The secret ingredients of great sleep
For 6000 years the compassion of Ayurveda has given secrets to great sleep.
The necessity of this for wellness, vitality and fulfillment is not a modern phenomena or fad. What is modern though is chronic lack of good sleep. In our contemporary overloaded, busy, crowded, highly stimulated lives for all the instant gratification and acquiring, refreshing sleep remains elusive for so many.
Of course, depending on your individual circumstances, life situation, stage of life, lifestyle, health or illness, sleep will be influenced. And, it may be that consultation is even necessary with an experienced holistic health professional.
That being said, there are some simple golden rules to follow for good sleep:
10pm is the golden hour to be in bed daily for good sleep. Ideally in bed by 10pm and lights out, definitely asleep by 11pm. This is a pillar, conducive to daily rhythms, especially those of digestion. Catch this window to go to bed and rest or you become inwardly overstimulated. This occurs digestively, mentally, a whole body experience. Yes, potentially, your second wind kicks in.
Lay on your left side for 5-10 minutes on first going to bed. Then you can lay on your back or right side as most comfortable for you to sleep. Even your tummy if that’s what does it for you. This encourages good movement of all motion internally and supports your digestive processes.
Rub ghee into your temples for 1 minute, before going to bed.
Avoid mentally stimulating activity for an hour before going to bed. This includes all screen activity. I know, I know….I live in the contemporary world as well and some days depending on what you’ve got going on, it’s so hard to pull yourself away. Most days though it’s simply a habit. Challenge yourself and cultivate a new habit. Turn off the screens (FYI computer, tablet, phone, television are all screens!) Seriously, you wish to become ready for spiritualised slumber and nourishment not stimulated and ready for action.
Ideally do not have electronic equipment in your bedroom or sleeping area. If you do, be sure to turn them off at the power source to avoid them subtly impacint and actually stimulating you.
Bedrooms are simply for sleeping. Keep it that way and declutter as much as you can in this room of quietude to foster good rest.
Eat your evening meal at least three hours before bed. Remember when the sun is at it’s highest your digestion is at it’s strongest and after the sun goes down you do not need as much food and have less capacity to digest it well. That does not mean staying up until midnight because you eat a large heavy, rich meal each evening. To the contrary, look at what and how you eat most days. Make small, gentle adjustments where you can and see how you feel. You are so worth this experiment!
Have a warm bath with Epsom salts before bed. If you do not have daily Abhyangha practice (self oil massage), then establish one and do it now! This pacifies and nourishes you deeply imparting inherent strength and gracefulness to the body. It nourishes your nervous system. And, it is an incredibly kind act of self love.
Drink a hot spiced milk in the evening. If you tolerate cow milk then drink preferably organic or bio-dynamic unhomogenised milk. Otherwise you can make this with soy, almond or milk of your choice. Gently bring a cup of milk to boil with ½-1tsp turmeric powder, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, black pepper, ginger. You can add to the hot milk in the cup a medjool date, maple syrup or raw honey. This drink soothes the mental channels like mothers milk to an infant and prepares you for slumber.
Get up at the same time daily.