Sleep is one of the pillars of ayurveda (the ancient Indian healing system) and is considered to be as important as diet in maintaining health and balance in the body. Sleep is the time when the body is able to repair and heal itself. If you feel like you’re dragging a lethargic, heavy feeling around with you throughout the day that you can never quite shake off…the solution may be as simple as what time you’re going to bed. Yes, I’m sorry. The moral of this article is to go to bed by 10 p.m.! Don’t blame me; blame the science!
1. Sleep by 10 p.m.
Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., your body does its main rest and rejuvenation of the internal organs, especially the liver, our major detoxification organ. What does this mean? It’s important to be in bed by 10 p.m. so our bodies can replenish and heal themselves during these crucial hours. Before the invention of the electric light bulb around 100 years ago, in the millions of years prior to that, most of us always went to bed at that time! The body’s circadian rhythms (our internal body clock) are aligned for us to go to sleep at around that time. According to ayurveda, this also allows you to use the sleepy, duller kapha (one of the three ayurvedic energy constitutions) time of night to help you fall asleep.
2. Create a bedtime ritual.
Going to bed earlier has proved exponential for me in terms of being a more productive human being. Late at night, when we’re tired, it’s easier to be sucked into the whirlpool of social media or distractions that don’t really serve ourselves in any nourishing kind of way, nor do they help lull us into a quiet, calm slumber. It’s a self-sabotage technique at its best, that really only serves to make the next day less than the best day ever (i.e., you’re more tired, less likely to be productive, and more likely to go down the rabbit-hole of negative thoughts). Not fun at all!
3. Rise early!
As an added bonus, the earlier you go to bed, the more likely you’re going to be able to hop out of bed earlier, rising with the birdsong. According to ayurveda, sleeping past dawn and into the kapha time of the morning (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) causes ama (toxins) to accumulate, creating a dull, tired feeling upon waking. Simultaneously, it’s also going to make you more likely to reach for a cup of the not-so-hormone-friendly java, cranking your adrenals into action to shoot out some cortisol (the stress hormone) to wake you up. Personally, I love to rise early—there’s something about showing up for the day that feels like the day then shows up for you, too. It’s like asking what you want to broadcast for the day? “I’m ready and raring to go! Come at me, world!” Or “Five more minutes, please!” So, take a deep breath, sweet one, and delve deep into yourself with a quick meditation or your personal practice of choice. It will serve not only you but the rest of the day’s calendar, too.