Why Is Sleep So Important?
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
Sleep is not just the absence of being awake; it’s an active process that promotes good cognitive and physical health. While you’re sleeping, your body is doing important work, such as forming pathways in your brain that help you learn and create memories and removing toxins that accumulate while you’re awake. Sleep also helps your body support your immune system, repair cells and tissues and maintain a healthy balance of hormones.
MAKE GETTING 8 HOURS OF SLEEP A TOP PRIORITY IN YOUR LIFE AND CUT OUT SOMETHING ELSE IF YOU WANT TO BE HEALTHY.
According to Ayurveda, sleep is one of the three key factors and also a non Suppressive urge, contributing to our ability to both survive and thrive.
-Happiness, nourishment, strength, sexual powers, knowledge, life are dependent on sleep. Sleep in excess or in improper time destroys the happiness and life.
-Being awake at night causes dryness inside the body which cause the vitiation of vara and sleeping during the day time causes moistness inside the body which increases kapha.
-Sleeping during the day time is only beneficial in the summer time because in that season vata undergoes mild increase, dryness is more, because the season is Adana kala and the nights are short.
-People who are exhausted by speaking, riding, walking, wine, sexual intercourse, carrying heavy load, physical exercise, tired by grief, anger and fear can undergo sleep during the day time.
-People suffering from diarrhea, dyspnea, hiccup, aged people, children, emaciated, injured person, who have indigestion, intoxicated and those who are habituated to day sleep can undergo day sleep.
-People who are having more of fats and kapha in the body, who takes excessive fatty foods daily should not sleep during day time.
-Loss of sleep will make squeezing pain in the body parts, heaviness of the head, too much yawning, Lassitude, Exhaustion, giddiness, indigestion and vata origin
HOW MUCH TIME?
• Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day which boosts their growth and development.
• School-age children and teens require 9.5 hours of sleep per night.
• Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Adults aged 60 and above comparatively experience lighter, interrupted and shorter sleep.
EFFECTS OF IMPROPER SLEEP
• High blood pressure
• Risk of heart disease
• Mood issues
• Attention disorders like ADD & ADHD
• Weight gain and obesity
• Weakness of the digestive functions
• Increased stress
• Decreased creativity
• Impaired immune system
HOW TO IMPROVE OUR SLEEPING HABITS
• Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
• Exercise 20-30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before bed
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day
• Relax before bed- try a warm bath, reading or listen to soft music
• Avoid bright lights and loud sounds in your bedroom
• Avoid watching TV or computer late at night
• Avoid taking naps especially in the afternoon
• Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive
• Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning
• Avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bed
• Take time before bed to do some gentle yoga postures.
• Develop a steady meditation practice, ideally at sundown or sunrise, the start of Kapha time.
• Ayurveda therapies like siroabhyanga, siropichu, sarvanga abhyanga, svedana, siro dhara, nasyam will also be helpful
Foods to eat before bed
• Almonds are a source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
• Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which improve sleep quality when eaten before bed.
• Walnuts are the best food sources of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
• White rice has a high glycaemic index which promotes better sleep.
• Milk contains tryptophan and melatonin which provide soothing backdrop for a relaxing bedtime routine