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Ayurveda and the Importance of Proper Sleep

  • Post by: School of Ayurveda and Panchakarma
  • Date: 17-11-2021

Sleep is one of the most important requirements for any living organism. It helps us to recharge and rest our minds in order to function properly. Lack of proper sleep can lead to many short and long-term disorders. The inability to fall asleep is known as insomnia. People suffering from insomnia find it difficult to concentrate on day-to-day activities and often find themselves making silly errors. In Ayurveda, sleep or Nidra is known to be one of the 3 pillars of good health. Hence Ayurveda and the importance of proper sleep go hand in hand. 

Sleep Better With Ayurveda

Sleep, together with Aahara (food) and Brahmacharya, is regarded by Ayurveda as one of the three foundations of good sustenance of life (conscious relationships). Furthermore, Acharya Charaka's ancient Ayurvedic textbook from the 2nd century AD explicitly stresses the importance of sleep in numerous physical and mental health indices. He explains how important sleep is for

  • joy perception
  • physical development and tissue replenishment
  • Immunity
  • fertility
  • logical reasoning, as well as the recollection of learned knowledge
  • long life with a high quality of living

In Ayurveda, it is explicitly noted that insomnia is a symptom of an underlying imbalance and an indication of numerous chronic, physical, psychological, cognitive, and mental difficulties that may develop in the future if not managed. Ayurvedic insomnia therapy has two purposes. The first is to improve the quality and amount of sleep, and the second is to address the underlying cause and prevent long-term health consequences.

Significance Of Sleep: Ayurvedic Perspective

Sleep is the most vital part of our physiology. Nidra is included in Traya-Upastambha, which are the three sustaining sub-pillars of existence, according to Ayurveda. Strength, weakness, happiness, misery, nutrition, emaciation, knowledge, ignorance, virility, sterility, life, and death are all influenced by proper or bad sleep. Obesity and emaciation are primarily affected by adequate or insufficient sleep and food. A sufficient amount of sleep, as well as appropriate sleep time, is required for optimum health maintenance. Various types of incorrect Nidra can be included in the Nidan Panchak of different diseases. A poor sleeping habit may foreshadow several severe ailments. As a result, the importance of proper sleep should be addressed for an individual's entirely disease-free health.

How can Ayurveda help?

  • Immediate remedies include Calming Herbal supplements and Teas along with remedies for calming the nerves. Also, Shirodhara is an ideal treatment recommended for obtaining sound sleep. It entails the rhythmic application of herbal medicinal oil to the person's forehead. It aids in the regulation of nerve hyperactivity, the reduction of stress, the relaxation of the mind, and the stimulation of the pituitary gland (master gland). It will also aid in the healthy functioning of other endocrine glands and improve sleep. Thala-Pothichil is another therapy that involves wrapping the entire head with herbal paste like a head pack for a set period of time.
  • Long-term remedies include developing a proper sleep ritual, maintaining ideal sleep hygiene, identifying and following a body-type-based diet and lifestyle. Many individuals fall asleep in front of the television, which is neither peaceful nor restorative. The time we go to bed should also be in accordance with our body's circadian cycle. According to Ayurveda, the first third of the night (8 p.m.-11 p.m.) is the optimum time to go to bed, and the final third (5 a.m.-8 a.m.) is the finest time to get up and feel rejuvenated. Due to different hormonal functions that follow the sun's cycle, sleeping too late and rising up later does not provide the best rest for our bodies.

Types Of Sleep

Sleep is classified into two types: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep (which has three different stages). Both are associated with distinct neuronal activity and brain waves. During a typical night, you cycle through all stages of non-REM and REM sleep numerous times, with increasingly longer, deeper REM episodes happening closer to dawn. REM sleep begins around 90 minutes after falling asleep. Behind closed eyelids, your eyes travel quickly from side to side. Mixed frequency brain wave activity approaches that found during awake. Your breathing becomes more rapid and erratic, and your heart rate and blood pressure rise to levels comparable to those of an awake person.  Although some of your dreams can happen during non-REM sleep, the majority happen during REM sleep. 

How much sleep do you need?

Your sleep needs and habits alter as you get older, although this varies greatly amongst people of the same age. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep every night, however, after the age of 60, nocturnal sleep becomes shorter, lighter, and more frequently disrupted by many awakenings. People are receiving less sleep than they need in general as a result of longer work time and the accessibility of constant entertainment and other activities.

Tips For Getting Good Night’s Sleep

  • Avoid using excessive light and devices before going to bed.
  • Make a regular sleep regimen and a comfortable sleeping environment.
  • Make certain that your mattress is both comfy and supportive.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and smoke should all be avoided.
  • Avoid eating substantial meals two to three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid taking naps during the day.

In conclusion, your entire wellbeing revolves around proper sleep and the lack of it results in deterioration of health. There are many courses related to Polysomnography in Ayurveda and prospective students can enroll in the best Ayurveda college in Kerala - School of Ayurveda & Panchakarma to get a deeper understanding of Ayurveda and the importance of proper sleep.