B'chol d'rochecho... (In all your
way...) seven times.
After reciting the blessing Hamapil, a person should not eat, drink or talk
until he falls asleep. If he cannot fall asleep, he should repeat Shema and
the verse and psalms of mercy again and again until he is overcome by
sleep. Alternatively, he should recite the verses: Torah tzivah lonu...
(The Torah which Moses commanded us..., Deuteronomy 33:4), Esh tomid... (A
continuous fire, Leviticus 6:6), Se'afim sonesi... (I hate men of vain
thoughts..., Psalms 97,11), until overcome by sleep.
When going to sleep, ones' intention should be to replenish one's strength
for the service of G-d. That intention causes even one's sleep to be
considered an element of that service.
5. A person should not sleep in his clothes and should remove them before
retiring. When removing one's clothes and shoes, one should remove the left
side first. One should not place one's clothes under one's head, because
this causes one to forget one's Torah studies.
A person should train himself to sleep on his side. Sleeping on one's back
or on one's stomach is a severe transgression. It is beneficial to begin
one's sleep while lying on the left side, and afterwards to change to the
This is beneficial to one's health, since the liver is on one's right side,
and the stomach on one's left. When one leans to the left, the liver will
lie on the stomach and warm it with its heat. This will hasten the
digestion of the food. After the food is digested, it is preferable to lean
to the right, thus allowing the stomach to rest and the wastes to descend.
One should not turn frequently from side to side.