For the Christian who centers his or her day on God, the last act before sleeping is Night Prayer. When we were children our parents called it Bedtime Prayer.
Through Night Prayer we dedicate the time we normally sleep to God. Also, we remind ourselves that one day we will die and rise, just as Jesus did. We entrust this time of unconsciousness to Him. As Psalm 15 says, "I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, who even at night directs my heart." Many holy men and women have learned God's Will at night through dreams and visions. St. Joseph, for example, was assured that it would be okay for him to take Mary as his wife. He also learned that he should leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus.
Examination of Conscience
Part of Night Prayer is a brief examination of conscience, a silent time for reviewing the day. This is to recall the times one did not live up to God's commandments, God's standards for good Christian conduct. As penitents we consider our faults and failings so as to make amends. We express our sorrow to God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. I posted one version of an examination of conscience here. There are other ways of doing it.
Scripture Readings from Liturgy of the Hours
The main feature of all the hours of the Liturgy are the psalms. This is true of Night Prayer as well. Besides the psalms there is a weekly cycle of seven short scripture readings for Night Prayer that consist of just a few verses.
I am presenting them here, because, for those who don't do the Liturgy of the Hours, these are well worth reading and meditating upon before going to sleep.
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
They shall see the Lord face to face and bear his name on their foreheads. The night shall be no more. They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever. (Revelation 22:4-5)
God has destined us for acquiring salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, that all of us, whether awake or asleep, together might live with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith. (1 Peter 5:8a)
If you are angry, let it be without sin. the sun must not go down on your wrath; do not give the devil a chance to work on you. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May he preserve you whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body, irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
You are in our midst, O Lord, your name we bear: do not forsake us, O Lord, our God!(
Conclusion of Night Prayer
Every Night Prayer ends with a little blessing and a prayer in honor of Mary.
May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death. Amen
Prayer in Honor of Mary
The Hail Mary (Ave Maria) or the Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina) are commonly prayed as the final prayers.