For many people, the leading cause of lack of sleep is a restless mind. The mind becomes so stressed by the overwhelming influx of information it cannot stop processing.
There is no need to reach for powerful designer drugs or a new expensive mattress when this happens. Existing simple but powerful techniques can slow down the mind and obtain a good quality night’s rest.
Practices That Improve Sleep
Your first tool is meditation. Training your mind to be in the present moment helps shed the day’s worries and gives you a deep restorative sleep. Simple “Empty Bowl” meditation when you concentrate on observing your breath without thinking any thoughts helps a lot. But if you find emptying your mind a challenge, try “Yoga Nidra” meditation. This meditation was created for sleep and teaches you to relax your body. Both types of meditations work very well.
If you are very stressed and need a little help to relax, add aromatherapy to your daily sleep ritual. The best essential oils to diffuse are lavender, frankincense, or German chamomile. You don’t need much: just 5-10 drops total to 1 cup of water.
If insomnia is still a problem, get a Reiki session to help to deal with underlying causes of emotional distress that keep you awake at night.
Respect your biological clock that runs with the changes of the day. In Ayurveda, we recognize that each block of the day has certain qualities. These qualities are linked to three doshas or constitutions: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
- Between 6 am and 10 am, a slow but steady Kapha time is an excellent time to build a solid foundation for the day: never skip your breakfast.
- Between 10 am and 2 pm is enthusiastic Pitta time, the best time to do substantial work and have the biggest meal of the day.
- Between 2 pm and 6 pm is a flexible and creative Vata time, the best time to finish projects or plan for the next day.
- Between 6 pm and 10 pm is slow Kapha time, the time to unwind (unwind does not mean watching TV or browsing the internet, playing video games) and getting ready for bed. Be in bed by 10 pm for the best nighttime rest because the next block is Pitta time.
- Between 10 pm and 2 am is energetic Pitta time – the time for body repair work, not for partying or watching late-night shows. You should be asleep by now. When you stay awake into the Pitta time, it is harder to fall asleep, and unfortunately, you take the energy needed for repair work.
- Between 2 am and 6 am is active Vata time – the time when your immune system starts pushing toxins out of the body and processing emotions. It is also the best time to wake up: shortly before 6 am, refreshed, rested, and ready to start the day.
For the best night’s sleep, be in bed by 10 pm, diffuse essential oils, do your meditation, and wake up by 6 am.