Sleep is important for the effective working of both our physical and emotional well-being. Being well rested means you will be able to focus better, process new information, and be alert to learn new things. Erratic sleep routines and certain ailments, however, make it difficult for a lot of us to sleep well.
As per Ayurveda, each of the 3 doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – fluctuates through the day and reaches a peak at particular times (8 hours each) of the day.
- Vata dominates 2–6 morning and evening
- Kapha dominates 6–10 morning and evening
- Pitta dominates 10–2 morning and evening
Since each dosha has different characteristics that can assist your body functions, it’s best to sync your actions with the relevant dosha. For instance, pitta has a fiery nature that helps you digest better; so eating your meals at the peak of pitta dominance, that is midday, is the best option.
[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Vata type insomnia is associated with difficulty falling asleep and waking up too early in the morning, along with emotions such as fear and anxiety. A small cup of hot milk with Ashwagandha and nutmeg before bed can be helpful. Another helpful technique is to try a warm oil foot massage before bed, covering the feet with socks.”]
Wake Up Before Sunrise
Wake-up before sunrise (i.e., 6 am) when vata is predominant. Once the sun is up, we begin to be under the influence of kapha whose qualities are heavy and wet, making us sleepier. In fact, Kapha-dominant people will find it harder to wake up after 6 am. Waking up during vata dominant period instills vata’s mobile, clear, ether-like qualities, which will support your meditation and yoga practice.
Have Lunch At Midday
Ayurveda encourages us to eat our primary meal in the middle of the day, when the fire of pitta dominates. Pitta is fiery and hot in nature. So eating a large meal for lunch can be easily digested by the fiery (agni) quality. Eating after the pitta period (after 2 p.m) will cause difficulty in digestion.
Have A Light Dinner Long Before Bed
Ayurveda recommends a light supper so your body can finish digesting your food long before bedtime as it will not interfere with the sleep process. A light supper is advised because when you have your dinner around 7 or 8, your body is still under kapha dominance and does not have the assistance of pitta required to digest a heavy meal.
[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Pitta type insomnia is associated with waking up in the middle of the night, often accompanied by sensations of heat or burning, sometimes with emotions such as frustration or anger. To prevent this, practice meditation regularly, use cooling and relaxing herbs such as Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica) and Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), and bathe the legs and feet with cold water before bed.”]
Sleep Before 10 pm
Kapha starts becoming dominant from 6 in the evening. Kapha makes for a dull, slow, and stable energy. Usually, this is the time when we drink the biggest cup of tea or coffee in the day. This usually interferes with the natural kapha energy, causing a crash later. To regain energy, we drink even more coffee or tea and stay up late. But sleeping after 10 pm – the hour of pitta dominance – causes restless sleep, especially for pitta body types.
In the 4 hours of pitta dominance at night (10 pm to 2 am), your body digests experiences, emotions, and remaining food and repairs and renews itself. Because pitta is fiery and hot, if you fight through the drowsiness of kapha time and stay up late, you will end up staying up and feeling sleepy only after 6 in the morning when kapha kicks back again.
Although the time of each dosha dominance does not change in the day, every individual according to his prakriti or dosha can follow certain recommendations mentioned below.
|Activity||Ideal Time for Vata||Ideal Time for Pitta||Ideal Time for Kapha|
|Waking||6 am||5:30 am||4:30 am|
|Breakfast||8 am||7:30 am||7 am|
|Lunch||11 am–12 pm||12 pm||12 pm–1 pm|
|Supper||6 pm||6–7 pm||7–8 pm|
Sleep on your back
Sleep on your right side
Sleep on your left side
Exercise As Per Your Dosha For Better Sleep
Regular exercise, especially yoga for good sleep, improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps in relaxation and improves digestion and elimination.
- Sun salutation x 12, done slowly
- Leg lifting
- Camel pose or ushtrasana
- Cobra pose or bhujangasana
- Cat pose or marjarasana
- Cow pose or bitilasana
- Slow, gentle exercise
- Moon salutation x 16, moderately fast
- Fish pose or Matsyasana
- Boat pose or naukasana
- Bow pose or dhanurasana
- Calming exercises
- Sun salutation x 12, done rapidly
- Bridge pose or setu bandha sarvangasana
- Peacock pose or mayurasana
- Palm tree pose or tadasana
- Lion pose or simhasana
- Vigorous exercise
[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Regardless of body type, good sleep hygiene follows the natural rhythms of the daily cycle, making sure to retire shortly after the sun sets, or by 10 pm at the latest. The notion of someone being a “night owl” is a recent invention that followed the advent of electric lighting. Excess exposure to light before bed itself is a cause of insomnia.”]