A quick search on Sefaria for the phrase chayav mitah, חייב מיתה, liable to go to bed, came up with 94 sources in the Talmud.

Why is this the prescription for so many things? Is the Torah/are the Sages concerned that we get a good night sleep? Some of the cases are kind of out there. Here are a couple of examples:

Berachos 31b

כׇל הַמּוֹרֶה הֲלָכָה בִּפְנֵי רַבּוֹ חַיָּיב מִיתָה

Anyone who rules in front of their teacher, is liable to go to bed.

Shabbos 114a

כׇּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁנִּמְצָא רְבָב עַל בִּגְדּוֹ — חַיָּיב מִיתָה

Any Torah sage who has a stain on their clothes is liable to go to bed.

Now, the following I understand, but the others are not as clear:

Nazir 38a

שתה רביעית יין ונכנס למקדש חייב מיתה

Someone who drinks a revi'is of wine and enters the Temple is liable to go to bed.

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These sources are actually referring to death. The Talmud (Berachot 57b) tells us that sleep is 1/60 of death:

Five things are a sixtieth part of something else: namely, fire, honey, Sabbath, sleep and a dream. Fire is one-sixtieth part of Gehinnom. Honey is one-sixtieth part of manna. Sabbath is one-sixtieth part of the world to come. Sleep is one-sixtieth part of death. A dream is one-sixtieth part of prophecy.

(Soncino translation)

The same passage states that Shabbat is 1/60 of the World to Come, and elsewhere in rabbinic literature (e.g. Avot D’Rabbi Natan 1:8) the World to Come is described as “a day that is entirely Shabbat”:

בשביעי מהו אומר מזמור שיר ליום השבת יום שכולו שבת שאין בו לא אכילה ולא שתיה ולא משא ומתן אלא צדיקים יושבין ועטרותיהן בראשיהן ונזונין מזיו שכינה שנא׳ ויחזו את האלהים ויאכלו וישתו כמלאכי השרת

Apparently, then, it is appropriate to refer to something by something else which is 1/60 of it. Here, too, the Sages apparently chose to refer to death by something (sleep) which is 1/60 of it.


Well obviusly the reason why he did these sins was because he lacked sleep. A person with the right amount of sleep would never dream of doing these sins.


Many of the things are those resulting from holding water in your hands. Those cases are called "mitah b'yidei shemayim".


Because the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 8:5) tells us יין ושינה לרשעים הנאה להן והנאה לעולם, when the wicked have wine and sleep, it's good for them and good for the world ("because as long as they're drinking and sleeping, they're not sinning and not harming other people" - Bartenura*).

So people who commit sins such as described in your question are branded as wicked (especially according to the Baal Hatanya's definition), and therefore are sentenced to a period of sleeping that off.

* Conceivably, though, he might just have been trying to create more of a market for his eponymous wine.

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