And We have made your sleep as a thing for rest [subataan]. (An-Naba’ 78: 9)
Literally, the word [subaat] means cutting or severing. Allah s.w.t. says that He has made our sleep into a “severing”.
When we sleep, our soul is temporarily severed from the body, and it will be permanently severed when we die. But our sleep also cuts us off from all of our worldly affairs – our work, family, friends. One of the beautiful Sunnah is the du’a we recite when we wake up:
“Alhamdulillahil-ladhi ahyana ba’da ma amatana; wa ilaihi an-nushur.”
All praises are for Allah Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep) and unto Him is the Resurrection [Sahih Bukhari]
When we wake up, we say alhamdulillah that Allah s.w.t. revitalizes us from our temporary death. Think about it: How extremely joyful is someone who wakes up from a coma? He’s going to feel as though he’s been given a second chance at life – and he’s going to walk out with a determination to live differently.
So when we wake up and make this du’a, remind ourselves of this person. Be grateful that we’ve been given another chance, and get up with a strong resolve to be better than yesterday. If we have bad habits that have accrued over time, then have that strong conviction that our yesterdays are severed every night – and every morning is a chance to rectify our previous mistakes and start anew.
Realize that the only thing convincing ourselves that we cannot change, that we are forever locked in our bad habits, is our ownselves. And realize that Allah s.w.t. has created our sleep as a means by which we can start fresh again.