Will We Sleep in Heaven?
Whether or not we will sleep in heaven is a question that many Christians ponder. The Bible does not definitively state whether sleep will be necessary in heaven, but it provides some clues that can help us think through this issue.
As we explore what Scripture says about the nature of our resurrected bodies and the activities we will engage in for eternity, we can develop an informed perspective on whether sleep will be part of our experience in heaven.
The Nature of Our Resurrected Bodies
To understand whether we will sleep in heaven, we must first consider the nature of our resurrected bodies. The Bible indicates that when Christ returns, believers will be resurrected and given glorified, immortal bodies.
In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, the apostle Paul writes:
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
Here Paul contrasts our current earthly bodies with our future resurrected bodies. He states that while our current bodies are weak and perishable, our resurrected bodies will be immortal – no longer subject to disease, decay or death. The implication seems to be that many of the limitations we now experience, including the need for sleep, will be absent in our resurrected state.
Christ’s Resurrected Body as a Model
The Bible presents Christ’s resurrected body as a prototype for our future bodies. After His resurrection, Jesus manifested His body and ate food, yet could also enter rooms without opening doors (John 20:19, 26; Acts 1:3). His body had flesh and bones, but was no longer subject to the limitations of a mortal body (Luke 24:39).
Just as Christ’s resurrected body transcended mortal limitations, so will our immortal resurrected bodies be transformed to no longer require natural sustenance like food or sleep.
The Nature of Life in Heaven
To further understand whether we will sleep in heaven, we should also consider the nature of life in heaven described in scripture. The Bible indicates that life in heaven will be marked by dynamic worship, service, and exploration – activities that are not characterized by sleep.
The book of Revelation depicts worship as a key activity in heaven, occurring ceaselessly around God’s throne. The angels offer God unending praise (Revelation 4:8). The 24 elders prostrate themselves before Him, casting their crowns before the throne (Revelation 4:10).
The multitudes of heaven worship day and night, singing worthy songs to the Lamb (Revelation 4:11; 5:12-13). This continuous worship seems incongruous with the notion of us regularly sleeping in heaven.
The Bible also indicates that there will be meaningful service in the afterlife. For example, Paul states that “Well done, good and faithful servant” will be our reward in heaven (Matthew 25:23).
Christ spoke of treasure being stored up in heaven through godly acts on earth (Matthew 6:20). Such verses imply our earthly service has eternal implications, likely involving further active service. Sleep does not seem very compatible with the dynamic, active worship and service described as characterizing heavenly life.
Exploration and Discovery
Experiencing and learning about God’s vast creation likely will be part of our heavenly experience. Biblically, the expanse and grandeur of creation are presented as testifying to God’s glory and divine nature (Psalm 19:1).
The psalmist aspired to know God and see Him in His sanctuary – presumably in heaven (Psalm 63:1-2). Such exploration and discovery seem incongruous with the thought of regular sleep.
Will There Be Night and Day in Heaven?
Some argue that if there are days and nights in heaven, then sleep could be part of our heavenly routine. However, references to days in heaven in scripture seem metaphorical rather than literal. Revelation 21 describes the glory of the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (v.2), stating:
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. (Revelation 21:23-25)
Here the day is meant figuratively, contrasting with the “night” of earthly evil and suffering that will be absent in heaven. Since night as a literal period of darkness does not exist in heaven, this casts doubt on whether literal days and nights occur there either. Without literal days, regular sleep would not seem necessary.
Will Time Exist in Heaven?
Related to the idea of days and nights, some argue that time itself may function differently in heaven in a way that precludes the need for sleep. In 2 Peter 3:8, a day is compared to a thousand years from God’s timeless perspective:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
Psalm 90:4 makes a similar point:
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
These verses imply our limited, time-bound human perspective will be transcended with God. No longer constrained by time, sleep may not have the same relevance.
Will We Experience Fatigue in Heaven?
Others argue that we may still sleep in heaven if our resurrected bodies continue to experience physical fatigue. While Christ’s resurrected body clearly had physical properties, no biblical examples depict Him experiencing fatigue or needing sleep.
1 Corinthians 15:43 describes our resurrected bodies as being raised in power – implying a state beyond fatigue or mortal constraints. So Scripture seems to suggest that fatigue and sleep will not carry over as needs into our resurrected state.
What Did Jesus Say About Heaven?
While not directly addressing sleep, Jesus’ teachings on the afterlife give clues about the nature of heavenly life that rule out the necessity of sleep. In the resurrection, Jesus said we will be like the angels – whose unceasing heavenly worship implies no need for sleep (Matthew 22:30).
He spoke of the faithful being rewarded in heaven with “eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9), where thieves cannot steal and moths cannot destroy (Luke 12:33) – suggesting undisturbed rest of a deeper kind than earthly sleep. Christ promised we would bear fruit that lasts in heaven – an active rather than sleepy existence (John 15:16). So Jesus’ own teachings strongly imply vibrant heavenly activity incompatible with regular sleep.
Conclusion: Our Coming Wakefulness in Heaven
In conclusion, while the Bible does not definitively state whether we will sleep in heaven, a synthesis of scriptural evidence suggests we will not require regular sleep in our resurrected state.
Our immortal bodies will transcend mortal limitations. Life in heaven is characterized by dynamic worship, service, and exploration – not rest or inactivity. The biblical imagery of day and night seems metaphorical, implying a different experience of time.
And Jesus’ teachings describe active heavenly rewards, not mundane routines like sleep. Our coming perfect rest is deeper than sleep – it means freedom from all weariness, pain and suffering.
The Christian hope is for eternal wakefulness in God’s renewing presence – not endless sleep, but endless joy. While specifics await revelation, our future heavenly existence will surely surpass our most astounding earthly expectations.
The Joyful Hope of Heaven
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
The hope of heaven brings joyful anticipation of an eternity spent flourishing in a relationship with God. While many questions remain unanswered on this side of eternity, we can be confident from scripture that heaven will be a state of glorious, unhindered life.
There we will worship Christ face-to-face, explore the new creation with new bodies, and find eternal purpose in activities that reflect His light into all corners of His kingdom. The joyful sounds of praise will never cease. May this breathtaking hope inspire us to live each day full of meaning, purpose, and love for the Lord.