Sleep—such a healing balm and one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda. When sleep is off, everything is off. And when sleep is good—well, we all know the amazing feeling of a good night’s rest.
Ayurvedic tips to support good sleep start with lifestyle. Good sleep hygiene begins with everything we do after the sun goes down. Make your evenings all about unwinding, connecting with loved ones, and easy activities. If you must bring your work home, finish it as early as you can.
Good evening activities include:
a stroll outdoors
household chores with other family members
playing games with family
sharing with loved ones or journaling
taking a warm bath
restorative yoga or meditation
relaxing and inspiring music/media/books
sipping herbal sleep tea (Tulsi Sleep Tea, Sleepy Time…)
Low lighting in the evenings helps prepare the body to sleep. Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates our circadian rhythm, is triggered to release as it gets dark. Too much artificial light, including light from screens, keeps melatonin from secreting, which may keep us from sleeping well. So get into the habit of Unplugging from computers and other screens an hour before bed, and dim the lights or light a candle in the evening (ideally keep all electronics out of your bedroom, or at least put them in airplane mode for sleep).
Our capacity to sleep and to rest is intimately tied in with our level of calm. If the mind doesn’t have any other time to process the day, it will do so at bedtime, and we might be too stimulated to sleep. If this is you, try a brain dump before bed. Simply sit down with a notebook and get everything on your mind out onto the page, so the mind knows you are tracking it, but the mind doesn’t have to be the tracker.
According to Ayurveda, sleep happens best:
on an empty stomach (have an earlier, lighter dinner).
in a cool room.
in a dark room (use a sleep mask).
in a quiet space (use ear plugs).
by 10 pm
Other support for good sleep:
massage sesame oil into the soles of your feet at bedtime.
Here’s to a good night’s rest for all.