Insomnia is one of the most common ailments worldwide for various reasons. Some reasons are due to medications that people are on, as well as taking in caffeine late in the day or using electronics late at night, which can get in the way of melatonin production. So many people go on sleep medications to treat insomnia, and sometimes they are needed. However, many other natural practices can help optimize sleep, such as Ayurvedic practices.
Ayurvedic practices and rituals can optimize your sleep and enhance overall well-being. Techniques such as aromatherapy, pranayama (breathing exercises), and energy balancing create a peaceful sleep environment, balance your doshas, and promote restful and rejuvenating sleep. Let’s explore this further. However, before doing that, let’s discuss why sleep is essential for your well-being.
Why Sleep Is Essential for Your Well-being
Sleep is one of the basic biological needs, aside from food, water, and shelter. When you get good-quality sleep, your body can repair any cellular damage from being awake during the day. You need sleep to create balance to stay as healthy as possible. But a few hours of sleep each night will not help you stay healthy, as you need at least six hours of good-quality sleep and no more than nine if you are healthy.
Continuous poor sleep can put you at risk for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health problems. Not only can continuous poor sleep put you at risk for depression, continuous brain fog, and anxiety, but it can also put you at risk for cardiovascular ailments, blood sugar imbalances, obesity, and many more problems.
That is why you want to do what you can to get the best quality sleep possible, even if you have needy dependents or a demanding work schedule. You can always recharge yourself with naps if necessary. You will want to know about utilizing Ayurvedic rituals to sleep properly.
You Will Want To Know About Utilizing Pranayama
Pranayama or breathwork can be beneficial for helping you fall and stay asleep. There are several Ayurvedic breathwork exercises that you will want to try, such as the 4-7-8 breathing method, box breathing, or doing the three-part breath. The most popular pranayama technique for promoting sleep is the 4-7-8 breathing method, as it is meant to calm your mind so you can drift off.
You get comfortable and then take a few breaths to get started. Then, begin inhaling and counting to four. Then, hold your breath as you count to seven, and then exhale while counting to eight. You can take a break and resume if you need to do it again.
Another type of common pranayama technique for promoting sleep is box breathing. During box breathing, you retain air at the top of your inhale and at the bottom of your exhale. This is known as Sama Vritti breath or equal-length breath. Take a deep breath for four counts after getting comfortable. Exhale for four counts before holding at the bottom for the exact count.
For a few rounds, decide whether four is a comfortable breath count, and make it longer or shorter as necessary. Take a few minutes to practice this breath pattern. After you get comfortable, you can move on to another round or take a brief break before starting a new one.
The three-part breath is the last helpful pranayama technique for helping you fall asleep. The three-part breath is a simple and effective breathing technique. As you inhale, you breathe first into your belly and chest and exhale. Slowly and deliberately inhale into the belly, up into the chest, and effortlessly exhale. With each exhalation, soften deeper and be fully present with the breath for around five minutes. Now, let’s go into how aromatherapy can help promote sleep.
Aromatherapy Works Too
Aromatherapy has many benefits, as the calming scents of essential oils have been shown to improve sleep and reduce stress. However, when it comes to utilizing aromatherapy to help promote better sleep, you will want to choose the best essential oils. For example, you do not want to use peppermint oil to help with sleep because it will do the opposite, as it helps with keeping you awake and invigorated.
Therefore, the best essential oils to help you promote sleep in aromatherapy are lavender, chamomile, bergamot, clary sage, and cedarwood oil. They all have calming compounds that will help quiet your mind and body and encourage you to get into a deep sleep. Some oils work better than others for some people, so it may be trial and error for you to land on the best one to help you sleep.
However, you can utilize these oils in several ways. Add a small dab of any of those oils, mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and rub it onto you. Not only will the aroma of it calm you, but you will feel the physical calming effects. You can also put a dab of the best oil onto your pillow, inhale the aroma as you fall asleep, or use a diffuser.
Many people love diffusers as you can add any oil into water, and the diffuser will create a mist in the air with the aroma, which will immediately calm you so you can get into a good slumber. There are other Ayurvedic methods to try.
Try Ayurvedic Soothing Drinks or Specific Teas Before Bed
Consider making some warm organic or almond milk before bed. Consider adding a little nutmeg, which has myristicin, as this component helps you relax. However, regardless of the type, you can always sip on lavender, chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm, or passion flower tea if you don’t like milk. There are various teas you can find at the supermarket that can help you sleep, as there are teas designed for helping you sleep as they contain different calming herbs.
However, you will want to ensure you don’t drink too much of it, or else you will have to go to the bathroom often at night, defeating the purpose. One small cup is all you need for it to do the trick. It will put you in sleepy and relaxing mode. However, it also matters when you sleep, as it impacts your doshas, which are the Ayurvedic mind and body traits that influence your energy or qi throughout the day. Therefore, you must go to bed before 10 pm to balance your doshas.
Get To Bed Before 10 pm
You must get to bed before 10 pm to balance your doshas. Your body has its natural rhythm, which means the day does too. The Ayurvedic belief is that there are two 12-hour cycles that have three four-hour cycles ruled by a particular dosha, as these doshas influence the daily energy.
The first daily dosha is called Vata, as space and air rule it as it is an ideal time for creativity in the daytime and for dreaming at night. The Vata cycle lasts from 2 am to 6 am. The next dosha is the Kapha cycle, which lasts from 6 am to 10 pm, as earth and water rule this dosha, which can make you feel tired. The last dosha is Pitta, lasting from 10 pm to 2 am; as fire rules it, it helps with daily productivity and nightly metabolic processes. You want to go to bed before Pitta time to balance your doshas.
Ayurvedic doctors explain that it is ideal to go to bed before 10 pm before the fiery Pitta energy begins, and it is best to wake up by 6 am because the lethargic Kapha cycle begins. It may be a challenging cycle, but if you want to balance your doshas and make the daily ones work for you, you can practice it slowly until you can get there. That also means you will want a good routine to help you straighten your sleep hygiene.
Get on a Good Routine While Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
To help you get the best sleep schedule so you can get the best quality sleep means you want to get yourself on a great routine to keep your sleep hygiene clean. When your routine is imbalanced, it will disturb your sleep. That means you will want to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, as going to bed before 10 pm and waking up before 6 am is ideal based on keeping your doshas balanced, but do your best with that. You also want to eat simultaneously daily by maintaining caffeine at bay by 2 pm.
Also, unplug for at least a half-hour before bed, and keep screens away. Keep your room dark, as the darkness will help promote melatonin production, the hormone you need to sleep. Do some meditation before bed to help you get into a calm state while taking advantage of the calming essential oils mentioned earlier in the article. Journaling before you turn off the lights is also a good idea.
Journaling Helps Before Bed
Because of having busy days, your mind is active, and the more stress you have in a day, the more active your mind will become. You cannot turn off your brain like a switch as soon as you lie on your bed and put your head on your pillow. That will lead to a poor night’s sleep quality with tossing and turning. Therefore, journaling before bed is the best way to clear your mind. You can meditate, but journaling will help you release those thoughts even more.
You may have so many thoughts about your to-do list, so spend a few minutes journaling them, and leave them in your journal so you don’t need to worry about them in bed. When you journal, write down your worries from the day, the to-do lists that you want to tackle the next day, and also positive experiences you had to remind yourself that there are good things in life, too, mixed with the stress.
Having a gratitude journal can help you, too, as you can focus on what you are grateful for before hitting the sack, putting you in a good place before bed.
If you struggle with insomnia, you will want to try those Ayurvedic rituals before bed to get a restful sleep. Firstly, staying on a set daily routine while keeping your sleep hygiene clean is essential to get yourself in place for a good restful sleep. Utilize calming essential oils, drink Ayurvedic drinks for sleep, whether warm milk or a calming tea, and journal before bed. Attempt going to bed before 10 pm and waking up by 6 am as that will help you balance the doshas, but if you struggle with it, do your best. Utilizing these Ayurvedic rituals will likely help you sleep well, but if not, then you will need to see your doctor.
If you want to know more, you can read this article by Healthline.