Feeling stressed at work, or tense about those tests? These life occasions can leave us disappointed, anxious and awake at painfully inconvenient times of the night. Speaking from experience, London-based Ayurvedic expert and author of ‘Ayurveda – Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellbeing’, Geeta Vara explains that whatever that is keeping you up at night? It is not worth the negative impact on your mind and body?
Sleep is considered one of the three pillars of life in Ayurveda and we spend nearly 1/3 of our life doing it but are we getting ‘quality time?’ Geeta says that while we sleep, our body is quietly working to detoxify, regenerate and rejuvenate each and every cell of the body, so we need to give ourselves the time to do the maintenance work. She believes that sleep is not a luxury but a necessity to nourish our body, mind and emotions as much as the food we eat.
10 healthful reasons why you should prioritise sleep:
- We will have a much more productive day.
- Our tissue repair happens overnight.
- Wounds get a chance to heal.
- Our muscles get rest and grow.
- Metabolic wastes are prepared for elimination.
- It supports our immune system.
- Increases our energy levels.
- Helps in reducing stress.
- Strengthens memory, concentration and other brain functions.
- Can reduce the risk of health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
10 bedtime rituals that buy you sleep credits:
- Reduce caffeine and avoid after 12 pm.
- Finish your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and preferably by 6:30-7 pm.
- Avoid vigorous exercise after 6 pm and opt to exercise between 6am-10am or take an invigorating morning walk.
- Routine is the key to good sleep and bedtime is naturally best at around 10 pm. This will align with your natural circadian rhythms.
- Avoid all stimulation at least 60-90 minutes before bed. This means, phones, TV, tablets, gripping novels, late night working etc. You know your vice! Keep the bedroom, screen-free. Leave the phone in the kitchen and use a traditional alarm clock.
- Take a warm bath with calming and fragrant essential oils, light some candles, incense, play gentle music, read inspirational writings, meditate, write in your journal, what are you grateful as you reflect on your day?
- Ensure your room is well ventilated and you are getting fresh air.
- Give yourself a warm oil foot massage. Our feet are full of nerve endings and when massaged, they send calming and relaxing signals to the brain to induce sleep. Massaging the temples can work just as well.
- Drink warm spiced milk before bed. Did you know that nutmeg and cardamom have a sedative effect on the mind.
- As you lie in bed, engage in some gentle focused breathing. If you are familiar with yogic breathing techniques from your yoga class, the Ujjaya or Brahmari breath is great at this time.