Sleep is one of the pillars of Maharishi Ayurveda, and is considered to be as important as diet in maintaining health and balance in the body. Sleep is the time when the body is able to repair and heal itself. The mind and emotions also become balanced through sleep.
A good night’s sleep also enhances ojas — considered in Ayurveda to be the master coordinator between mind, body, and the inner self. Ojas is the finest product of digestion, the main life-supporting force within the body. It acts like a shock absorber, helping to insulate the mind from day-to-day stress and enhancing the body’s innate immune systems.
Sleep Imbalances by Ayurvedic Dosha Type
There are actually three major types of sleep imbalances according to Maharishi Ayurveda, caused by imbalances in Vata, Pitta, or Kapha dosha.
A Vata sleep imbalance occurs when the coordination between dhi, dhriti and smriti (learning, retention, and recall) becomes weak. In this case, the mind becomes identified with the objects of the senses. If you are trying to fall asleep and your mind is thinking about all the events of the day and reproducing the feelings and emotions that accompanied them, it is unable to detach and rest properly in sleep. Either you won't be able to fall asleep, or your sleep will be so light and restless that you'll wake up tired.
A Pitta sleep disorder occurs when you have no problem falling asleep, but you wake up in the wee hours of the morning and cannot go back to sleep for several hours. People who are experiencing an emotional trauma in their lives or people with an imbalance in Pitta are prone to this type of sleep disorder.
A Kapha-related sleep disorder occurs when a person sleeps long and deeply, but feels exhausted when he or she wakes up. Worse, a lethargic, dull feeling continues throughout the day.
How to Combat a Vata Sleep Imbalance Before Bed:
- Avoid too much stimulation at night.
- Massage Youthful Skin Massage Oil for Men or Women into your hands and feet.
- Drink Slumber Time Tea before bed. This mixture of spices and herbs is especially designed to help calm the mind and emotions.
- Let go of body tension. It helps to have the attitude of total surrender when going to bed.
- Let go of your problems. Bedtime is not the time to try to solve your problems.
- Take Blissful Sleep tablets.
During the Day:
- Eat foods that balance Vata.
- Schedule your day so you can eat three warm, cooked meals, with the biggest meal at noon. Eat dinner before 7:00 p.m., so it has time to digest before bed.
- Go to bed well before 10:00 p.m., if possible by 9:30. This allows you to use the sleepy, duller Kapha time of night to help you fall asleep.
- If you are facing mental worries or mental stress in your life, take Worry Free tablets. This is a powerful way to calm your mind without creating sleepiness during the day.
Tips for a Pitta-Related Sleep Imbalance Before Bed
- Take Deep Rest. This herbal formula is made especially for this particular problem of waking up in the early morning hours and being unable to fall back asleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool while sleeping. Crack the window slightly, or turn down the heat a few degrees. Research shows that people sleep deeper in a slightly cool environment. If the bedroom is too hot and stuffy, it increases the likelihood of night awakening.
- Use Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil when you go to bed. This therapeutic oil is designed to pacify Pitta dosha.
During the Day:
- Eat more sweet, juicy fruits.
- Eat Pitta-pacifying foods. The Pitta-pacifying diet involves eating more sweet, bitter, and astringent foods.
- While Ayurveda recommends cooked instead of raw foods, a person with a Pitta imbalance will probably want foods and drinks served room temperature rather than steaming hot.
- If you feel hungry in the late afternoon and need a snack, have a cup of warm milk (boil milk and cool to drinkable temperature) with Organic Rose Petal Spread.
- Follow a Pitta-pacifying lifestyle. One of the most important keys to sleeping well for a person with a Pitta imbalance is to fall asleep before 10:00 p.m.
- For Pitta imbalances, it's important to eat a large enough evening meal, so you don't feel hungry before bed.
- Other Pitta-pacifying lifestyle choices include eating three meals a day, at the same time every day, with the largest meal at noon. Skipping or delaying meals can throw Pitta out of kilter.
- Avoid getting overheated when you exercise, and avoid exercising in the sun. Choose cooling sports such as swimming, skiing, hiking in shaded areas, or moonlight walks.
Tips for a Kapha Sleep Disorder Before Bed
- Be sure to eat a light meal for dinner, rather than a heavy meal that will tax your digestive system and leave you feeling dull and sluggish the next morning.
- After dinner, go for an evening stroll to aid digestion and give your physiology a bit of lightness to carry into the evening as you sleep.
During the Day:
- Rise before 6:00 a.m. Sleeping past dawn, into the Kapha time of the morning (6:00-10:00 a.m.), causes ama (toxins) to accumulate in the shrotas and creates a dull, tired feeling when you awaken.
- Gradually decrease coffee consumption. Instead, drink Organic Kapha Tea or green tea. Organic Kapha Tea will reinforce the body's efforts to remove ama, and invigorate the whole system.
- Eat a Kapha-pacifying diet. This includes avoiding desserts, especially heavy, cold sweets such as ice cream.
- Follow Kapha-pacifying lifestyle tips. Vigorous exercise is essential for balancing Kapha. The best time to exercise is during the Kapha time of the morning (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.).
- Breathe deeply and easily while exercising and throughout the day.
Being physically comfortable is also important. The bedroom should be dim or dark. Comfortable sheets and pajamas are helpful. We recommend organic cotton.
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