How we are sleeping? What is our sleeping pattern? Do we just give it a thought?
Ayurveda states that sleep, alongside proper diet, and the wise use of energy, is one of the most important ways to stay healthy.
Cultivating solid and satisfying sleep is something we are all craving. And we all have had those days in the middle of the week we wish we could stay in bed for just a few more hours. But the biggest disappointment lies in the fact that yet, we still struggle with sleep.
Sleep is when all the good stuff happens in our bodies. Sleep is the time for the body and mind reset, detoxify, and rejuvenate. Sleep allows for our memory and creativity to grow and restore. Sleep helps us rebooting ourselves. Good sleep helps us in getting refreshed.
After, we are bombarded with a full day getting input from all directions, going to work, caring for our families and needs, numerous thoughts, feeding ourselves, , checking our social accounts, refreshing our facebook feeds, watching the most viewed videos, trying get updated of what is happening around the world …we can be left feeling burnt ,crashed, fatigued, exhausted, depleted, done.
So what happens when we are not able to take proper sleep? What happens when we stay awake staring at the ceiling for hours or seeps into the thoughts ,wake up at 3am and can’t go back to sleep.
We are here to offer you some ideas on nightly self-care. Perhaps some you know, perhaps some you need, perhaps some you forgot, and perhaps one will make you feel that you should do it. Ayurveda offers a refreshingly simple and practical approach to balancing sleep cycles.
Here are some practical Ayurveda-inspired health principles that will help you snooze better, boosting your immunity and enabling you to be a more empowered participant in your life:
1. Take warm shower
Warm shower or hot bath calm your nervous system, releases tension from your body, and quiet the mind.
2. Massage Feet and Scalp
Warm the massage oil to and make it lukewarm. Take a spoonful of oil, and rub it into the soles of your feet, and then put on socks. Pour a tablespoon of oil on your head and lightly massage oil in a circular motion. Then cover your head with a piece of cloth or towel on your pillow to protect your linens.
3. Practice calm
You can also download a calming meditation app and practice a 10-minute guided breathing meditation to calm down your senses.
4. Turn off the lighting around on time
When the sun goes down, start doing preparations of falling asleep. Turn off your extra lights and engage in activities that are relaxing, instead of stimulating. Avoid answering phones or emails or involving yourself in stressful conversations or phone calls.
5. Be a consistent eater
Studies show inconsistent eating habits later in the day can negatively affect sleep. Consistency is key .
6. Respect your biorhythms
Ayurveda divides the 24 hour day into six four-hour cycles.
2:00-6:00 a.m. – Vata Time 6:00-10:00 a.m. – Kapha Time 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Pitta Time 2:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m. – Vata Time 6:00-10:00 p.m. – Kapha Time 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. – Pitta Time
In terms of sleep, it’s important to rise towards the end of Vata time (2:00-6:00 a.m.), before Kapha time begins (6:00-10:00 a.m.).The reason for this is that Kapha is a slow, heavy, often lethargic kind of energy. Sleeping into this time of morning will not result in a rested kind of sleep. It will set you up for feeling groggy throughout the day, even though you may have slept more hours.
Even more important is getting to bed Before Pitta time (10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.). During the evening Pitta hours, the body wakes up and the organs start doing their work, repairing, regenerating, digesting, etc. The liver is especially active at this time. This energy will wake us up and keep us up (i.e. getting your second wind).This time period is the most critical in terms of sleep. Sleeping from 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. will do more for your health than sleeping during any other period.
Preceding evening Pitta time is Kapha time (6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.). Just like the slow energy in the morning, we experience it in the early evening hours..
7. Mindful eating: Eat your largest meal at noon and keep supper light and early (preferably 5:00-6:00).
Pitta dosha rules digestion and metabolism, so eating during the Pitta hours of the day – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) will help the body immensely. It’s best to eat your dinner by 6:30-7pm because as the sun begins to set, our digestive fire cools. Eating early, preferably a light meal in the evening , helps with digestion, which impacts the quality of sleep.
8. Learn to Meditate
Just like we have a sleep state, a waking state, and a dream state, we also have a meditative state. It really is as important as all of the others .Do yourself a favor by learning how to meditate. Just ten minutes, will change your life and help your sleep immensely. Meditating during 2.00 a.m. to 6.00a.m. in the morning will often result in falling into the sleep you can imagine.
9. Turn off the lights and all gadgets at least an hour before bedtime
The light really mess with us and makes it hard for us to fall asleep. Light some candles, take a bath, listen to calming music. It’s far better.
10. Learn how to do Ayurvedic self-massage (abhyanga)
This is also one of the effective way of getting sleep. This is called as abhyanga.
11. Use herbal remedies to help with the transition
Herbal remedies are food and can help us immensely in getting the sleep, especially in the beginning.