Sleep is an essential component of good health and peace of mind. Not just sleep, but deep sleep. Experiencing a deep sleep is when little or no energy is consumed with vivid dreams, nightmares or negative thoughts. This quiet state gives the body and mind a chance to renew, refresh and restore.
Modern day's over-stimulating lifestyle often keeps our minds tense throughout the day and consequently, into the night. Many people, despite sleeping 8 to 12 hours (if they're one of the luckier ones), wake up feeling exhausted. Without the practice of relaxation and meditation, the person may only experience light sleep or a dream state where energy is still being expended. Deep sleep may not be accessible.
Low-quality sleep or insomnia interferes with our ability to work and think clearly. Our bodies feel heavy and lethargic. The appetite is weakened and digestion is impaired.
Some common causes of insomnia are:
- Fear and insecurity
- Work pressures
- Excessive exercise
- Excessive travel
Ayurveda offers dietary guidelines, herbal remedies, Yoga and meditation to support a healthy sleep free of nightmares and stress.
First and foremost, make sure that you are setting aside enough time for sleep. Six to seven hours of sleep is sufficient for most though some may need more or less depending on their Prakriti. People with a predominately Vata constitution may benefit from more hours of sleep while Kapha types benefit from less.
Having a good diet and balanced digestion is about what you eat and when, where and how you eat. Good digestion is essential for a relaxed body and mind and good sleep. Here are some simple tips for stress-free eating:
- Eat slowly
- Keep your diet simple, fresh and nutrious, preferably organic and vegetarian
- Eat in a calm environment
- Do not overeat or drink
- Do not eat right before bed
- Brahmi Capsules (1-2 taken in the morning) + Manasamitra Vatakam (1-2 taken in the evening after food)
- Brahmi Ghritam (1/2 – 1 tsp with warm milk or warm water) + Manasamitra Vatakam (1-2 taken in the evening after food) for 3-4 months with a gradual decrease of dosage as sleep improves.
- Saraswata Ghritam + Manasmitra Vatakam
One of the keys to relaxing at night is to reduce the number of stimuli you are subjected to during theday. Find some down time during the day to relax and meditate or read something spiritual. This can make the body and mind's transition to sleep easier when it's time for bed.
- Take a walk in nature
- Try aromatherapy
- Massage the soles of your feet and crown of your head with Brahmi Oil
- Sip and enjoy a cup of warm milk before bed
Stress in our lives comes from our mental and emotional reactions to external events. Feeling peaceful involves a positive mental attitude. Meditation is an effective way to reduce stress, dissolve anxieties and invite a sense of calm to your mind. Practice meditation 10 to 20 minutes per day.
Practicing Yoga is very therapeutic for the body, mind and spirit. One of the most calming and soothing postures or asanas for the entire nervous system is Savasana or Corpse Pose. This pose gives total relaxation to the body reducing physical, mental and emotional stress and strain and fatigue of all kinds. Try practicing Savasana for 10 to 30 minutes before bed, using aromatherapy.
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.