Waking up past mid-night (for Nisf el Lail namaz) has many benefits. Medically, it is a proved therapy to fight depression
Sleep is one of the gifts of Nature. Sleep is important for health. Studies vary as to how much sleep is enough. Four-six hours is a requirement for everyone. However, Rasullah (sa) used to sleep very few hours in the night and used part of the night for prayers. Recent studies confirmed that this may actually be healthier for some people.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) helps increase metabolism and, indirectly, our levels of energy. TSH is found 25%-40% lesser in depressed patients. Excess sleep decreases the production of TSH. This new scientific study (International Journal of Islamic Studies, 2004, S.A.) is completely in accordance with the habit o f Rasullah (sa), which was to sleep shortly after Eisha namaz (earlier than we sleep these days), and to wake early for prayers (maybe as early as midnight).
The therapy for depressed patients in Europe is to sleep early (before 9.00pm), wake up after 4 hours, past mid-night (coinciding with Nisf el Lail namaz timing) and then do some normal activity and sleep a bit late, just before sunrise. The therapy lasts for 4 weeks. So, praying Nisf el Lail namaz can help us fight depression and, more importantly, get spiritual benefits.
May Allah give us all the strength to pray Nisf el Lail during the month of Ramazan and earn the joy and blessings.