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Sleep

mum-and-baby-tucked-in-bed-after-abyunga--w248h116It becomes more and more obvious, as one delves into ayurveda, that life was designed for perfection and that if we as humans simply live life in accord with the laws of nature that uphold health, and we live in accord with the natural rhythms of the body, there is no reason we cannot be perfectly healthy all the time. For instance, when the body starts to feel tired in the evening around 8:30 or 9:00 as melatonin starts being secreted to put us to sleep, if we just say: Oh, I’m sleepy. My body wants me to go to bed now. If we just go to bed and get a few hours of good sleep, the immune system will stay strong and we Find-a-Practitioner--w248h44 wake up feeling fresher and looking younger, with better mental clarity the next day.

In Ayurveda 7-8 hours uninterrupted sleep is considered healthy.

Insomnia

Insomnia can be experienced as difficulty getting to sleep or waking often through the night or both. It is generally due to imbalanced Vata but sometimes it is associated with imbalanced Pitta. Sleep is a natural function and is essential for us to recover from the fatigue of the day. Therefore it is not necessary to try to fall asleep – in fact the more we try to fall asleep the less likely it is that sleep comes.

What is necessary is to reduce the excess Vata and automatically you will fall asleep at the appropriate time.

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To correct the underlying imbalance, it is recommended to avoid:

  • daytime sleep
  • irregular or rushed lifestyle
  • mental stimulation in the evening especially in the hour before bed – i.e. computer work, work related activities, problem solving or thriller movies.
  • exercise in the evening apart from a stroll after dinner
  • work related activities, watching TM or studying in your bedroom
  • restraining or forcing natural urges
  • strenuous exercise or excess sexual activity
  • cold, dry or raw foods
  • fat reduced diet
  • hot spicy, bitter and astringent foods (chick peas etc)
  • root vegetables except carrots

and to favour:

  • regular practice of Transcendental Meditaion to reduce anxiety
  • daily oil massage especially before bed
  • regular unrushed routine
  • yoga asanas
  • calming aromas
  • warm, freshly cooked, organic food
  • sweet, juicy fruits including raisins and dates
  • almonds and walnuts
  • warm milk and ghee with a pinch of nutmeg before bed
  • herbal food supplements that are calming and that enhance resistance to stress
  • essential oils like lavender and chamomile to settle the mind before bed

For more see also these pages:
What is my imbalance? Transcendental Meditation

Do the Dosha Quiz to discover which dosha you need to balance.

Watch a video Dr Don Brennan speaks about sleep, vitality and energy.

Difficulty getting to sleep (2.35mins)

Waking in the middle of the night(2.14mins)

Wake feeling tired and depressed (2.11mins)

Please note: This ayurvedic information is education. It does not replace medical advice or treatments.
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