Ayurveda, the 5,000 year-old science of life from India says that it is best to get to bed each night by 10 PM. But that can be difficult for many of us, given that some great TV shows start at 10 pm and that is the time we are often catching up on e-mail! Ayurveda offers some very compelling reasons why the ideal bedtime is before 10 PM that hopefully, might inspire you to get to bed a little earlier from now on.
Just as Ayurveda divides the calendar into three seasons, one for each dosha, which are subtle energies that carry particular characteristics, Ayurveda also divides the clock into three time periods. Each time period reflects the energy and qualities of a particular dosha, Vata, Pitta or Kapha.
10 pm is the start of Pitta time, which lasts until 2 AM. This is the time when we can get the most restorative sleep. If we aren’t asleep by 10 PM, we experience a kind of “second wind” because Pitta time can be more stimulating and we might even be tempted to succumb to ‘the munchies’ as it gets closer to midnight. If we are already in bed asleep, the body generates heat that can burn up any accumulated toxins.
Sleep comes easier during Kapha time, which ends at 10 PM, because Kapha has the quality of slowness and dullness, which helps us to relax into that sleep state. Another reason to get to bed earlier rather than later is because of the solar energy the earth retains up until midnight. The sleep we experience while this solar energy is in the atmosphere is very rejuvenating and had powerful health benefits.
Another way we can tell that the cycle of nature is conducive to sleep before 10 PM are the ambient sounds outside. Before 10 PM, we can hear the crickets singing in a soft melodic tone, a kind of ‘Kapha lullaby.’ After 10 PM the gentle melody turns into a much more sharp and piercing sound, which is indicative of Pitta.
From 2 AM to 6 PM is Vata time. This is when we dream and our subconscious can creatively work on the problems of the day. The best time to awaken is 6 AM and is in keeping with the cycle of nature and the rise of the sun. 6 AM to 10 AM is Kapha time, when we start our day, meditate, exercise, shower, eat and get organized.
10 AM to 2 PM is Pitta time again. This is when we get the most work done, because when Pitta is at its peak we are at our most sharp and intelligent. This is also the time when our digestion is the strongest, which is why lunch should be the largest meal of the day.
From 2 PM to 6 PM is Vata time, when we are most creative. This is time to brainstorm and problem solve. Come up with new ideas! Then at 6 PM, when Kapha time starts in again, it is time to stop work, and focus on home and family. Spend the hours before bed relaxing, take a warm bath and listen to music, read and generally take it easy so that you are ready for sleep when it is time to go to bed.
Better Sleep Tips Video
Lissa Coffey is an Ayurvedic expert, life coach and author of, “What’s Your Dosha, Baby?” Discover the Vedic Way for Compatibility in Life and Love. Discover your dosha
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