In this podcast, Tiffany (Ayurvedic practitioner) and Vaidya. Jay Parla discuss one of an integral part of our daily routine, sleep. Just as food nourishes the body, sleep tends to nourish our mind, it rejuvenates and makes the entire body systems to reset after a tiring day. From an Ayurvedic point of view, a "deep sleep" is a healthy disconnect of the mind from the body, avoiding any sensation in that period. Lack of it can cause mind-body misalignment and affect our performance and everyday function.

A good night's sleep makes your body and mind refreshed and ready for the next day and brings an added enthusiasm in daily activities, making your day a lot more productive. On the other hand, lack of it can cause mental stress, lack of concentration, irritability, and tiredness. Therefore 7-8 hours of sleep is mandatory for a grown person to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

In case of being unable to get this required amount of sleep, one can do meditation, an hour of which is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep. That brings us to different phases of sleep. According to Ayurveda, there are broadly 3 phases, namely jagrita, swapna, and sushupti.

Jagrita or the awakened state is the initial phase during which the person is still aware of their surroundings. They can hear what is happening in the background and feel if someone touches them. Swapna is the intermediate state where the mind is in a lucid state. And finally, one reaches a Sushupti state, which is what we earlier described as deep sleep. Jagrita and Sapna can be correlated to REM sleep, where the Sushupti is the non-REM sleep state.

Since we're talking about sleep, we shouldn't forget about naps, often taken in the afternoon to 'regain' the energy lost during the day. Though one can take naps in summer for about 30- 45 mins it is advised not to take any otherwise. On the other hand, people above the age of 70 can take naps every day for an hour after their meal for about 30-45 minutes. As this can help supplement their tissue needs. And on the other hand, if they resume working immediately after lunch, their nutritional fluids might not get replenished, leading to deficiencies. It is the same case with someone who is sick or ill.

Sleeping is part of everyone's routine and can be different for each individual. For example, people who work in night shifts have a sleep schedule reversed to that of a person with a 9-5 job. A key to a healthy sleeping habit and also to a positive lifestyle is adhering to a  sleep routine. In the case of people who work at night and face difficulty sleeping during the day can do a series of activities that might help them fall asleep. One is to massage their body with oil before taking a shower and then take a nap. Another can be breathing exercises and massaging the face and structures around the eyes (24:13). There are certain herbs and ayurvedic supplements that might help if one has erratic sleep schedules. Still, it shouldn't become a habit, and people should instead focus on creating a healthier sleep schedule. Ayurveda suggests that one should eat light at night before sleeping, like rice and steamed vegetables or mild meat like fish or chicken, spicy, and pungent acidic food should be avoided since they stimulate the mind and cause difficulty in sleeping.

In conclusion, healthy sleep is necessary for any individual's well being and shouldn't be neglected by calling themselves 'night owls' or 'insomniac.'

Never take your sleep for granted.


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