Ayurvedic sleep: The benefits for work, rest and play
Ayurvedic guides to life focus on mind, body and spirit, with a range of different treatments, diets, massages and health solutions.
The holistic view is based on the belief that harmony is key to achieving good health and contentment. This harmony can only be obtained when you have a balanced lifestyle which nourishes the body for activity and allows time and peacefulness for rest and meditative state.
In terms of sleep and rest, there are a number of guides to help you include these teachings in your routine. The benefits of Ayurvedic sleep include restfulness, tranquility, more energy and functioning metabolism that prevents weight gain.
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find anyone who is willing to let go of the temptations of contemporary life such as TV, internet and going out at night. Lights are on and so are our minds.
The benefits of going to bed when the sun goes down seem lost for contemporary generations. And sleeping later results in sleeping in. No one wakes at dawn anymore and the rhythms of nature are no longer in balance with our own nature.
To find the benefits of these lost habits we just need to look at the timetable followed by all nature. Do that and it’s easy to see when our energy would be at its highest and when it would naturally decrease.
Fighting these natural states brings imbalance that can cause disease and unhappiness.
In Ayurvedic knowledge, the timetable of resting and waking periods can be defined as:
- From 2am to 6am – Vata dosha dominance
- From 6am to 10am – Kapha dosha dominance
- From 10am to 2pm – Pitta dosha dominance
- From 2pm to 6pm – Vata dosha dominance
- From 6pm to 10pm – Kapha dosha dominance
- From 10pm to 2am – Pitta dosha dominance
Vata dosha (air and space) is a state defined by the qualities of lightness, dryness, cold and subtle.
Kapha dosha (earth and water) is a state defined by the qualities of heaviness, dullness, stable and static.
Pitta dosha (fire and water) is a state defined by the qualities of intensity, hot and sharp.
So going to bed during Kapha time will guarantee you take advantage of the time your body and mind find it easier to slip into rest. Stay up after that period and you enter Pitta Dosha state which, due to its intense properties, is not conducive to falling asleep.
When you go to sleep early you’re able to rise early and at a time when you can take the benefit of the energy in the Vata time (preferably taking the time to meditate around sunrise).
Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep time but happiness and health depends on feeling rested: the ideal would be around six to eight hours sleep a night.
When you sleep for too long, negative effects such as lethargy and dullness occur and these can be just as harming as being sleep deprived.
So try to follow nature’s energy schedule and be amazed by the benefits you can collect for your waking hours.