Apart from fasting, prayers and pujas, not sleeping on the night of Shivaratri is also of great religious importance. Important pujas and rituals associated with Shivratri are held at night this is because Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared at midnight in the form of Jyotirlinga or the pillar of fire.
Another popular legend indicates that during the Churning of Ocean, Lord Shiva drank the Kalakuta Visham (poison) to save the mankind. Goddess Parvati is believed to have caught Lord Shiva’s neck and pressed it so that the poison does not spread. She stayed awake during the night doing so.
The popular belief is that staying awake and chanting the Panchashari mantra – Om Namah Shivaya – will help in redemption of sins and in attaining moksha.
Mahshivratri night is for contemplation and meditation. Meditating on Shiva who is the energy in each cell. It is his energy that is present in all animate and inanimate. When this is understood – there is equality; when this is realized there is no ego, no anger, no jealousy. And when it is practiced you escape from the pain of death.