Sleep is one of the foundational pillars of health.
How can you expect to fully heal any condition and radiate vitality when sleep is not optimal?
Sleep is your main bio-rhythm, so we need to learn to optimise sleep to improve all aspects of health.
In this Solo Show Episode we Discuss:
What actually is sleep
Sleep manifests in the body when:
- The srotas (channels) of the body become covered by kapha,
- The body is fatigued by exertion
- The sense organs are not functioning,
How Dreams Occur
When all the sense organs have stopped cognising their objects but only the mind is cognising them, the sleeping person experiences different kinds of dreams.
Factors Dependant on Sleep:
- happiness and misery
- nourishment and emaciation
- strength and debility
- virility and impotence
- knowledge and ignorance
- life and death.
Definition of Healthy and Proper Sleep
The ability to fall asleep straight away, no waking up in the night and waking up with energy in the morning.
If sleep is not right, we need to look the many causative factors:
- “wired and tired”
- musculoskeletal issue - e.g. Sciatica
- Asthma or cough
- Full determine in a consultation to address the root cause.
Improper Timed Sleep
Sleep indulged into at improper time, in excess or not at all, destroys one’s happiness.
- Not sleeping at nights causes dryness of the body; - vata
- sleeping during the day causes increase of unctuousness, - kapha
- reclining leisurely without sleeping, causes neither. - This how to sleep in the day. Or sit up.
Diva-Svapna (Day Sleep)
Beneficial during grisma (summer) but perhaps not in mild summers nor for meditators.
Sleeping during the day is permissible for those who are
- tired from excess indulgence in speech,
- riding on animals,
- walking long distances,
- alcoholic drinks,
- sexual intercourse
- lifting heavy weights;
- anger, grief and fear;
- those suffering from dyspnoea, hiccup and diarrhoea;
- the aged, the young,
- the debilitated, the emaciated,
- the wounded,
- the thirsty;
- those suffering from pain, indigestion; injury, insanity (and other kinds of mental disorders)
- and those habituated to sleeping at day time.
~ Source: Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata
Atisvapna (Excess of Sleep)
- Kapha, not undergoing regular processing because of its increased quantity, obstructs the orifices of the dhatus (tissues);
- Obstruction of orifices causes heaviness of the body,
- From heaviness follows laziness,
- Which in turn causes excess sleep.
- This produces diseases.
Methods to Promote Optimal Sleep
Regularly meditation. I recommend Vedic Meditation twice a day.
Ayurvedic oil massage to pacify nervous system, rejuvenate body and promote your body's ability to sleep well.
Learn how to do self-abhyanga here.
- a sense of satisfaction having done good deeds,
- thinking of things pleasant to the mind
- and fulfilment of desire
- all these are going to bestow happy sleep.
It’s not about how many hours but when
Sleep before 10pm and wake up with or before sunrise.
Early and light dinner
Siro-Pichu + Pad Abhyanga
Apply oil to the crown of the head, then massage feet before bed.
Women - massage left foot first.
Men - massage right foot first.
Can put on socks if you don't want to get bed sheets a little oily. I don't and it is fine.
Herbs for Sleep
- Manasolassa Vati (best to consult with a practitioner before taking this herbs).
- Stresscom - 2 caps before dinner or with hot milk before bed.
- Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) - balances brain neurotransmitters and aids sleep.
- Ashwagandha - prevents release of too much cortisol. And has a sedative effect.
- Vaca - natural sedative that calms the nerves.
- Valerian Root - promote relaxation and sleep and decreases stress. It helps fall asleep fast, provides a better sleep quality, and provides relief from restlessness and other anxiety-related symptoms.
- White poppy seeds - pacify prana vata and overactive mind. Add to porridge or chutney before bed.
Takradhara / Shirohdara (Treatment for Head and Mind)
Takra Dhara and Shirodhara is an ancient treatment where medicated buttermilk or warm oil is poured over the head in a rhythmic mater. This stabilises the mind and everything going on inside it. During this treatment, usually you'll lie in deep, blissful rest, (that is if you haven't transcended).
If you wake up at night and cannot sleep
Do not look at phone.
Do body feeling / yoga nidra.
A-Svapna (Loss of Sleep) - for those who stay up.
If one keeps awake at night due to unaccustomed conditions*, he should compensate it by sleeping the next morning, for half of that period (duration of loss of sleep) without taking any food.
*Unaccustomed conditions can be like like night partying, alcohol, late night or heavy to digest food.
Children and Night Terrors
Check the show notes for link to resources
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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.