The science of Ayurveda is not just concerned with cure of illnesses, but its aim is to eradicate different types of miseries that confront us – physical, mental, spiritual, and intellectual. Therefore Ayurveda has specific guidelines for eating, drinking, and even sleeping. In this article, we will share a few Ayurveda sleep guidelines to help you sleep better.
In Vagbhata’s Astanga Hridayam, there are three supportive pillars of Ayurveda, known as Trayopasthambas:
- Balanced Diet (Ahara)
- Sleep (Nidra)
- Abstinence (Brahmacharya)
Sleep is an essential factor in leading a healthy life. One third of a person’s life is spent in sleeping. According to Ayurveda, quality sleep can prevent many illnesses. Acharya Charak, one of the renowned ancient gurus of Ayurveda, stated that proper sleep is associated with strength, knowledge, potency, and happiness. Acharya also stated that sleep caused by the nature of night is the best and described it as Bhutadatri, meaning it takes care of us just like a mother. Not sleeping for sufficient hours at night, excessive sleeping, and sleeping during daytime are all signs of improper nidra. Suppressing the urge to sleep can lead to drowsiness, excessive yawning, body pain, headaches, and heaviness in eyes.
Ayurveda Sleep Guidelines
1) Sleep by 10PM and Rise by 6AM
Ayurvedic solution to insomnia involves going to bed before 10PM and waking up at 6AM, ie, minutes before sunrise. 10PM marks the beginning of Pitta Kala, the fiery dosha. Pitta Kala stimulates our mind and it becomes more and more difficult to sleep. On the other hand, by waking up at 6AM, you are charged with the qualities of rajas, associated with activity and movement.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, practice meditation. Even five minutes of meditation can help us in preparing our body for sleep. Do a mental body scan and fill your mind with positive affirmations to calm your body. Even better is the practice of Pranayama, the ancient science of breath control.
3) Dinner at 8PM
Have your dinner at 8PM, giving your body enough time to digest the food you just ate. Consuming a heavy meal right before bed can lead to disturbed sleep and you may also wake up in the middle of the night feeling heavy.
4) Have a Warm Glass of Milk
Have a glass of warm milk half hour before going to bed. Add some honey into your milk as studies have proven a link between honey and proper quality of sleep.
5) Physical Activity
Be physically active throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you have to do a rigorous workout. Just take small measures to ensure your body is getting regular exercise. Take stairs instead of elevators, go for a brisk walk in the evening and if your work place is closer to home, cycle to work instead of driving. And if you’re a fan of yoga, practice it regularly. Here are some specific yoga asanas which you can practice to help you sleep better.
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to our physical and mental well-being. Hence we should never underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Follow these Ayurveda sleep guidelines and lead a more joyful and peaceful life.