Canggu, Bali, August 2016

Buddhist Monastery, Banjar, Bali, August 2016

Yogi at Hindu Monastery, Kauai, Hawaii, March 2014

The Importance Of Sleep - Part 3

The Importance Of Sleep - Part 3 Pinterest

EVENING DINACHARYA, PART 3: RELAXING ROUTINES

By Shyam Kumar for Yogibeings

 

In Part 1, we looked at how Ayurveda considers sleep to be essential for good health and how establishing a consistent sleep routine goes a long way in enhancing the quality of rest and rejuvenation. Part 2 explained how the night is governed by different doshas at different times and how to synchronise your sleep routine with nature’s rhythm. Now, let’s look at establishing a soothing evening routine to help you wind down and prepare for a night of restful sleep.

 

Following a regular routine reassures your body that everything is well, providing a tremendous sense of comfort. Establishing a daily evening routine ensures that, with time, the body learns that these are signals that the day is ending and to prepare for a good night’s rest. It’s important to be consistent with the routine. Here are some things that you can incorporate into your evening routine:

 

Avoid that evening cup of coffee

 

Drinking coffee or any other stimulant prevents your brain from responding to fatigue, instead making you feel fresh and energetic. This causes problems in trying to sleep early. If you are suffering from sleep-related problems, cutting down on caffeine may go a long way in helping you sleep better.

 

Turn down the lights

 

Our biological clocks are highly sensitive to light. For most living beings, sunset is a signal that the day is winding down and it’s time to rest. In today’s modern life, there is so much artificial lighting that it severely interferes with the natural biological response to sleep. One of the best things you can do is to dim the lights at home as the sun goes down. This sends the signal to your body that the day is ending.

 

Reduce exertion

 

It’s best to reduce strenuous physical and mental activity at least two hours before bedtime.

 

Have an early dinner

 

Have an early dinner to ensure that the food is completely digested before you sleep. This prevents the accumulation of toxic waste (ama) in your body, which could make you feel dull and lethargic. It’s ideal to leave a gap of three hours between dinner and sleep time. To get used to eating early, you can begin by eating a lighter dinner than usual.

 

Wash your face

 

Wash your face with lukewarm water, preferably using an Ayurvedic cleanser. This cleanses the dirt accumulated through the day, removes oil from the pores and helps your skin breathe at night.

 

Massage your feet and scalp

 

Take a few drops of oil and do a slow, relaxing massage of your scalp. Wash and dry your feet and apply a few drops of oil slowly from heel to toe in slow, circular movements of your palm. This removes excess heat and relaxes the entire body.

 

In Part 4, we shall look at a few more things you can do before bedtime and how to incorporate these into our daily lives.