Ayurveda & a good night’s sleep: why a healthy day/night cycle is so important

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Ayurveda & a good night's sleep: why a healthy day/night cycle is so important
Within Ayurveda, the connection between our health and lifestyle and the connection with nature is of great importance. Health is seen here as a complex, personal, and constantly changing experience that we enjoy when we are in balance with our inner constitution and the world around us. One of the ways to improve our health and lifestyle is to maintain regular sleep times. This is discussed further in this article.

The importance of sleep

Waste products are mainly processed by our body after 10 pm and this activity is less strong when we are awake and active. In addition, our immune system has to revitalize itself between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Sleep is therefore very important. In addition, it is good for us to stick to fixed sleeping times.

Why a healthy day/night cycle is so important

Our body goes through a number of cycles that are connected with external signals from nature. We all have a biological clock. It consists of patterns of repetitive activity related to the cycles of day and night. It involves patterns that repeat themselves every day and somehow coincide with the solar day.

Ayurveda & a good night's sleep: why a healthy day/night cycle is so important

This not only concerns the sleep-wake cycle, but also the rise and fall of our body temperature and the influence of certain biochemical substances and enzymes. For example, our body temperature rises during the day and is at its highest in the evening and then falls again.

How sleep affects our diet

A healthy day/night cycle ensures a healthy secretion of hormones. Think of hormones that are involved in our eating habits, but also, for example, hormones that are related to a good night’s sleep, immunity, and recovery. For example, our main appetite hormones regulate the yin and yang of our diet.

This means that they tell us when we are hungry and when we have eaten enough. It turns out that when we don’t get enough sleep, both hormones get out of balance, affecting our hunger pangs and appetite. So sleep deprivation disrupts the connection between our brain and stomach and our healthy diet can be disrupted when our body thinks it is hungry when it isn’t.

The big influence of sleeping habits

However, sleep is not only important for balancing the yin and yang of our diet. The quality of your sleep and the amount of sleep you get have a major impact on almost every system in your body. Sleeping habits actually influence everything: how we eat, how fat we become, how strong our immune system is, but also how creative and astute we can be and how we deal with stress. Poor sleep habits can also lead to memory loss, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Sleep in relation to Ayurvedic dosha types

Ayurveda & a good night's sleep: why a healthy day/night cycle is so important

Earlier in this article, it was mentioned that our body goes through a number of cycles that are connected to external signals from natureAccording to Ayurveda, our internal cycles, which are related to the external cycles of nature, are regulated by the time the sun rises and sets and are characterized by a relationship between the three doshas.

Every day there are two primary cycles of changes in the body, each of which includes a Kapha, pitta, and vata phase. The first cycle takes place between sunrise and sunset and the second between sunset and sunrise. The cycles begin with kapha characteristics, followed by pitta and vata. What exactly both cycles look like is shown below.

First cycle (day):

  • Kapha: 6:00 AM–10:00 AM
  • Pitta: 10am–2pm
  • Vata: 2–6 p.m.

Second cycle (night)

  • Kapha: 6–10 p.m.
  • Pitta: 10 p.m.–2 a.m.
  • Vata: 2am-6am

During the period of the day or night that corresponds to your predominant dosha, you are most sensitive. This is the time when you need to be extra alert to stay in balance. Vata types tend to be light sleepers by nature, but they do need a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night.

They may also benefit from a daytime nap. Pitta types, on the other hand, sleep deeply and therefore need less sleep, namely six to eight hours. Kapha types can tend to sleep too long and would do well to stick to seven to eight hours a night and not take a nap during the day. What also works well for this type is getting up when the sun comes up.

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