I was raised in an all-natural household, where Advil was NEVER welcome. To help soothe stomach pains or headaches, us kids were taught to massage certain pressure points. In my adult age, I find my awareness spreading and turning to other natural forms of healing such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and Ayurveda. What is Ayurveda you ask? Ayurveda is a science of life. “Ayur” means life. “Veda” means science or knowledge. It helps people realize their full human potential through health and wellbeing. Here are some basic Ayurvedic methods of living that you can start implementing today to reach your good health and happiness goals!
Starting with... SLEEP!
A good night’s sleep provides you with a well-maintained foundation. After a full day of work and play, your body is readied for your much needed slumber. Ayurvedic experts recommend a minimum of 6-8 hours of deep sleep each night, most effectively done so before midnight. The goal is to meet your optimum level of rejuvenation.
According to the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, if you sleep “eight hours between ten P.M. and six A.M., you will feel more rested than if you slept eight hours between midnight and eight A.M.” They stress the importance getting an “abundant restful sleep.” It is during sleep that our bodies repair and rejuvenate themselves. A lack of restful sleep causes a physical imbalance, as it weakens our immune system and quickens the aging process.
What is restful sleep?
Restful sleep means natural sleep. It means you are not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol as a sleep-inducing nightcap. Instead, you are relaxing easily into slumber once you lay your head down and turn off the light. This means achieving sound uninterrupted sleep as you dream through the night.
What’s proof of a restful night of sleep?
If you feel energetic and alive when you wake up. (Yes, I promise, it’s achievable!) If you feel tired and sluggish, it’s a sign that something in your sleep routine needs to change. And it can, by doing the following...
An Ayurvedic Routine for Your Restful Night of Sleep (Courtesy of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing): • Eat a relatively light dinner • Take a leisurely stroll after dinner • To the extent possible, minimize exciting, aggravating, or mentally intensive activities after 8:30 P.M. • About an hour before bedtime, run a hot bath into which you place a few drops of Relaxing Abhy Oil • Diffuse relaxing aromas in your bedroom. • As your bath is running, perform a slow self-administered oil massage and then soak in the warm tub for ten to fifteen minutes. • While soaking, have the lights low or burn a candle, and listen to soothing music. • After your bath, drink a cup of warm relaxing herbal tea. • If your mind is very active, journal for a few minutes before bed, “downloading” some of your thoughts and concerns so you don’t need to ruminate about them when you shut your eyes. • Read inspirational or spiritual literature for a few minutes before bed. Avoid dramatic novels or distressing reading material. • Do not watch television or do any work in bed. • Once in bed, close your eyes and simply “feel your body” – this means focus on your body and wherever you notice tension, consciously relax that area. • Then, simply watch your slow easy breathing until you fall asleep. And upon waking (this list may seem daunting—incorporate a number of them then! Some is better than none. Ease your way into it!) • Rise before the sunrise. • Drink a full glass (8 oz.) of room temperature or warm water. • Clean your face, mouth and nasal passages and gargle with salt water. • Do some light yoga or stretching exercises. • Meditate for 20 minutes. • Take a walk or run for ½ hour, 3–4 times per week. • Have a nutritional breakfast according to your body type. • Have a relaxing or complete meal at lunchtime. 11–2 pm. • Relax for ½ hour after lunch. • Meditate in late afternoon before evening meal for 20 minutes. • Eat dinner between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. This should not be a heavy meal. • Allow two hours after your dinner before going to bed. • Bedtime 10:00–11:00 pm. • Give thanks.
Bada-bing, bada-boom, your Ayurvedic Routine for Your Restful Night of Sleep is well underway!
Keep your rested eyes peeled for our upcoming blog post on Ayurvedic dietary health! Good sleeping habits and good eating habits go hand-in-hand when it comes to your happy body!
Blog by Diana Oh