Practiced for 5000 years in India , Ayurveda, recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization), comes from sacred texts. This medicine is based on a global vision of the human being , which must be treated as a whole , without dissociating the body from the mind, nor separating the individual from his environment.
Bedtime in Ayurveda
Awakening is very important in Ayurveda. But to wake up in good conditions you still need to have slept well . A good awakening should be prepared the night before. The quality of sleep is essential for both the body and the mind. Getting a lot of sleep is not necessarily a guarantee of quality . Everyone will have their own needs in this area and they change with age.
As we get older
Babies sleep up to twenty hours a day, then the need for sleep gradually decreases . As an adult, eight hours of sleep is enough on average.
Then the duration of the nights decreases further to be limited to five or six hours from the age of fifty. In all cases, it is the energy of Kapha that pushes us to sleep. When we are tired, Kapha takes over and encourages us to rest to recover .
The Ayurvedic tradition
Sleep ensures this physical, psychological and energetic recovery . The sleep we take before midnight is the most restorative. Ayurveda says that “ each hour of sleep taken before midnight counts as two .”
This is why it is advisable to go to bed early and wake up very early, before dawn, a little before sunrise.
Ayurvedic tradition believes that complete lack of sleep leads to death. Western science agrees with this statement.
The influence of Vata
But Ayurveda gives an original explanation: insomnia increases the influence of Vata ; this excess dries out the body, weakens the mind and disrupts breathing.
If sleep did not regulate this imbalance , it would lead to death. When sleep is disturbed, it is advisable to reduce the influence of Vata by all means: diet, plants , daytime activities, etc.
Sleep is also the setting for our dreams . Ayurveda takes them into account and uses them as part of the diagnosis. Dreams are supposed to represent the hidden part of who we are, a part to which we do not have conscious access.
A conception which is not very far from what science knows about our dream life. Some dreams are tiring while others are pleasant and refreshing .
To promote the latter, you must prepare well before going to bed:
- We only sleep well in a calm and not too crowded environment.
- The bed should be neither too hard nor too soft , with the head facing east or south
- During the day, moderate physical exercise ensured good oxygenation and blood circulation. When bedtime arrives, the body is ready .
- The evening meal was light so as not to put too much strain on the body during sleep (digestion is very slow when you sleep).
- It is advisable to do some relaxation exercises before bed: lying down with your eyes closed, breathing calmly, try to mentally walk through the different parts of the body, starting with the head and working towards the extremities. Then we stretch, breathe deeply and yawn voluntarily (this is a yoga practice) and we are ready for the nighttime wash.
- These consist of cleaning the feet , hands and face . Then we put on our night clothes , we possibly do a little meditation and we are finally ready to go to bed.
The night that follows will have every chance of being serene and restorative !