03/31/2014 Mind-Body Health
Restful sleep is an essential key to staying healthy and vital. When you’re well-rested, you can approach stressful situations more calmly, yet sleep is so often neglected or underemphasized.
There is even a tendency for people to boast about how little sleep they can get by on. In reality, a lack of restful sleep disrupts the body’s innate balance, weakens the immune system, and speeds up the aging process.
Human beings generally need between six and eight hours of restful sleep each night. Restful sleep means that you’re not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol to get to sleep but that you’re drifting off easily once you turn off the light and are sleeping soundly through the night. You can get the highest quality sleep by keeping your sleep cycles in tune with the rhythms of the universe, known as circadian rhythms. Ayurveda teaches that the optimal sleep routine is to rise with the sun and go to sleep when it’s dark out, or at least by 10 p.m.
Tips for Getting a Restful Night’s Sleep
- Eat only a light meal in the evening, before 7:30 if possible. The body’s digestive powers are strongest between the hours governed by the Pitta dosha (10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). By eating a light dinner, instead of focusing all its energy on digesting a heavy meal, your body can use the Pitta cycle to detoxify the body and get the deep rest it needs.
- Go for a leisurely walk after dinner
- Be in bed by 10 p.m.
- Download your thoughts from the day in a journal before going to bed so that your mind doesn’t keep you awake.
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