In traditional Ayurvedic text, most of the things related to our wellness are hugely impacted by sleep. It regards Nidra (sleep) as one of the three pillars our health depends on. The other two are brahmacharya (energy management) and ahara(food). Not just Ayurveda, sleep is considered one of the essential components for maintaining optimum well-being.
Taking an adequate amount of sleep is essential for ensuring that you maintain a healthy mind and body. It works to rejuvenate the body and mind while guaranteeing proper functioning of the body. It is the reason that sleep is regarded as one of the most potent ways to fight minor problems and imbalance.
One of the essential functions of sleep is to improve ojas or energy - known to be the master coordinator between the body, mind, and soul. As per the Ayurveda, the right combination of quantity and quality is crucial for disconnecting an exhausted mind from the senses. Partial relaxation and disconnection can result in a hampered quality of sleep.
Pervasive sleep deprivation is a renowned reason for dysfunctioning the body - high blood pressure, infections, and obesity. People are already familiar with the potential of a healthy diet and workout; however, they tend to ignore the importance of the most crucial one - sleep. It ends up having drastic effects on the health. Good quality sleep is dependent on body, mind, and physical environment.
Sleep and its relationship with Dosha
Vata - Vata is that dosha that gets depleted quite quickly. Even though these people may crave less sleep, they need to have 8 to 9 hours of sleep at least. Their sleep is characterized by being light and restless with a chance of spacy, abstract and creative dreams. It might involve difficulty sleeping, waking early, grinding teeth, and even sleepwalking. To balance the vata dosha have a routine involving sleeping around 9 to 9:30 pm. Use organic hair oils to massage your scalp on a weekly basis. To make your sleep even better, a comfortable and fluffy bed along with a weighted blanket can do wonders.
Pitta - Such people require 7 to 8 hours of consistent sleep and more relaxation. Being light sleepers, they can fall back to sleep when awakened. However, they can encounter difficulty in sleeping between 10 pm and 2 am. Generally, these people are productive night owls, but sleep impacts their cellular repair to a huge extent. Any imbalance will result in spoiled sleep and waking up feeling irritated and sweaty. In addition, they will experience fiery and realistic dreams. To balance pitta dosha make sure to always sleep before 10 pm and avoid spicy food at dinner. Consider having a foot massage with ghee or coconut oil. Sleep on a firm mattress and with fewer covers.
Kapha - Kaphas experience deep and non-rem sleep and require way less sleep than the others. A 6 to 7 hours sleep is more than sufficient for them even though they might still feel the need for more. They should maintain their sleeping hours between 10 pm to 6 am. Such people often do not experience dreams, cannot recall them, or have dreams related to the past. Taking daytime naps can result in aggravating obesity and metabolic disorders. Imbalanced results in them feeling too sleepy, especially during the daytime. To balance the Kapha dosha, add various vigorous exercises to your daily routine. Add spice to your habits as well as in the diet. For example, have a dry massage or light oil massages with mustard or olive oil.
Other crucial points as per Ayurveda:
1) Have a routine and stick with it consistently as it helps align with the natural rhythms.
2) Add yoga to your routine for treating stress and insomnia.
3) Breathing work and Ujjayi breathing are excellent mediums for promoting better sleep.
4) Taking a light walk outside and watching sunrise and sunset helps reset the biological clock.
5) Meditation helps reduce stress, promotes better sleep, and has numerous scientifically proven advantages.
6) Dinacharya practices such as yoga for eye health, washing eyes, and Nasya are highly recommended to soothe your senses. Avoid digital overload at all costs.
Interestingly, humans can survive without food longer than they can without sleep. Ironically, it is given the least of importance despite it being the most essential for any wellness. Not taking an adequate amount of sleep can hinder your health and appearance to a vast degree. It is why Ayurveda gives such strong attention to proper rest and sleeping patterns.