Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. High quality sleep at the right time protects your mental and physical health and improves the quality of life. During sleep, the body is working hard to support healthy brain function and rejuvenating and repairing itself. Not only is sleep important for maintaining energy but also for maintaining your optimal weight, keeping your hormones in balance, lowering the risk of a heart attack, and strengthening the immune system. It is not only the hours of sleep that count but also the quality of the sleep.
Indications for the poor quality of sleep include things like waking up in the middle of the night or not feeling rested after enough hours of sleep. Ayurveda has some great tips to improve your sleep quality.
- Go to bed by 10 pm. Sticking to this routine will set your biological clock right.
- Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
- For dinner eat light, warm, and soupy foods, less spices and heavy, creamy or cheesy meals.
- Do not overeat at dinner, leave a quarter of your stomach empty. This helps prevent indigestion, heartburn, and bloating.
- No mobile phones, other electronic gadgets or television one hour before sleep.
- No stimulants like coffee and tea after 3 pm.
- 5 -10 min alternate nostril breathing calms down Vata, relaxes the mind and body and helps with falling asleep.
- Sleeping on the right side activates the moon energy—relaxing the body and mind— which can help sleep.
- Boil milk with nutmeg powder, crushed almond, and cardamom. Milk contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, which both induce sleep. Nutmeg gives the comforting drink a sweet taste and acts as an additional natural sleeping aid. Drink a cup one hour before going to bed.
- Massage your feet with sesame oil or your head with coconut oil.
- Herbs like brahmi (water hyssop), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), shankhpushpi and treatments like shirodhara and taladharana are proven to be beneficial in treating insomnia under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda physician.
Aparna K. BAMS, MD, PhD
Consultant advisor for development of Oneworld Ayurveda and visiting physician
Aparna is one of the few specialists in the world with a PhD in Ayurveda. Born into an Ayurvedic family which operates a traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma hospital in Kerala, India, she grew up observing her father, the renowned Dr. Padmanabhan Read more »