The Benefits of Sleep
Sleep is one of the three pillars, that form the foundation of high level health. The other two, Proper Food, and Energy Expenditure will be discussed in further articles.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of sleep and how we can create routines to support ourselves in this area. Proper rest is essential for well being. The body utilizes sleep as an opportunity to heal and repair the damage done while we are awake. The quantity, quality and regularity of sleep is important. Too much or too little sleep will negatively impact the quality of your daily energy.
Let’s face it most of us are sleep deprived due to the demands of modern living. Did you know that adults need 8 hours sleep nightly and that babies and teenagers need more? Inadequate sleep over a long period of time, reduces the body’s immune system and increases the inflammatory response. Oh, and let’s not forget, the constant fatigue and mental fog. The good news however, is that adequate sleep, about 8 hours nightly increases, IQ, reduces the inflammatory response, increases immunity, and makes you look and feel amazing.
In previous, articles, I said that each dosha comes with its own unique gifts and challenges. The goal of Ayurveda is to pacify and reduce the imbalances, bringing each of us closer to our healthy selves. This fundamental concept is profoundly empowering. What we do daily will either aggravate or reduce a condition.
Let’s look at how each dosha is affected.
Vata dosha tend to be light sleepers, who are sensitive to noise. They awaken easily, most often between the hours of 2-4am and have difficulty falling back to sleep. When they do its usually between 5-6am and then they tend to oversleep. They wake up tired and use coffee and energy drinks to keep them going throughout the day. Too little sleep increases the light, mobile qualities of Vata dosha. The effects can be, weaker tissues/body, an aggravated nervous system, and a lowered immunity.
Pitta types tend to be good sleepers unless they have too much on their minds and stay up late working on projects. They feel their most productive or get a second wind late into the evening and early morning. This tendency to stay up late causes them to burn out, becoming overly intense, grumpy, and possibly angry. When they do get to bed, they toss and turn, reviewing the things they haven’t done or need to do. This aggravates their already hot, light, mobile qualities.
Kapha dosha tends towards too much sleep. They have difficulty waking up and moving. If they didn’t need to get up early, they would likely sleep in until 9-10am. Upon waking, they may feel sluggish and reach for coffee to get going. Excess sleep increases their heavy, static qualities.
Creating routines conducive to sleep
- Commit to a regular bedtime, meaning lights out between 10-11pm.
- Wake early. Kapha by 6am. Vata and pitta by 7am.
- Eat your dinner at least three hours before bedtime. The body does internal cleansing during sleep.
- Disconnect from all electronic media (TV, computers, phone, iPad etc.) a few hours before bedtime.
- Switch off the lights and burn some candles for a softer environment.
- Burn essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea or a cup of warm milk with 1/2 tsp of fresh nutmeg and honey.
- Do Abhyanga followed by a warm bath. Pay special attention to oiling the feet and scalp.
- Jump into bed with a good book.
Doesn’t that sound great? Sweet Dreams!