Healthy sleeping habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is referred to as having good sleep hygiene. Sleep is an important part of your daily dinacharya- you spend about one-third of your time doing it. Without sleep, you can’t maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create memories. Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. Your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart and lungs to metabolism, immune function, and mood. Research suggests that sleep plays a housekeeping role that eliminates toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.
Ayurveda’s perspective on sleep Disorders
In Ayurveda, sleep disorders are classified according to dosha. Doshas can have a distinctive influence on our sleep preferences and habits. One’s constitution and the current state of balance will influence the types of sleep imbalances that are most likely to crop up. A vata-predominant individual is more likely to experience vata-type sleep orders. A pitta-type will tend toward pitta sleep complaints. A kapha-type mainly has sleep issues. But any imbalances overlaying the constitution will also influence the situation.
How much sleep do you need?
Your sleep patterns change as your age, but this varies significantly across individuals of the same age.
- Babies initially sleep as much as 16 to 18 hours per day, which boosts their growth and development.
- School-age children and teens require 9.5 hours of sleep per night.
- Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Adults aged 60 and above comparatively experience lighter, interrupted and shorter sleep.
Tips for getting Good Night’s sleep
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Exercise 20-30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before bed
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day
- Relax before bed- try a warm bath, reading or listen to soft music
- Avoid bright lights and loud sounds in your bedroom
- Avoid watching TV or computer late at night
- Avoid taking naps especially in the afternoon
- Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive
- Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning
- Avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bed
Foods to eat before bed
Getting good sleep is important for your overall health. There are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep. Making changes to your diet have sleep-promoting properties. Here are the best foods to promote healthy sleeping.
- Almonds are a source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
- Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that may promote sleepiness.
- Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which improve sleep quality when eaten before bed.
- Wallnuts are the best food sources of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
- White rice has a high glycemix index which promotes better sleep.
- Milk contains tryptophan and melatonin which provide soothing backdrop for a relaxing bedtime routine.