To the Reverend Rabbi: Is it true that before bedtime, reading the Shema Israel and Hamapil together are 100% effective for having a great night’s sleep and getting rid off all nightmares and bad spirits? thank you for your attention.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The command to say the bedtime Shema and the accompanying blessing of HaMapil certainly are a great source of blessing and connection to G-d. However, like all mitzvot, the purpose of them is not purely for our own personal benefit. There is no guarantee that doing any mitzvah will be answered directly by G-d in the form of immediate benefit in this world. Every mitzvah connects us, and the whole of creation, to G-d and thus brings holiness to the world – but this holiness is not always expressed in physical benefits that we, as limited people, can grasp immediately. That being so, a person who has problems sleeping, and bad dreams, should say Shema (as every Jew should) before going to sleep at night. This mitzvah will certainly be of a benefit. But one should be wary of believing the commands are some form of a vending machine that gives physical results according to demand. Rather, as one rises up in levels of holiness, they will be blessed, please G-d, with only good, for them and for all the world. May you continue to grow in performing all the commands, and also be blessed with every blessing in the physical and spiritual. May your sleep be calm, and your dreams filled with holiness.