Sleep—sometimes it’s easy to find and sometimes it eludes us.
Most of us are challenged by an occasional sleepless night. But some of us are plagued by not being able to get to sleep, or by waking each night and not being able to fall back to sleep.
Before electricity, we didn’t have much choice but to flow with the circadian rhythm. The sun goes down, we go to sleep. The sun comes up and so do we.
These days, chemicals, electronics, binge-watching TV, and our emotions can cause us to stay up beyond our physical needs.
Ayurveda gives us a few simple guidelines to fall asleep more easily and to sleep more soundly. Here are some ideas.
Ayurvedic Tips for Better Sleep
- Use your bedroom for sleeping. Make your bed and space inviting. Get rid of clutter, electronics, work, etc.
- If you use caffeine or other stimulants, do so before noon. If possible, let go of them completely.
- Have a light, healthy dinner earlier in the evening. Make lunch your biggest meal.
- Remove lights that stay on all night from the bedroom, such as electronics, plugs, clocks. Turn off notifications on your phone. Consider leaving your phone in another room so you don’t have the urge to check it.
- Stop using electronics at least an hour before your sleeping time. Set a regular sleep time as early as you can and stick to it.
- Create a simple nighttime routine consisting of a regular bedtime, a warm bath or gentle oil massage, warm milk or soothing nighttime tea such as chamomile.
- You might also consider a restorative yoga pose such as Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Bound Angle Pose) lengthening your exhalation, such as breathing in to a count of 4 and breathing out to a count of 8. Or try an evening guided meditation.
- Exercise in the morning or early afternoon, not in the evening, so that your energy is not spiked before trying to sleep.
This may seem like a long list. Remember that you don’t have to do them all. Choose the easiest item to add into your routine and try it for a few days. Then add in another. Keep track of your changes in a journal. See what works for you.
Be patient. It may take some time to change your habits. The benefits of getting enough sleep are many. People who sleep well have an easier time maintaining their weight, handling moods, learning, healing, remembering, productivity and overall wellness.
You don’t have to suffer from lack of sleep. Try one or two of these Ayurvedic tips to start, and see what works for you. If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear them.