The world of today idolises the fast life. We’re always in a rush – rarely pausing for a rest, and almost never getting the amount of sleep we truly need. Moreover, people are starting to develop insomnia at early ages. If people knew the sheer power of a good night’s sleep, they’d certainly get more of it. So let’s begin with the benefits of sleep, and then we’ll share with you some effective tips for better sleep, straight from the treasure chest of Ayurveda.
The Power of Sound Sleep
When you sleep better, your body:
- Repairs itself, so that you wake up feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
- Uses its energy to rid itself of toxins, so your body remains clean.
- Maintains sound metabolism, so you have a healthy weight.
- Also keeps a balance in your blood sugar levels.
- Releases sufficient growth hormones, so you can develop well.
- Develops a stronger immune system, so you can fight illnesses better.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
With sound slumber, you are able to:
- Concentrate and be more alert, since your brain functioning improves.
- Grasp as well as remember things more easily, so you become more productive.
- Experience regulated emotions, since your hormone levels become balanced.
- Deal with stress better, because your body secretes lesser stress hormones.
- Have a lower chance of developing mental illnesses like anxiety, depression.
- Be more creative, since the responsible parts of your brain work better.
Ayurveda’s Tips for Better Sleep
As per Ayurveda, sleep problems come from imbalances, and they relate to the 3 doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha. So here, we’ll approach each of the three types.
Vata-related Sleep Difficulties
Even though your body feels tired and sleepy, your mind can’t help but go over the details of the day – remembering and analysing conversations, events and experiences. You recreate all the emotions, and think about the future they might create. This leads to anxiety. Moreover, your sleep is light and restless. And you eventually wake up feeling tired.
How to Go to Sleep When You Can’t:
- Go to bed by 10 p.m. and wake up by 6 a.m.
- Shut off all your gadgets in the evening.
- Eat an early dinner, by 8 p.m.
- Avoid stimulants like coffee and nicotine.
- Eat warm, light and well-cooked meals. Avoid bitter, spicy and processed foods.
- Practice abhangya (self massage) with a vata pacifying oil like sesame oil.
- Meditate and do yoga poses such as savasana.
- Listen to music that calms your mind.
- Maintain a disciplined life. Routine is great for you.
More about this dosha: Understanding Vata Dosha – Air and Space
Pitta-related Sleep Difficulties
You can fall asleep easily. But you happen to wake up, feeling energetic and uneasy. This makes it difficult to fall back asleep. You then end up losing out on the precious hours of sleep. This is often related to elevated emotions such as anger, distress and fear.
How to Sleep Through the Night:
- Go to bed by 10 p.m.
- Keep your bedroom cool in temperature and clutter free.
- Shut off all gadgets after sunset.
- Eat sweet, bitter and astringent foods. Avoid spicy and hot food. Have a large meal in the evening, and maintain constant meal times everyday.
- Avoid too much Sun and heat exposure. Do cooling activities like swimming and walking at dusk.
- Practice abhangya (self massage) with pitta pacifying oils like coconut oil.
- Avoid aggression-provoking activities like watching violent movies.
- Maintain a peaceful lifestyle. Tranquility is great for you.
More about this dosha: Understanding Pitta Dosha – Fire & Water
Kapha-related Sleep Difficulties
You can sleep easily, deeply and for long durations. However, you don’t wake up feeling fresh – you’re quite tired. And this exhaustion lasts throughout your day. Also, you find it difficult to get yourself out of bed, especially in the morning.
Tips for Better Sleep:
- Go to bed slightly after 10 p.m. and ensure that you wake up before 6 a.m.
- Your last meal should be light. Soups and salads are good options.
- Eat light meals. Avoid caffeinated, oily and sweet foods.
- Shut off all gadgets after sunset.
- Bring dynamic and vigorous exercises like running and swimming into your daily routine – it’s best to do them in the evening, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Do not take daytime naps.
- Practice udvartana (massage with soft powders) using powders like triphala and chickpea flour.
- Break your routine. Variety and spontaneousness are great for you.
More about this dosha: Understanding Kapha Dosha – Earth & Water
The Closing Note
Ayurveda takes quite a personalised approach to your specific sleep problem. It’s best to begin with identifying your dosha or the combination of your doshas. Then, follow these tips for better sleep. You’ll soon find that you’re sleeping better and waking up fresher.