"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow", novelist and poet Charlotte Bronte said it beautifully. All of us at some point have had those nights when sleep eluded us and counting sheep just did not help. Sleep or nidra in Sanskrit is a basic instinct of life. It is a necessity for all living things to revive and restore our bodies, minds and spirits. Along with ahaara (food) and bhramacharya (regulated sexual conduct), it forms one of the three pillars of maintaining a healthy life.
Ayurveda looks at life-and-living through the three energy patterns or doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha. These patterns are said to control pretty much all bodily functions, including sleep. Kapha is a dominant dosha responsible for sleep. And imbalanced sleep is typically due to vitiation of Vata and Pitta doshas. The more we can balance all the doshas with a holistic approach to diet and lifestyle, the better will be the quality of sleep.
Here is an easy-to-follow guide on getting quality sleep, as per your Ayurveda body type.
VATA DOMINANT BODY TYPES
Vata is characterised by its lightness, movement and roughness.
It is crucial for people with aggravated Vata to consume meals that boost Kapha levels in their body. The attributes of weight, quietness and smoothness will enhance as a result.
According to Lineesha Kayachiksta, an Ayurvedic doctor at Greens Ayurveda in Kerala, those with increased Vata should eat substantial and reviving foods. This may consist of:
- Dairy - always look for A2 source
- Soups and stews with meat
- Ghee and butter - Ghrita sattva is medicine for the body
- Rice noodle soup
How to calm aggravated Vata
- Drink warm milk and eat warm food like meat soups
- Massage your body and head using oil
- Try out some calming aromatic oils such as chamomile, lavender and sweet orange in your room
- Focus on healthy, sensuous sex
- Wind down by reducing your activity before bed, particularly an hour before sleep
- Make sure the bedroom is well ventilated
PITTA DOMINANT BODY TYPES
You already have a dominant metabolic fire or agni pattern, and so if your diet contains too much acid or have excess work related stress and anxiety, you can have trouble going to sleep. Here's what you can do.
- Consume cooling foods like fresh fruits and dates.
- Have a hearty to substantial dinner. Due to a strong digestive fire, Pitta-dominant folks may wake up hungry in the middle of the night if they don’t consume a hearty meal before bed.
- Pittas who eat dinner early are advised to have a little snack of puffed rice or a glass of buttermilk before bed if they are still hungry.
How to calm aggravated Pitta
- Yanamandra suggests mixing a teaspoon of Jeevantyadi Gritam or medicinal ghee sattva with an eight-ounce glass of warm milk.
- Choose sweet, pleasant fragrances like rose and jasmine
- Always go to bed by 11 p.m.
- Try massaging your feet with warm ghee
- Consume cooling foods like dates and fresh fruit
- Remember to relax after having sex
KAPHA DOMINANT BODY TYPES
Earth and water are predominant elements in the constitution.
- Foods like vegetable soup and bitter greens, which are warming but refreshing, should be part of the Kapha diet. Dinner should not include any sweets.
- After supper, a brief stroll will aid in digestion. Vigorous exercise should also be a frequent element of the programme for Kapha types.
- For Kapha people, regular dry brushing and udvartana, or dry powder massage, using a combination of different herbs, may also help to enhance metabolism.
How to calm aggravated Kapha
- Wake up early
- Have warm, tangy and light foods like bitter greens and vegetable soups
- Avoid eating sweets after dinner
- After supper, take a little stroll to aid your digestion
- Stay active frequently
- Use more of energising aromas include eucalyptus, rosemary and ginger
- Kaphas benefit greatly from sexual activity
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References : Charak Samhita, Swasvarthya, Astanghridya, Aastangsanghrya