In Ayurveda, the classical texts outline three pillars of life: food, sleep, and brahmacharya. The importance of the right food at the right time in the right quantity is foundational to wellness. In addition, proper management of energy, especially sexual energy, is considered under the umbrella of brahmacharya. Furthermore, getting adequate good-quality sleep is another of the three pillars of life. Let’s take a look at some Ayurvedic tips for good sleep!
The Impact of Sleep on Health
We still probably don’t fully understand all the reasons why we sleep, as well as the benefits of good sleep. However, if you have ever suffered from insomnia or various forms of disturbed or disrupted sleep, you may be aware of how detrimental the effects of a lack of good sleep can be.
The effects of adequate, good-quality sleep are profound. Sleep scientists suggest 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Also, those who get 6 or fewer hours per night may be at increased risk for stroke, cognitive decline, diabetes, and heart disease (1). Also, here are some of the perks of good sleep (2):
- Sleep has a positive impact on appetite regulation and weight
- Improved cognitive function—those who get adequate, good sleep tend to do better on cognitive tasks and tests.
- Sleep helps with memory, and helps us prune out information that we don’t need.
- Sleep allows our bodies to repair from wear, tear, and damage.
- Sleep disturbances can contribute to emotional imbalances and a higher likelihood of mishaps and accidents.
Practical Steps: Ayurvedic Tips for Good Sleep
Now that you are convinced of the value of good sleep, let’s look at some practical Ayurvedic tips for good sleep. Here are a handful to get you started.
- Dim the lights. Bright lights, particularly the blue light emitted from phones, computers, and televisions, inhibit melatonin production. Dim the lights before bedtime and avoid the use of electronics close to bedtime.
- Avoid eating before bedtime. This is an important Ayurvedic tip for good sleep. This tip for good sleep impacts sleep quality and liver function. You want your body to be able to focus on rejuvenation and waste cleanup at night, not digestion. Try to eat your last meal of the day 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
- Incorporate grounding, and soothing routines. It may take time for your nervous system to wind down so that you can sink into sleep. Practices such as taking a warm bath, practicing some calming yoga postures, or reading a book (an actual book, not on a screen!) may help you slowly ease into dreamland. Also, try this Ayurvedic tip for good sleep: massage your feet with gently warmed oil, such as Ghruta ghee or sesame oil. You can even add a drop of a calming essential oil such as lavender.
- Lastly, we tend to sleep better in slightly cooler temperatures. Many experts suggest a room temperature of 60-67 F for ideal sleep (3). So, you may want to adjust your climate controls accordingly.
Sleep is Foundational
In conclusion, good sleep is foundational. It is one of the three pillars of life. We hope that these Ayurvedic tips for good sleep help you get a better night’s rest for a better day!
Harvard Health. (2020). In search of sleep. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/in-search-of-sleep
(2) Rao, R. Good living practices. KaivalyaWellness.com
(3) Sleep Foundation. The best temperature for sleep: Advice & Tips. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.