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Ayurvedic tips for Sweet Sattvic Sleep

Feb 05, 2020

Did you Know?

According to a 2016 study in the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than a

third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research

Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours

each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than

seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing

chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart

disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

Sleep or nidra as it is known in Ayurveda is given due importance. Nidra is

considered as one of the three supporting pillars of life. These three pillars

are: proper diet, sleep(nidra) and a regulated sex pattern to maintain

health. Improper sleep is said to bring emaciation, debility, impotence, poor

mental functioning and unhappiness. The complete absence of sleep can

lead to death. Regular routine is imperative to instill a good night's sleep.

Sleep, which is improper in excess and no sleep at all, can ruin and destroy

health and happiness. When night sleep is insufficient, it leads to an

increase in vata dosha. Sleep during the daytime leads to an increase in

Kapha dosha. Are you beginning to see the association with sleep and

keeping our doshas in balance? Then there is the issue of our dosha

imbalance causing us to have problems sleeping. That is why it is

important that you pacify (balance) the doshas using the tools you have

obtained in the Dragonfly Program in order to maintain a good night's sleep

pattern.

According to Ayurveda, the amount of sleep that is appropriate for you is

dependant upon your authentic, original Ayurvedic blueprint (prakriti

dosha). So for each of us, if we are trying to strive for that magical number

of sleep hours that allopathic medicine recommends, then this in itself may

be even more stressful, especially if the 7-8 hours is less or more than we

feel appropriate for us, and the stress of trying to meet a standard that is

not appropriate for us can keep us awake at night.

The truth is, we spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping. We need to

have sleep for the body and mind to rest and reset, detoxify and

rejuvenate. It is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing.

Many traditions view dreams as the language of the soul. Even modern

science has affirmed our capacity to release stress, anxiousness, and

unresolved emotions through our dreams. There is also increasing

evidence in the field of psychology that sleep plays a critical role in

supporting the emotional centers of the brain, as well as overall emotional

and behavioral health.

Additionally, sleep plays a critical role in the repair and rejuvenation of

tissues, both in the brain and elsewhere in the body. Activities like muscle

growth, tissue repair, wound healing, protein synthesis, and the release of

growth hormones occur mostly, if not entirely during sleep.

According to Harvard Medical School, sleep also promotes the more

efficient removal of metabolic wastes, and very directly supports the

immune system. Studies have shown a total loss of immune function,

followed by death, among animals that are completely deprived of sleep.

There are many other studies that link lack of sleep to increased growth in

cancer cells and changes in the structure of the brain inhibiting its ability to

form new neural pathways.

In Ayurveda, the term for insomnia is anidra. Anidra is caused by various

factors like improper diet, lifestyle, medication and more, which affects the

balance of the three doshas.

Sleep restores the strength of brain synapses that facilitate learning and

memory. In other words, our sleep directly affects our ability to learn, retain

information, perform tasks, develop new perspectives and re-pattern

neurological pathways. This is one of the reasons that I always say, if you

are tired do not make any decision. Get a good night's sleep and

everything will look better in the morning.

So, how do we find what is the appropriate amount of hours for us? By

knowing your original blueprint, applying the knowledge of this blueprint to

your sleep requirements, knowing how to identify which dosha is keeping

you up at night, and helpful hints to incorporate to get a blissful, sattvic

nights sleep.

Vata Sleep

The Creative Vata type sleep tends to be irregular and light and can be

very deep if exhausted. Vata’s need a soft bed to cushion their bones and

tend to sleep fewer hours than other types. Vata is better supported with

more sleep rather than less - 9 hours can be a good amount for The

Creative. Vata’s tend to grind their teeth, sleep walk, or talk in one’s sleep.

Vata dreams tend to be more spacious and airy and often focus on

movement, adventure, or being chased; vata types dream a lot but can

have difficulty recalling their dreams.

Vata Sleep Imbalance

Vata’s can have difficulty falling asleep, however the classic vata type sleep

imbalance is to awaken during the night unable to fall back to sleep. This is

particularly common during vata hours of 2-6 am.

If not corrected, Ayurveda states that this can lead the Creative into

hyperactivity, confusion, and depression.

Pitta Sleep

The Achieving Pitta type generally sleeps well, though somewhat lightly.

They tend to prefer a firm bed with few covers due to pitta’s tendency to

overheat. Pittas crave a moderate amount of sleep, somewhere between

vata and kapha - typically 8 hours is good for The Achiever. However, Pitta

types can forego sleep when they are preoccupied with a project or are up

against a deadline.

Pitta Sleep Imbalance

Pitta sleep is often disturbed by fiery, vivid, and active dreams, but pitta

types typically return to sleep easily if they are awakened. Difficulty falling

asleep is the classic pitta type sleep disorder because pitta is elevated in

the mind and in the atmosphere from about 10pm to 2 am. Sometimes this

is referred to as ‘the second wind’ which is why Ayurveda recommends

bedtime before 10 pm to prevent this occurrence. Staying up past 10 pm

can activate the mind, stimulate ambition, and can completely overwhelm a

desire to sleep. As a result, many pitta types are night owls and can be

incredibly productive at night.

If not corrected, Ayurveda believes that this can lead the Achiever to lack of

control of desires, anger and deprivation of spirituality.

Kapha Sleep

The lover, or Kapha types tend to be heavy sleepers and generally sleep

soundly anywhere, and are not easily disturbed or awakened. They crave

being in bed and like to sleep more hours than any other type, preferably

on a soft mattress under an abundance of soft, fluffy covers. The kapha

needs less sleep than vata and pitta types - typically 5-7 hours works well

for The Lover. Kapha dreams tend to be calm, smooth, watery, and

emotional.

Kapha Sleep Imbalance

When the Lover is out of balance they tend to sleep excessively and have

difficulty waking up and feel heavy and sluggish when they do awake.

Kapah is elevated in the mind and in the atmosphere from about 6am/pm

which increases the natural heaviness and sluggishenss, making it easy for

kapha types to sleep for many extra hours. This is why Ayurveda

recommends rising before 6am.

If not controlled, Ayurveda states that this can lead the Lover to poor

nourishment of the brain cells leading to poor retention and more insomnia.

Ayurvedic Guide to a Balanced Nights Sleep

Ayurvedic Clock and Circadian Rhythms

According to the Ayurvedic clock there are six four hour periods of the day,

each one characterised by one of the doshas (see above clock). This

means that there are optimal times to eat, exercise and sleep. This follows

the natural circadian rhythms of the earth. Take a look at the animals.

They instinctively follow the rhythms of the earth.

2-6 am : Rising before 6 am will allow you to reap all the benefits of Vata ~

energy and creativity.

6-10 am : This is prime Kapah time, so keep your energy up by exercising

and enjoying a light cooked breakfast.

10 am-2 pm : This is the time to tackle work and get things done. The most

productive time of day.

2-6 pm : Start to plan for the next day and problem solve - also a great time

to create.

6-10 pm Kapha time - Day has come full circle and it is time to wind down

and prepare for a restful nights sleep.

10 pm-2 am : Sleep, sweet sleep. Allowing the body to fully process all the

energy and stimulation from the day.

The seasons also play a part and you will find you naturally need less sleep

in the summer, when the sun sets later as our circadian rhythms are

regulated by natural light.

More helpful hints

1. Bedding

a. The Creative Vata needs a soft bed with heavy covers -

weighted blankets can be good for high Creatives.

b. The Achiever Pitta needs a firm bed with light covers

c. The Lover Kapha needs soft mattress and fluffy covers.

2. Eat small, highly digestible meals 2- 4 hours before bed

3. Do physical exercise regularly in the morning

4. Avoid arguments or controversial discussions at night

5. Don’t watch the evening news!

6. Avoid spicy or fried foods at night - especially Pitta’s

7. Avoid exposure to screens after 6pm

8. Turn off bright lights

9. Keep alcohol consumption at a minimum or eliminate whenever

possible

10. Face your worries before bed - address your fears and wipe

them away! Replace these fears with positive affirmations or

your dosha specific mantra.

11. Use essential oils : lavender or roman chamomile

12. Meditate/pray/spiritual practice prior to bed. This does

wonders for calming the mind in invoking sweet, sattvic dreams.

If you are having a hard time settling the mind take advantage of

the meditations provided in the Dragonfly Plan.

13. Avoid naps during the day unless sick or overly exhausted.

14. Walk 10-15 minutes prior to bed getting fresh air.

15. Avoid phone calls

16. Block out disrupting light with an eye mask. Make your

bedroom cool and dark.

17. Herbs

a. Ashwagandha has been found highly effective in relieving

insomnia.

b. Brahmi is recommended for insomnia, depression, anxiety and

other related disorders.

18. Warm Sleepy Milk :

a. You can mix ¼-1 teaspoon of ashwagandha and/or brahmi

herbs to your Dragonfly Sleepy Milk recipe or take these herbs

in warm water mixed with your Tranquility blend prior to

bedtime.

19. Cool Foot Bath

a. Ayurveda connects the feet with the fire element, and cooling

down the feet is a time tested way to refresh the mind and

return to restful sleep. This is especially good for Pitta’s.

20. Sesame oil the feet

a. Oil the feet with sesame oil prior to getting in bed. Put socks on

feet in order to prevent slipping on floor and staining sheets.

This helps calm and ground vata dosha.

21. Nasya oil the nose

a. Oiling the nose with herbal nasya oil (provided in the Dragonfly

Plan) will help calm vata dosha and the brain settling the mind

down for a good night's sleep.

22. Oil the head with sesame or coconut oil quiets the mind

23. Warm bath with epsom salts and lavender, rose and

chamomile essential oils prior to bed.

a. Epsom salts is magnesium which relaxes tense, sore muscles

and the essential oils help calm and relax the mind.

24. Earthing

a. During the daytime, get outside and lie down on the earth. If

you are near the beach lie in the sand. If you are located near

a forest walk in the woods barefoot. Stick your feet in the

stream. Get your feet on the earth. We absorb the earths

natural energies and it is imperative that we balance our own

bio rhythms with the biorhythms of the earth. What better way

to do this than to ground yourself on the earth. Do this for at

least 20 minutes at a time. Ideally it would be great to do this

everyday, but once a week will help tremendously. Soak up the

sun while doing this.

25. Moon bathe - get out and walk in the moonlight. Look at the

moon. There is an ancient yogic technique practiced for thousands of

years by the adepts of India known as Trataka or steady gazing. It is

known to bring incredible benefits to one who practices regularly such

as healing of the eyes, clarity of the mind, and yes – even increased

psychic abilities. One can practice trataka on a variety of images

including a candle flame (the most popular), a black dot on a white

wall, a flower, the rising or setting sun and even the moon. Trataka is

a preparatory practice, as well as an advanced practice because in

order to fully tune into psychic abilities, one has to remove the

obstacles preventing the experience of clarity. These obstacles might

include suppressed emotional and mental disturbances, fears and

expectations inhibiting clear insight. To be clairvoyant is to ‘see

clearly’ or to experience clear vision. Usually this means seeing

things others do not and often events or possibilities that haven’t

happened yet. You can only see clearly if you are not harboring

conditions in your mind that keep you repeating fears and

expectations for yourself or others. Practicing Trataka is a great

technique to cultivate clarity. Known originally as a Shatkarma, or

cleansing practice, one of the initial preparatory practices of Hatha

yoga, Trataka cleanses the subconscious mind allowing clarity to

replace fear and mental fog.

26. Sun Gazing - Sun Gazing is a practice that returns many benefits

to body and mind. It is an exercise that supposedly has already been

confirmed by NASA. The key to success to sun gazing be so

effective, is in the activation of the Pineal Gland. The Pineal Gland is

one of the most important glands in our body. It can change our

physically and mentally conditions. If our pineal gland is healthy, we

feel tremendous energy around us, and we can control our own body

and mind.

Vastu Shastra ~ Science of Architecture

Vastu Shastra is a traditional Indian system of architecture which literally

translates to ‘Science of architecture”. These are texts found on the Indian

subcontinent that describe principles of design, layout, measurements,

ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry. The

designs are intended to integrate architecture with nature, the relatie

functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefs utilizing

geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry, and directional alignments. The

chinese have their own version of this called feng shui.

So, how do we apply this to ourselves? By setting up our bedroom in the

ways of vastu. Vastu for the bedroom is very important as the bedroom is

the place for privacy and total relaxation. In India, Vastu Shastra for the

bedroom is given a very high priority and significance.

 

Interesting Vastu tips:

1. Master bedroom should always be in the south-west corner of the

home.

2. Master bedroom should always be bigger than other rooms of the

house.

3. Master bed should have your top of head towards south or west and

legs towards north or east.

4. Directions for sleeping in bedroom:

a. Sleeping with legs towards the east gives name, reputation and

richness.

b. Sleeping with legs towards the west gives mental harmony and

augments fondness for spiritualism.

c. Sleeping with legs toward the north increases prosperity and

opulence

d. One should not sleep with legs toward south as he will not have

sound sleep.

5. Bed alignment to any corner is unsuitable.

6. Avoid TV, PC or laptops in the bedroom.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, problems with sleep are directly associated with Vata and Pitta

imbalances. Keeping these doshas in balance is of the utmost importance

to getting a good night’s sleep. So use the tools in The Dragonfly Plan to

keep your doshas balanced. Try incorporating the above suggestions for a

sweet, sattvic nights sleep.

And if all else fails and your sheep are still bleating, put them in a corral,

give them sleepy milk and focus your attention on deep rhythmic breath

and repeating a positive mantra until sweet dreams float you away.

Sweet Dreams my Friends,

Annette

If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda click HERE for Intro To Ayurveda online course.  If you would like to learn more about how to live the Ayurvedic Life click HERE for our extensive Dragonfly 60 Day Transformation Plan.  

Info Graphs for Sweet Sattvic Sleep

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