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Your Ayurvedic Dosha and Sleep: How to Sleep Better

Your Ayurvedic Dosha and Sleep - How to Sleep Better

Sleep is an essential part of life and we can actually spend up to a third of our lives asleep!

However many of us suffer from poor sleep patterns which in turn will impact our ability to function in a healthy and happy way.

I love to sleep and often take a mid afternoon cat nap, which I find refreshes me and gives me energy for the afternoon and evening!

At one end of the scale I am sure we can all see how a lack of sleep one night can make us irritable, depressed and grumpy the next day. So even mild sleep loss can affect our personality in quite obvious ways.

Studies have shown that having too little sleep can impair our ability to such an extent that being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. This is higher than the legal limit (0.08% BAC) in all US states!

It is also thought that a lack of sleep can also impact our immune function, potentially making it more difficult for our bodies to fight infections but also leading to imbalances that can cause our immune systems to overreact.

So we can all know what having too little sleep is like – but what is sleep and why do we need it?

The role of sleep – what it is and why we need it are still not fully understood and is a complex and fascinating subject. What is known is that far from just ‘switching off’ the brain’s function changes during sleep.

We actually go through 4 to 6 cycles during a night, with each cycle made up of 4/5 different stages lasting around 1.5 hours.

These stages are:

Stage 1: Falling asleep / light sleep
Stage 2: Heart slows, as do brain waves – eyes can move
Stages 3/4: Muscles relax, breathing slows, deep sleep occurs
Stage 5: REM sleep (when we dream!)

So you may be wondering how sleep relates to Ayurveda!

Ayurveda is all about living in line with circadian rhythms, or our internal body clock. Sleep is a natural part of our daily circadian cycle, however if we are out of balance then this cycle can become disrupted leading to poor sleep patterns and all their associated issues.

As with all imbalances, Ayurveda links challenging sleep patterns to imbalances in our Dosha, Ayurvedic mind-body type.

If you are new to Ayurveda, make sure to take my Dosha quiz today and get your Dosha Guide which includes an introduction to Ayurveda and some practical tips & advice on which foods, lifestyle habits and Yoga poses are best for your specific Ayurvedic mind-body type!

Vata

Those with dominant Vata often struggle with getting regular sleep patterns and may find themselves waking in the night and struggling to get back to sleep.

Try and make sure you have a regular bedtime routine and cut down on caffeine and alcohol especially close to bedtime. Alcohol is well known for helping people to get to sleep but then creating restlessness and waking throughout the night. Try drinking relaxing herbal teas instead!

To stop those random thoughts flying around your head and keeping you awake I recommend trying journaling before bedtime so you can get them out of your head and on to paper!

Pitta

Those with dominant Pitta usually sleep well and don’t need an excessive amount of sleep, but can sometimes struggle to get to sleep – especially when over stimulated. Pitta’s can also overheat easily so having a bedcover that is easy to throw off may help!

Try and limit vigorous evening exercise or late night movies that are likely to over stimulate and also keep your bedroom cool.

Those with high Pitta often like to work late. This is not good for any Dosha, but for Pitta it will be extra aggravating. Make sure you stop work well before bedtime and introduce some ‘buffering’ activity between work and bed. Like some gentle Yoga stretches or a walk in nature!

Kapha

Those with dominant Kapha often find it easy to fall into deep sleep and can have a tendency to over-sleep! So again having a good routine that limits over sleeping and lie-ins is important.

Excess sleeping can point to an imbalance so if this is you, try to eat a very light early dinner and go to bed a little later – maybe after 10.00pm, but then try to ensure you are up by 6.00am and maybe integrate some invigorating Yoga to get you energized for the day.

Here are some top tips that will help all of us to sleep a little better:

1. Reduce screen time – both TV, laptops and mobile phones.

The blue light that these emit are known to stimulate us into thinking it is day time and not a time to sleep.Ideally put these all away an hour before bedtime and read a calming book or listen to a relaxing podcast to wind down.

2. Routine, routine, routine.

Having a regular bedtime and wake up routine is good for all Dosha. Try to create one that gives you enough sleep (but not too much – you sleepy Kaphas!).

3. Create a calm bedroom.

If you are able try to declutter your bedroom to make it a sea of calm.

4. Avoid stimulants.

Try and avoid any stimulants such as coffee or alcoholic drinks late in the afternoon or evening as these will both upset your sleeping patterns. Find a herbal tea such as camomile and have that instead.

5. Cut out excess light and noise.

Try and ensure that your curtains fit well or you could fit blackout blinds instead. If noise affects you (like it does my partner!) maybe try earplugs – he swears by them but is a little addicted. I say if it helps you get a good night’s sleep then it’s worth it!

P.S. If you are new to Ayurveda, make sure to take my Dosha quiz today and get your Dosha Guide which includes an introduction to Ayurveda and some practical tips & recommendation on which foods, lifestyle habits and Yoga poses are best for your specific Ayurvedic mind-body type!