Ayurveda is an ancient Indian complex of knowledge and practical recommendations about health and longevity. Ayurveda is the science of life. It includes various means and methods (therapeutic, preventive, hygienic) that contribute to physical, mental and spiritual health person. The undoubted and most valuable advantage of Ayurveda is a comprehensive approach to the health and lifestyle of a person. Each person is unique, and his needs, including in his sleep, are strictly individual. According to Ayurveda, everything in a person is subject to the balance and harmony of the three basic physiological principles, which are called doshas. It is the doshas that regulate the various functions of the mind and body. It is the communication and interaction in a man of these primary vital forces that have a profound effect on our health and longevity. Doshes interact in our body, move, changing in strength and direction, but their dynamic balance is very important because the imbalance of doshas leads to diseases. In Sanskrit, these three doshas are called Vata (Air and Ether), Pitta (Fire and Water) and Kapha (Water and Earth). In accordance with the predominance of one or another element, each person belongs to the Vata, Pitta or Kapha type, the types have their own individual distinctive behavioral characteristics, physical characteristics, health, and appearance. To determine the dosha, you can use a variety of techniques, from tests on the Internet to referring to specialists and special literature. Ayurveda, in accordance with a certain type of dosha, gives specific recommendations on diet, on the quantity and quality of food and fluid consumed, and on the whole on adjusting one’s lifestyle to improve physical health and emotional state. Naturally, there are Ayurvedic recommendations related to sleep, as an important part of well-being and longevity. Vata-type people are prone to light, restless sleep, which can vary greatly in quality and does not last long (4-6 hours at night). For recovery, they need at least 8 hours of sleep and may sleep during the day. These people need the most rest, as their energy is most quickly out of balance. It is better to sleep in warmth. Pitta-type people usually fall asleep easily, sleep tightly and wake up fresh. They need to sleep 6-8 hours. They can feel great after spending a few nights without sleep. Kapha-type people sleep as if they were killed, they can sleep for a long time, much longer than eight hours, while waking up fresh. They rarely have trouble sleeping. However, an excess of sleep in them can lead to heaviness in the head and other problems, since Kapha has a lot of laziness inherent to her (water and earth when combined give a viscous substance, right?), It is useful for them to reduce the sleep time to 6-7 hours and get up before sunrise. It is better to sleep in Spartan conditions. It is interesting that in childhood Kapha prevails, while Vata increases with age. Therefore, it is useful for children to sleep properly and for a long time, while old people need less sleep at night.
- The teaching of the three doshas helps to understand the nature of sleep problems
- Rules for healthy sleep
- Wake up time
- How to get up after sleep
- Some practical recommendations for easier falling asleep
- Briefly about the right awakening
- Recommendations for men
- Recommendations for women
- Let us cite some excerpts from the classic text of the «Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṁhitā»
The teaching of the three doshas helps to understand the nature of sleep problems
- Excess energy of Vata leads to the fact that insomnia begins, after which a person feels tired and broken.
- Excess Pitta does not allow to sleep because of the cycle of endless thoughts in a person’s head. Either sudden wakes due to severe pain or excessive sweating prevent normal sleep.
- The excess energy of Kapha indicates difficult waking and constant yawning.
Rules for healthy sleep
Ayurveda divides the day into six 4-hour periods:
- 6: 00-10: 00 and 18: 00-22: 00 – Kapha time
- 10: 00-14: 00 and 22: 00-2: 00 – Pitta time
- 14: 00-18: 00 and 2: 00-6: 00 – Vata time
t is recommended to fall asleep until 10 pm. At this time, the time of Kapha ends, the laziest time. After it comes Pitta time, and if you are in a dream by this time, then the dream will be deep, often with vivid dreams. If you go to bed after 10 in the evening, this is clearly an active time and sleep will not go so smoothly. If you do not go to bed before 2 am, then it will be quite the wrong time. Vata time is very nervous. Every hour of sleep that comes before 24:00 is counted as two. It was at this time that the nervous system rests in the best possible way and such a complete rest saves us from the mass of diseases associated with its exhaustion. Lack of sleep at night leads to apathy, laziness, daytime sleepiness, and a decrease in physical, mental and social activity. In Ayurveda, body position during sleep is also considered important. It recommends that you sleep with your head to the east, for the development of spiritual inclinations. Those who sleep with their heads to the north develop inclinations and a desire to dominate. Sleep heading south indulges sensual pleasures. And those who sleep with their heads north develop their speculative inclinations.
Wake up time
It is also better to wake up at the right time. The perfect time is until 6 in the morning, Vata dominates at this time, it is this energy that gives us lightness, vigor, activity, and cheerfulness, this is the best time to wake up. During this period, the body is tuned to active daily activities. If the time of awakening occurs later than 6 am, then each subsequent hour of sleep adds to fatigue and overwork, and, as a result, illness and loss of strength. This is the best time for self-awareness and self-improvement. No wonder this is the time of the morning services in the temples. All nature wakes up and experiences happiness and man along with her. This period of time is priceless and irreplaceable in no other way. Ayurveda believes that half an hour before sunrise, the sun sends special rays that permeate the atmosphere and give special energy to the human body. This was also confirmed by Japanese physicians, who recorded that twenty minutes before sunrise, the entire biochemistry of the body changed dramatically. Even the blood changes its composition.
How to get up after sleep
- If the right nostril is working, we should get up with the right leg, if left, then with the left.
- Get up immediately, without any hesitation, not to lie in bed for a single extra minute.
- Drink a glass of cold boiled water to increase intestinal activity. There is no need to emphasize the importance of regular bowel movements.
- Brush your teeth. Try to find savory pasta, as you need a salty, bitter or astringent taste at this time.
- Take a shower, as without a full ablution a person continues to sleep on the way.
Ayurveda does not recommend washing with soap, because soap destroys and defats the skin. Instead of soap, you can prepare yourself a simple and affordable tool – a mixture of flour, vegetable oil, and turmeric. This mixture acts just like soap and is much healthier for the skin. If you use this mixture regularly, your skin will remain elastic until the old age.
Some practical recommendations for easier falling asleep
- Air and clean the bedroom
- Eliminate mental work, TV and Internet battles in the evening.
- You can take a warm bath.
- Drink warm milk with a pinch of cardamom nutmeg or with honey.
- Light oil massage helps to relax, at least a foot massage.
- For a quick sleep, you can try the countdown, from 200 to 1.
- Try reading a boring book, it will be easier for your brain to fall asleep than to go into this information.
- Calm music, classical or spiritual, helps set the brain to sleep.
Briefly about the right awakening
The best time to wake up is considered to be 4 am, because as you get up from 2 to 6 am you get cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and lightness. The time before the sun rises is considered the time of the saints; therefore, pure people strive for an early rise, for it is more sinful to sleep for a long time. The time from 4 to 6 am is an ideal time for meditation, concentration, self-improvement, comprehension, and adjustment to your inner world.
Half an hour before sunrise, the sun gives special rays that send person energy and set up the body to be active. At this time, even the biochemistry of the body and the composition of the blood changes. Therefore, very often Ayurvedic specialists recommend an early rise from sleep – 40 minutes before sunrise. Although this recommendation is not suitable for all patients, in most cases a later awakening is recommended – at 6-7 am. You can more accurately calculate the time of a person’s awakening by his dominant dosha or doshas imbalance, by gender, age and strength of the organism.
And most importantly, you need to get up immediately after waking up, without hesitation and without rest. The first step is to drink a glass of cold water to cleanse the body and adjust the intestines to work. Then you can get to brushing your teeth, taking a shower. After all, if a person lives cleanly and correctly, then he wakes up early in the morning joyfully and cheerfully.
Recommendations for men
Biorhythms of men and women are different. Therefore, the daily routine should be different. Knowing your dosha, which can be determined with the help of the special test, you will know by what routine you go to bed and get up.
For Kapha men, it is better to get up early in the morning with the dawn and immediately engage in physical activity. It is better to refuse a hearty breakfast. You should go to bed early. To wake up in vigor, Kapha men need a long sleep at night, but, nevertheless, it should not last more than 7 hours, but in reality, Kapha men usually sleep 8-12 hours, so you should always regulate your sleep.
Vata men are usually active from 2 to 6 am and from 2 to 6 pm. Therefore, they should blunt their nightly activity and go to bed early. At bedtime, it will be good to perform breathing and relaxation techniques. Then Vata men will be able to sleep well and relax overnight and get up with the first rays of the sun. Usually, Vata men sleep at night for 4-6 hours, this time is enough for them to fully relax. It is allowed to sleep during the day, but only in the period from 14 to 16 hours, while the energy of the Vata dissipates.
For Pitta men, a surge of creative energy comes at night, but they should also suppress the temptation to spend the night without sleep and lie down early. The sleep lasts 6-8 hours.
Recommendations for women
Ayurveda gives women and men different recommendations on sleep patterns, i.e. go to bed, get up, and spend time in bed without harm to health should be different. It is better for women to go to bed until 21 o’clock in solar time. Because at this time the lunar energy begins its activity and, asleep, the woman will be able to absorb a large amount of it. It is undesirable to be awake after 22 hours because the nervous system will not have time to rest and the body will wake up tired. The later the woman lies down, the less chance that in the morning she will wake up calm and peaceful.
But there is not a single person who could not be helped with the normalization of sleep, and this knowledge and practice are deeply rooted in Ayurveda.
Let us cite some excerpts from the classic text of the «Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṁhitā»
- A healthy person should rise from a dream in Brahma Muhurta (40 minutes before sunrise). At this time, the Sun with its gentle, not yet warmed rays helps to wake up and gives a powerful energy surge to all living things, including Man – his mind is calm and cold, and his body is full of power. It is this period, that opens and connects all the subsequent daily actions of the body aimed at health. To oversleep them is equal to prevent their implementation. For example, during this period, devoid of any activity, the physiological process, which is very important for a person’s life, occurs. This process is the natural evacuation of all impurities from the body.
- It is necessary to make every effort for the timely removal of impurities from the body. Their accumulation leads to countless diseases and before going to the toilet (even during the day), it is necessary to completely stop any activity of the body, mind, and speech. Modern nursery pots in the form of cars and other entertaining toys completely contradict the true principles of hygiene and only emphasize the carelessness of adults to the future health of babies. With the first rays of the sun, it is good to do some household chores, learn lessons, read books. Everything comes easily without high energy costs. It is the power of Nature, and it is given as a reward for work.
- A person who wants to be happy must control greed, envy, hatred, jealousy, love, etc., as well as his senses. And it is the early morning that contributes to the development and awareness of such qualities.
- Compassion for all sentient beings, lack of greed, control of body, speech, and mind, treating other people’s interests as your own – these are signs of a good person.
- Anyone who thinks how to spend the day and night will never be unhappy. If a person gets up early in the morning, he already plans his day well in advance. He will not wait for the evening, his day will be long and fruitful. Light fatigue will accumulate, which is removed already in preparation for sleep.
- Delayed sleep (conscious refusal of sleep due to some cases), forced insomnia and leads to hallucinations, a feeling of heaviness in the head and eyes, fatigue, yawning and stifling, pain in the whole body, exhaustion, dizziness, and impaired absorption. Why does it happen? There is such a thing as Ojas. This is the essence of the seven tissues that make up the human body/plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue. These tissues end with a seed, a reproductive tissue, in which lies the strongest vital force, providing us not only with the ability to live but also to continue the race. Ojas is in the heart. Penetrating the entire body, it controls all its functions through the tissue. Ojas is oily in quality, consists mainly of Water, pure, yellowish in color. If the body loses it, then the body is destroying, but its presence gives life. All sorts of mental and physical states and functions of the body stem from it. What factors of our behavior contribute to the reduction of Ojas or even its complete loss?
- Ojas decreases during fear, hunger, excitement, anger, overstrain, etc. A person becomes irritable, weakened, constantly worries. His appearance and mood worsen, dryness appears in the body. The ideal treatment is oil massages, proper sleep, intake of soothing herbs, warm milk with spices, honey (sometimes with melted butter), broth and sweets. Of particular note: nutritious foods in the understanding of modern people are fatty foods. Nutritional products from the perspective of Life are products that give the body strength, Ojas. If we consider fruits or vegetables from the standpoint of the presence of Ojas, then the beds that have just been picked from the tree will be the best. No substitutes, dyes, various stabilizers cannot be used because Life cannot be replaced and improved as well. In addition, all tastes that are identical to natural ones pollute our body, lead to stomach ailments, allergies, nervous system disorders, and other serious ailments. There is no other approach to the quality of nutrition necessary for health.
- An increase in Ojas leads to satisfaction, an increase in strength. For a full sleep, it is very important how a person will spend not only the morning but also the daytime hours. All the most difficult work should be done before lunch, for it is at lunch that we get the largest influx of solar energy. Lunch should be nutritious and freshly cooked. It means that all 6 tastes must be present in it: sour, salty, sweet, sharp, bitter and astringent. In the midday hours, physical costs should be minimal. The activity of the day is gradually decreasing in Nature and in our activity. A light dinner at the traditionally defined hours – 18-19.00 is a perfect time. Then there is a gradual transition to the preparation for sleep. It is after dinner that a person must free his head from industrial and other nervous system thoughts and be at this time in the bosom of family and children. This is the most ideal time for emotional communication, which is based on the unity of common interests – reading books, pleasant conversations, listening to quiet music, joint needlework, burning natural essential oils, short festivals in nature among trees and flowers.
- The period of up to 16 years is called childhood. At this time, the formation of seven tissues and Ojas prevails over the process of their decay; is the formation of the activity of the senses. The period up to 70 years is the average age when there is no increase in the volume of seven tissues. After the age of 70, old age occurs when the predominance of tissue decay processes over the process of their formation occurs. That is why, from the point of view of physiology, massages are necessary for all people in accordance with the tasks of their age. Massages help sound sleep, sleep helps maintain health, corresponding to the three phases of a person’s age. When to go to bed? Of course, when the Sun disappears behind the horizon and the Moon comes to replace it. In the winter – from 21.00. In the summer – from 22-00- 23.00, as the summer day feeds and you need to have time to grow and save the crop, to collect it in time. And in nature, everything is so balanced that in summer a person, even having a dream, is shorter than in winter, should not feel less alert and tired. In compensation for the lack of sleep compared to winter, everything radiates and gives us vitality.