Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

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Now I lay me down to sleep is a classic children's bedtime prayer from the 18th century.

Lyrics[edit]

Perhaps the earliest version was written by Joseph Addison in an essay appearing in The Spectator on March 8, 1711. It says:

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his care;
when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction.

A later version printed in The New England Primer goes:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

Other versions[edit]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
His Love to guard me through the night,
And wake me in the morning's light.[1]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning's light.[1]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
Bless me Lord my soul to take.[1]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Angels watch me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen[2]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Guide me through the starry night,
Wake me when the sun shines bright.
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Guide me safely through the night,
Wake me with the morning light.
Amen

(Additional third verse)
If I should live another day
I pray the Lord to guide my way.
Amen

Use in popular culture[edit]

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep - Infant Remembrance Photography Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Infant Remembrance Photography] is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that offers complimentary remembrance photography to families suffering the death of an infant.

  • Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle open their classic Chicago House track "Baby Wants to Ride" with the first part of this prayer.[3]
  • Sky Ferreira paraphrases the lyric as "and laid awake,/Pray the Lord my soul to take" in her song "Sad Dream"[4]
  • Kid Cudi paraphrases the lyric as "And if I die before I wake,/I pray the Lord my soul to take" in his song "The Prayer"[5]
  • Metallica paraphrases the lyric as "Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the lord my soul to keep/And if I die before I wake/Pray the lord my soul to take" in their song "Enter Sandman"[6]
  • Megadeth paraphrases the lyric as "And if I die before I wake/Pray the lord my soul to take" in their song "Go To Hell"[7]
  • Aloe Blacc paraphrases the lyric as " And Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep/And if I die before I wake/there must be a mistake, Lord take me back" in his song "Take Me Back"[8]
  • TobyMac paraphrases the lyric as "If I should die before I wake/I pray the Lord my soul to take/And if I should get a peaceful sleep/I wanna wake at my Father's feet" in his song "Captured"[9]
  • The Civil Wars paraphrase the lyric as "Still can't lay me down to sleep/If I die before I wake/I know the Lord my soul won't take" in their song Barton Hollow.[10]
  • In the 1984 slasher movie A Nightmare on Elm Street Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, cites the prayer before she goes to sleep to confront her enemy Freddy Krueger in her dreams.
  • A little girl recites the prayer to keep herself safe from the monster she sees in the 1986 slasher movie Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
  • Sir Psycho Sexy by Red Hot Chili Peppers uses an alternate version of the rhyme.[11]
  • Christina Aguilera paraphrases the lyrics as "Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray we'll meet inside my dreams/If I should go before I wake/I pray our souls will join again" in her song "Little Dreamer". [12]
  • In Michael Grant's book, "Plague", Dekka recites this prayer with Hunter in his last moments before Sam euthanises him with a deadly beam of light because of the "greenies", parasites which were eating Hunter alive.
  • Snoop Dogg samples the whole prayer in his song "Murder Was the Case" from his debut album, Doggystyle.[13]
  • HIM paraphrases the lyrics with some different words in their song "Buried Alive By Love, "If I should die before I wake/Pray no one my soul to take/If I wake before I die,/Rescue me with your smile" from their album Love Metal.[14]

References[edit]