When it comes to sleep, we need to pay attention to the quality of our sleep habits for optimal health and well being. You could say that the quality of our sleep is like a report card for our overall health. We have all experienced what negative effects lack of sleep does for our digestion, nervous system, and immune health. According to Charaka, an important Ayurvedic Physician, the quality of our sleep is one of the main pillars of identifying our health and well-being. When our sleep is interrupted for whatever reason, this is a sign of imbalance.
Here are the different imbalances that can show up in each dosha regarding sleep.
Vata tends to be the most affected with sleep problems as the ether and air qualities creates a feeling of being ungrounded in our body and minds. Insomnia, anxiety and nervousness are all imbalances of vata dosha that affect our sleep. The “racing” mind that vata types experience impacts the ability to have a restful sleep. While vata types can fall asleep okay, they are known for waking up early and either having trouble falling back to sleep, or having a restful night waking every hour. This racing mind and insomnia is a classic sign of vata moving up into our minds and now allowing for grounded feeling. A weighted blanket can be beneficial for vata energy.
Pitta individuals have trouble falling asleep; however, they can typically stay a sleep. Similar to vata, pitta types need to be in a dark and quiet room to fall asleep well. Too much stimulation in the room can keep pittas from falling asleep and contribute to the problem. As pitta types can accumulate heat during the night, a lighter blanket is sufficient.
Kapha predominant individuals have no problem falling asleep. We may all have that friend that can sleep anywhere they are sitting, or standing! The imbalance that shows up with kapha types is sleeping too much. Kapha types should sleep less than other doshas and wake up early to promote mental and physical stimulation.
Here are a few things to do at night support your sleep:
- One of the best ways to support sleep at night is oil. Ayurvedic Rasayana’s Bhrami Oil, an excellent option to support sleep. Rub some on the soles of your feet and scalp before bed to support grounded, nourishing, and deep sleep.
- Minimize screen time. Try not to look at your phone or tv for at least an hour before going to bed.
- Breathing. Taking 5-10 deep breaths while sitting up prior to laying down can support circulation in our bodies and an easeful rest.
- Laying on the right side stimulates the lunar hemisphere of our bodies. Try relaxing your face, neck, and shoulder muscles while laying on the right side. Take deep breaths here.
Sleep and dream well!
Beverly Foster is a NAMA certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Instructor. She received her certification from The Ayurvedic Institute in 2016 under the clinical guidance of Dr. Vasant Lad and worked directly with him as one of his herbalists. She is a board-certified National Ayurvedic Medical Association Professional Member. She currently lives in Southern Oregon where she offers Ayurvedic consultations, including zoom and phone consultations, and traditional Ayurvedic treatments. For more information, questions, or to schedule a consultation, you can contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.shineayurveda.com.