Get the sleep you’ve been dreaming of
Sleep problems are a national epidemic, and bring misery to millions of us in the modern world. No need to stay up worrying over lost sleep, though. Even if restful sleep seems like a dream, Ayurveda can help.
Deep sleep is what we need to rejuvenate, and most of that restorative deep sleep is experienced in the first 3 hours. After four-and-one-half hours in the sack, we alternately wake up and dream. Yogis say that all you need is one to three hours of sleep if you are, in fact, getting the restorative deep sleep. Most of us can learn to function well with six to seven-and-a half hours of sleep, if we train ourselves to get deep rest.
Start with a few basics: go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even on the weekends) and get regular exercise during the course of the day. Create an inviting sleep atmosphere (using your bedroom only for sleep and sex); keep your room at a comfortable temperature (not too hot or too cold); and to do something relaxing, play soothing music, or meditate, before bed. The Huffington Post has a good overview of the yoga approach to sleep that recommends an ancient technique called Yoga Nidra (the Yogi’s Sleep).
To recover your slumber, start with basics. Get your life regulated. Establish times to wake up, go to sleep, eat, exercise, and enjoy quiet relaxation. Exercise, along with light, initiates the active cycle of the day, so it’s pretty important. But no strenuous exercise after dinner. Most people do well with the conventional breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s best to have a light, early dinner at least two hours before bedtime (no later than 8 p.m.). Eat your main protein of the day at lunch, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, fried foods and strong spices.
For many people, the best plan is to begin winding down after dinner. That means turning down the lights, the TV and the computer. Before bed is a good time for meditation.
Of course, there are many types of herbal tea that can ease you into slumber. Have you tried any?