Importance of Sleep
Updated: 5 days ago
TODAY'S TOPIC: IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
As we have been covering the topic of Women in the Workplace, I have been receiving a lot of great feedback from some of you. One of the biggest topics/complaints that I have heard is the struggle of sleep. Now more than ever, the importance of sleep needs to be a priority. We can experience it on an obvious or superficial level, but did you realize that inadequate sleep can affect weight gain or loss, your mood, your fertility, your memory, and beyond? In Caraka Samhita, one of the most relied upon ayurvedic texts states:
“Due to proper and adequate sleep, body tissues and doṣas remain in a balanced state of health, both physically and mentally. Caraka states that obesity and emaciation, happiness and sorrow, strength and weakness, virility and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, life, and death are all dependent on adequate and inadequate sleep.” - Caraka Saṁhitā (Sū 21:36)
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP: WHY AND HOW
Many questions that I hear is, how many hours of sleep should I be getting each night, what pills can I take to sleep better, etc. I want to dive deeper than that and not focus so much on what but more of the why. We do not want to put a band-aid on the issue because a temporary relief will not stop the problem. There are diet and lifestyle shifts that can be made to allow you to sleep better resulting in you showing up as your best self when you are awake.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP: BODY FUNCTION
While we sleep, blood pressure falls slightly, pulse rate decreases, muscle tone decreases, skin vessels dilate, and gastrointestinal tract activity sometimes increases. Therefore, the importance of sleep is at the top of the list. When we do not sleep well, then these normal functions start to become affected and less effective.
Staying awake at night can aggravate vāta and pitta doshas, which can cause constipation, weakness, lack of concentration and may create more irritation and overwhelm in your life. It can be a useful practice to acknowledge and journal the day’s accomplishments and the things that must be attended to the following day. This allows us to move on from the day and to reflect upon our responsibilities without bringing them into our sleep as a disturbance or unsettled thoughts.
According to Ayurveda, the ideal sleep for adults over 18 is 8 hours. For clients that I work with, I normally advise for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours on average. What is more important than the number is the consistency and time of night that you are sleeping.
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP: SLEEPING DURING DAYTIME
I often get asked about naps, and I wanted to debunk that right away. A generally healthy person should not sleep during the day. The only exception is during the summer. Because of the pitta-like qualities of light, hot and sharp, any excess Kapha will be mitigated. In other seasons, sleep during the day tends to increase Kapha, which could look like heavy energy, weight gain, increased mucus, and beyond...
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP: TAKE ACTION
For the next week or so, monitor your sleep. Ask yourself:
What time are you falling asleep?
What time are you waking up?
Is it the same time every day?
How do you generally feel in the morning?
If you are waking up or having trouble falling asleep, what is on your mind? The past or the future?
This is our starting point for the series forward. I cannot wait to connect with you to discuss how you can sleep better. The importance of sleep is real friends. Get some good rest!
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