How is your sleep? Do you get enough? Is it high quality? Or do you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep?
We all probably agree that sleep is a very important part of our lives. We surely need enough of it to feel fully rested and to be able to function energized and happy throughout our day.
So what can we do to get enough hours of quality Zzzs?
Yes, it is recommended to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. But even if we make time for sleep, sometimes we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. So even with our intention to get a full night’s rest, we often don’t. Where is the quality in that and what can we do about it?
Well, we can use the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to help get us more easily into a deep, restful sleep.
According to Ayurveda, or the science of life, when you sleep makes a difference in how restful the sleep is.
Ayurveda looks to match the energetics of nature’s rhythms to when an activity occurs. This then creates balance, or harmony of the activity and the natural energies at play. In other words, depending on what time it is, may make it either easier or more of a challenge to accomplishment a task.
So for example, Kapha energy has the quality of being solid, heavy, grounded and stable. You might even use the words sluggish or slow. Whereas Pitta energy is transformational, intense and is characterized by fire and heat. It is an energy that stimulates and powers or drives things through to completion.
Now, if you were immersed in a pool of Kapha energy or a pool of Pitta energy, which would be easier to fall asleep in?
In Ayurveda, Kapha is dominant during the hours of 6 pm – 10 pm, while Pitta is dominant between 10 pm – 2 am. So this means that by following nature’s rhythm and observing the different energetics during the day, you can see why typically it would be easier to fall asleep before 10 pm, during Kapha time, rather than later during Pitta time, when your inner fire starts to kick in again.
And not only will the energy of Kapha allow you to get into a deep slumber easier, the quality of sleep will be better if you get 8 hours between 10 pm and 6 am, rather than 8 hours between midnight and 8 am. At night during Pitta time, between 10 pm and 2 pm, our bodies are naturally detoxifying. This means it is important for us to be resting in sleep during this time so that we receive the deepest detoxification possible.
Ok, but how can I be ready for sleep before 10 pm, you ask. Well, follow these 3 key points to prepare yourself for restful sleep tonight.
1. Create an Evening Routine
Begin preparing for sleep well before you go to bed. And start at dinner time! Eat a light dinner no later than 7 to allow for plenty of time for digestion before bedtime. While eating, listen to your body’s wisdom and stop when you are full. There’s no reason to eat to the point of feeling stuffed.
In addition, after dinner you may also want to take a leisurely stroll. Walking aids digestion, improves blood circulation, and maintains blood sugar levels. A simple walk will also help relieve stress, which is important to help you begin to relax and experience restful sleep.
2. Start to Unwind
Give yourself a break. After 8:30 minimize physically and mentally intensive activities. Instead spend your time releasing the stress of your day. How?
Try taking a bath or hot shower. Allow the warmth to soothe you physically, which then also helps you to release mentally. Try adding calming essential oils like Lavender, Vanilla, or Sandalwood to promote relaxation. Diffuse your therapeutic grade essential oil of choice. Or add a few drops of the oil to one ounce of carrier oil (for example jojoba, sesame, or almond oil) and enjoy a relaxing neck massage. Lighting candles and playing soft relaxing music will also help set the mood for you to relax.
3. Let Go of it All
When you spend the last minutes before bed checking your feed and then decide to shut the lights off, chances are your mind is still running. Instead, try one of the three following ways and use the time leading up to sleep to fully let go of your day:
1. If there is a lot on your mind and your mind will just not stop, try journaling. Free flow writing allows you to place the repetitive thoughts of your mind elsewhere freeing up space in the body to relax.
This can also be good if you tend to worry and find you often spend the last minutes of your day immersed in your worries. Know that you don’t need to come up with a solution to your worries, instead simply let your worries and thoughts filter out of you onto the paper.
2. Use this time for meditation. Have you ever felt like when you tried to meditate, it just put you to sleep? Or during your meditation you suddenly realized how tired you really were and maybe you should take a nap instead? You’ve felt this before right?
So yes, meditation calms the body and activates the rest and relaxation response of the nervous system. So you can use the time before bed for your meditation practice, and if you do doze off during the practice … well then I have a feeling you are well on your way to experiencing restful sleep.
3. Finally, you can try listening to the sounds of the crystal singing bowls to help prepare your body for sleep. The tonal quality and resonance of the bowls helps slow down and entrain your brain waves from the frequencies of beta waves (those of the waking state) toward delta waves (those expressed during deep sleep). Experiencing these sounds prior to turning out the lights, then prepares you for better sleep.
Go ahead and try out this recording of the the crystal bowls tonight.
Evening Crystal Bowl Meditation
Now that you have prepared yourself for restful sleep. It’s time to fall asleep.
Once in bed simply close your eyes and feel your body. Bring your attention to your physical body, and wherever you notice tension, consciously relax that area. At the same time, start to listen to your breath. Breathe slow and easy and continue to listen to your breathing until you fall asleep…
Now go and enjoy that restful sleep!