In Ayurveda, Sleep is considered to be one of the most important pillar of life, known as Nidra. According to Ashtanga Hridaya Sutrasthana, the various facets of happiness and sorrow, nourishment and emaciation, strength and weakness, virility and eunuchism, knowledge and ignorance, life and death are all relying upon sleep.
Adequate and proper sleep will rejuvenate the body and mind.
Importance of Sleep
- Sleep is vital for all organisms.
- Improper practice of sleep may be even fatal.
- Healthy sleeping habit can make a huge divergence in the quality of our life.
- Sleep is an inevitable part of our Dinacharya (Daily regimen)
- We are spending around one third of our time for sleep.
Body constitution (Prakruti) and Sleep
According to Ayurveda, sleep and other bodily functions are determined by the 3 constitutional types (Doshas). The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Here, the sleep is dominated by Kapha which creates the heaviness or tiredness of body.
Vata Prakruti Persons
Pitta Prakruti Persons
Kapha Prakruti Persons
Vata dominant people are having poor quality sleep and they often complain of insomnia.
Pitta dominant have moderate sleep often disturbed by dreams.
Kapha dominant able to fall asleep easily and finding it difficult to keep awake
Best time for sleep
According to Ayurveda it’s best to wake up before sunrise and sleep before 10pm. During this time, the Kapha period has induced dullness in the body.
National sleep foundation guidelines advice that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, kids and teens needs even more sleep to enable their growth and development.People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours sleep per night.
An important function of sleep is enhancement of Ojas (Energy), the master coordinator between mind, body and soul. Sleep which is excessive, very less or an inappropriate time, destroys the happiness and longevity of life.
Remaining awake at night (Ratri jagarana) cause dryness of the system and sleep during daytime causes the excessive secretions in the system. Hence in the night, one should sleep at the right time and for the right duration.
Remaining awake during night time can be compensated by sleeping for half the time that has been awake in the morning hours without taking food (should continue sleeping). According to Ayurveda Acharyas -Day time sleep is desirable during summer season (Greeshma ritu) because the night duration is short.
Contra indication of Day sleep
- People those who are obese
- Those who have excess Kapha
- Those who are habituated to the use of fat products
- Sleep is totally contra indicated to those afflicted with poison and diseases of throat, even at night.
Benefits of proper night sleep
- Better sleep – Better mood
- Boost immune system
- Strengthen the heart and keep healthy
- Improves memory and concentration
- Reduce stress
- Increase productivity
- Lower weight gain risk
- Lower inflammation etc
Sleep disturbances and treatment
Loss of sleep results in body ache, heaviness of the body, drowsiness, yawning, inertia, fatigue, giddiness, indigestion, laziness and other diseases due to vitiation of Vata dosha (A.H.Su).
One who suffers from loss of sleep should practice intake of milk, beverages, meat soup, curd, oil massage, bathing, retention of oil on scalp (Sirovasthi), installation of ear drops (karnapoorana), retention of ghee in the eyes (Akshi tarpana).
Untimely sleep impact
- Running nose
- obstruction of the metabolic pathways
In these conditions fasting (upavasa), emesis (induced vomiting), sudation (swedana) and nasya (nasal drops) should be done.
It is also not good for health, which hastens the risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus and cardiac problems etc.
In these cases one who subjecting to fasting (langana), emesis (vamana), nasal drops (nasya), collirium (anjana) etc treatments which bring down kapha dosha and helps to reduce sleep.
Sleep is not only beneficial to physical health but to emotional health, safety and quality of life. Good sleep helps in maintaining attention, making decisions and being creative.
Sleep well and stay healthy, for more guidelines visit our home page and blogs.
Author: Dr. Liji Janardhanan Reviewed by : Dr. Seleena V