Healthy Sleep Patterns During The Seasons

Sleep is considered to be a vikara (defect) is not supposed to be there in condition of the an ideal body, where there is no hunger, digestion or physiological wear and tear in the body. According to Ayurveda, body is considered capable of absorbing direct energy from sun, just like mobile or laptop, like the way our body synthesizes vitamin D; which was the concept behind morning and evening sun worship ūüôā

But since we eat and produce digestive waste and toxins, do physical and mental work; we have Vata accumulation in the body (can be understood as formation of lactic acid after physical labour, which is removed while resting.). Therefore sleep is indispensable for us.

It is said that only a person with clear conscious has peaceful sleep. Not only peaceful and deep sleep, his mind is always free of conflict and stress. As discussed earlier, our body is an extension of our mind. So the state of mind is reflected in the body.

Sleep reduces metabolism, both in terms of physical labour and bio chemical reactions in the body. It increases inertia, stability and has a cooling effect on the body.

Do Never Sleep Hungry

When the external environment is cold, the body needs to maintain the temperature either by physical labour or by the heat of digestion. There is no option of physical labour during sleep. So body burns the ingested food. If there is no food, body burns the stored fat. Practice of going to sleep empty stomach reduces the insulation benefits of the fatty layer gradually. This is particularly dangerous in the cold seasons. Therefore it is said that one should not go to sleep empty stomach, esp. the lean ones. Practice of going to sleep hungry is not good for fat people either since it increases Vata effect. When you start to sleep hungry, the first few days body secretions burn the stomach walls. In Pitta people, the secretions are strong enough to initiate stomach ulcers. Later the body adapts to the external low or zero food input and reduces the digestive secretions. This reduces the capacity to digest at the particular time when you skip the food and weakens the overall digestion. Body gets the indication that when it is hungry, it might not get the food; and makes abnormal modifications in its digestion process to accommodate hunger periods.

 

Seasonal Sleep Requirements

 

During Visargkal РVarsha, Sharad and Hemant, the nights are longer than the days so the amount of proper night sleep is ample for a healthy person.

The rate of metabolism should be kept high in these seasons to help the body get enough heat from body activity or digestion.

Sleeping in daytime will slows the metabolism and body might reduce the heat distribution to certain parts. This might vitiate Kapha and may cause drowsiness, uneasiness or headache. It will make fertile ground for development of other Kapha disorders ranging from common cold to sinusitis in the long run, depending on the Prakruti of the person.

Therefore day sleep or afternoon nap should be avoided during these seasons.

Also according to terrain, people in cold or hilly areas should not sleep in daytime normally.

Places close to equator, where the duration of days and nights do not change significantly with the seasons, afternoon nap is a very healthy thing.

The recommended afternoon nap should not be immediately after the lunch. Please ensure a gap of ¬Ĺ hour (Pitta) to 1 hour(Vata, Kapha) between the lunch and the nap.

The sleep habits can balance as well as vitiate the Dosha physiology during different seasons.

Ideal Sleep Pattern according to seasons and Prakruti

Hemant (fall)

In this season, the body gets ample rest at night, so no need for afternoon nap.

Vata Рno sleep in the daytime, unless extremely tired

If you sleep, sleep duration should not be longer than 1 hour

No sleeping in evening after 4 pm

Same for Pitta

Sleep strictly prohibited for Kapha Prakruti

Shishir (winter)

Kapha vitiation in this season invites maximum possibility of common cold, cough etc.

One should not drink cold water if you are thirsty in the middle of the night, esp. Kapha people. Prefer using warm water stored in thermos.

Day sleep is a complete no unless you are very sick, because it will decrease metabolism and heat production make your body more susceptible to cold and coughs.

So sleep pattern for all Prakruti is same as Hemant

Vasant (spring)

Uttarayan starts with spring and the days start getting longer, following the Sandhikal practices (discussed in Sandhikal Chapter) you should gradually move the body towards afternoon nap. It depends from person to person, but slightly lying down for 15 min. rest instead of proper sleep in afternoon, is a good start for a healthy person.

Kapha gets vitiated during spring. The body is changing the metabolism pattern according to the season as discussed earlier. Therefore sleep pattern according to the Prakruti is :

Vata : ¬Ĺ hour rest in normal conditions

Pitta : ¬Ĺ hour nap in normal conditions

Kapha : 15 min to ¬Ĺ hour rest in normal conditions

Common sense applies everywhere, so if you are sick and need rest then you should sleep as much as your body requires

Grishma (summer)

Now the days are actually longer than the night so the rest required by the body is not fulfilled by night’s sleep. Also if it is very hot in the daytime, then afternoon sleep reduces the metabolic rates, also the heat production by the body.

2-3 hours‚Äô sleep in¬†afternoon¬†is good if possible. Otherwise for office¬†people, a light stroll is better¬†which prevents you from being sleepy.¬†Also¬†the metabolism of¬†people¬†with¬†sitting jobs in ac rooms does not¬†require¬†much¬†sleep¬†ūüėÜ

However if you are in sales job, you should have some rest time in afternoon, sitting.

Again the people in hill stations like Kashmir will do well with no nap or 1/2 hour nap; where as in people in Chennai can sleep from 2-5 pm if possible.

All Prakruti people benefit from this nap according to their need. But there should be no sleep in the evening time.

 

Varsha (Rainy season)

The temperature shift is very rapid in this season; the body and digestion is weak. And there is Vata vitiation as discussed in Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha. This is the time to strengthen the digestion for next season and build overall body strength. Because of vata disturbance, so it is very important that you do not sleep immediately after taking food at night, because that will slow the digestion process and start fermentation, which will make you disposed to gas problem, acidity and constipation.

Gradually reduce the sleep from the summer duration to a slight rest by the time Rains start. Sleeping in daytime is prohibited in Varsha.

The sleep reduction completely depends on the strength and requirements of individual. Follow basic sleep schedule and make sure that you reduce your sleep to nil by the time Sharad sandhikal ends.

Sharad (autumn)

Sharad has Pitta vitiation which sleep can pacify as it has a cooling effect and reduces Vata and Pitta.

Vata: ¬Ĺ hour rest in normal conditions

Pitta: ¬Ĺ hour nap in normal conditions

Kapha: 15 min to ¬Ĺ hour rest in normal conditions

Same for Pitta

Sleep strictly prohibited for Kapha Prakruti

Good Sleep Tips

  • Always keep a gap of¬†minimum1 hour¬†between¬†meal and sleep, that means¬†you¬†should not sleep before 1 hour after meal, however it¬†is¬†not¬†necessary¬†vice versa
  • Also walking 100 steps after¬†dinnerhelps¬†in¬†better¬†digestion¬†and¬†significantly¬†prevents gas¬†trouble.
  • Beforegoing¬†to¬†sleep,¬†you¬†can¬†try 5 min¬†meditation¬†or yoga nindra¬†exercise¬†for¬†quality sleep.
  • Do not sleep during the transition period of daybreak or evening, esp. evening.
  • Ideal adequate sleep time is from 10 pm to 6 am. All Prakruti people should follow this.
  • Best time for deep sleep is from 12 am to 4 am and it must not be missed. This is minimum sleep you should have everyday

Who should sleep in day time in all seasons

Below is the list of types of work or engagements, which might weaken a person. A person weakened by excessive activity of this kind, can sleep in daytime if required, in all seasons.

  • Person weakened by
    • Excessive singing (professional singers)
    • Excessive study (Students who do night study)
    • Drinking (sleep eliminates the effect of liquor to a large extent)
    • Excessive vomiting, loose motion etc
    • Panchkarma
    • Carrying load (Manual workers with heavy manual work)
    • Excessive walking
  • Patients of indigestion
  • TB Patients
  • Feeble, very thin
  • Old
  • Children
  • Patients of Diahorrea, stomach ache
  • Patients of Asthma, Hiccups
  • Patients with wounds due to fall or accident
  • Mentally disturbed
  • Tired due to journey or sleepless night
  • Tired due to excessive anger, grief or fear
  • Used to sleeping in day( Satmya)

Who should never sleep in day time

  • Obese
  • Ones consuming very oily food
  • Kaphaj Prakruti people
  • Patients with Kaphaj diseases

 

Indicative sleep pattern according to seasons and Prakruti

 


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