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Are you binge-watching shows and social media keeping you up late at night? Are you looking for a way to sleep naturally to start your day fresh? As sleep is an essential aspect of our life, ensuring healthy sleep habits can help you avoid several health issues. Researchers have found that blue light emitted by television can interfere with your brain's production of melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
Let's explore the art of natural sleeping in Ayurvedic ways. We'll begin by understanding your sleep cycle, and then we'll learn how to get a good night's sleep.
Sleep is one of the Triads of Health(Traya Upastamba). According to our ancient Acharyas and Ayurvedic science, three pillars of our health are diet, sleep, and celibacy if these three are observed properly and thus the body is supported well, it continues well-endowed with strength, complexion and development. It lasts till the completion of your lifespan provided one abstains from harmful practices.
According to the classical Ayurvedic text, Ashtanga Hridayam, happiness and unhappiness, proper physique and abnormality, strength and debility, sexual prowess and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, and life and death – all depend on sleep. It also mentions Nidra or sleep is one of three pillars of health, alongside eating well and exercising.
In this modern era and in the world of commerce most people are working in shift duties and therefore the lifestyle of the people has changed a lot. Most people work night shifts and sleep during the daytime. Sleeping at improper time causes delusion, fever, lassitude, nasal congestion, headache, dropsy(shoth), oppression in the chest (nausea), obstruction of the tissue pores, and weakness of digestive function, for this fasting, emesis, sudation and nasal, medications are the treatment.
Let's explore the steps to help you achieve natural sleep so you can achieve the health and well-being you desire.
Sleep is a meaningful way to recharge your body and mind. When you sleep, you get rid of daily waste products and toxins. You are also getting a good time to heal and strengthen the body system after daily wear and tear. This allows your body to restore itself and keep going when you wake up. In addition, sleep helps strengthen your hormonal and immune system so that you can fight off diseases and hormonal functions better when they come along.
Sleep is essential because it helps to recharge your energy, known as Ojas in Ayurveda, so that you can be at your best in waking hours.
Although we know a good diet and regular exercise are essential, it is easy to forget the importance of sleep. Your mind, body, and physical environment all play an important role in ensuring that you sleep well.
Your anxiety and emotions can affect the quality of your sleep, so it's important to remember to relax. Yoga and Pranayama or breathing exercises can help you unwind, which is good for your mind and body.
To relax, breathe in deeply for a few seconds, then slowly exhale. Keep repeating this pattern until your heart rate slows down. Your thoughts should also quiet down. The normal breathing pattern can be initially maintained at 1:2 ratio for inspiration:expiration. For example, you can start with 3 counts of inhalation to 6 counts of expiration. Then as you get practiced you can improve it to the counts of 5:10 and above.
We know that sleep and emotional brain function are closely linked. Recent findings show that when people sleep, their brain works to keep their emotions in check. Not getting enough sleep can make you less able to handle your emotions. Sleep deprivation also makes people more likely to develop mood and anxiety disorders and major depression. Ashtang Hridaya, the classical text of Ayurveda mentions that Sleeping at improper times causes delusion, fever, lassitude, nasal catarrh, headache, dropsy, nausea, obstruction of the tissue pores, and weakness of digestive function. However, suppression of sleep may lead to yawning, body ache, drowsiness, head disorders, and heaviness in the eyes. To avoid these symptoms, you should try to rest, sleep and gently press the body for instant relief.
Hence, the first step towards your healthy sleep routine is to process your thoughts well before you go to bed.
If you want to get a good night's sleep, create a restful environment by switching off your cell phone and other electronic devices for at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. These gadgets emit radiation that disturbs your nervous system and interferes with your sleep pattern.
To sleep better, keep your surroundings cool and clean, and avoid a cluttered or overly bright environment. A quiet and dark environment can help you achieve quality sleep.
If you have experienced an irregular sleep cycle, it is likely that one or more of these elements are out of alignment. Try to set the right environment for your sleep as a part of your sleep routine.
According to Ayurveda, sleeping on your left side is beneficial as it enhances blood circulation and improves cardiac and digestive functioning. It allows you to breathe deeply, and your body functions improve, resulting in restful sleep.
Also, sleeping after a hectic day can make you snore. Snoring is a sign of poor sleep and can be improved by sleeping on your side. Sleeping on one's back or stomach can lead to snoring. Avoid this by sleeping on your side.
Having a good evening routine helps you relax, so you sleep better and wake up refreshed. To create a good evening routine, try exercising for 20 minutes, eating light foods, eating dinner early, listening to soothing music, and staying away from electronic devices.
Massaging your hands and feet and using aromatherapy for bedtime can set an excellent routine for quality sleep.
Sleep imbalances are classified in Ayurveda according to your doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. There are three major types of sleep disturbances—one for each dosha and these doshas can also influence our sleep preferences and habits. Acharya Sushruta mentions that sleeping late hours at night produces complications due to Vata and Pitta.
If you want to sleep better, it's essential to learn about how each of the three doshas influences your sleep habits. Notice what imbalances affect your sleep patterns, and then look for ways to create balance.
To learn more about your Prakruti and doshas, read Ayurvedic body types.
The 3 Ayurvedic constitutional types or Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – are responsible for homeostasis. The doshas are bio-energy componenes expressed as the physiological functions, including sleep. According to the Ayurvedic texts, sleep is caused by increased Kapha and insomnia by increased Vata or Pitta, which may follow physical or mental exertion, or disease.
Here’s how the doshas generally affect sleep.
All of us have unique sleep patterns influenced by our doshas. Ayurveda can help us learn to recognize tendencies and vulnerabilities, allowing us to take steps toward better sleep.
Ayurvedic herbs may help you sleep better. Ashwagandha, Brahmi, and Jatamansi are examples of such herbs.
Bed time practice of oil application on feet helps in soothing the nerves as well as reducing the anxiety as it improves peripheral circulation.
Going to bed is the easiest thing to do, but getting sound sleep is tough. There are a lot of external factors disrupting our sleep, and it's hard to focus on your sleeping habits. There are steps you can take to get better sleep, but you need to start following them. If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips; include a healthy sleep routine to start every day fresh.
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