Understanding The Sleep Cycle Through Ayurveda


Sound sleep is one of the most vital aspects of your health.

When you don’t sleep well, it’s hard to feel fully energized and engaged in your daily life.

Good sleep optimizes your optimize your healing, the sharpness of your intellect and your emotional balance. It also boosts the immune system and builds new neural pathways in the brain. 

With the advent of electronics, television and social media, we sometime lose sight of the importance of aligning our rhythms with the natural world. We can stay up late at night, working on our computer, and then wonder why we have a hard time falling asleep at night.

The holistic science of ayurveda (science of wise living) helps us stay connected to Earth’s rhythms with a few basic guidelines. If you’re new to ayurveda, remember that it’s not so important that keep a perfect routine. Just get familiarized with the principles so you can start understanding your own rhythms.

Here they are:

Saluting the Sun: Why Getting Up Earlier Gives You More Energy  

You will probably notice that, when you sleep in, you actually feel more tired throughout the day than if you get up early.

Ayurvedically, this can be explained because the heavy, sluggish qualities of kapha dosha (the earth/water element) predominate between 6 am – 10 am (or after sunrise, depending on your climate). The best way to balance kapha’s typically heavy qualities is to rise before sunrise and to engage in some physical activity at this time (between 6-10 am). This will actually optimize your workout routine & your energy levels for the day, and can even help you to lose weight.

Sleeping in late into the morning will generally aggravate kapha dosha, leaving you feel more tired and slugging throughout the day. You may have noticed this in your own body.

“Rising with the sun is to gives your aura the chance to align with the magnetic field of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. The wisdom of the day will be vibrating in your pituitary gland.” – Berdhanya Swami Tierra


Your Afternoon Siesta: The Upside & Downside

Ayurveda cautions us against napping too much during the day, which can throw off the rest of our sleep cycle for the day.

Of course, ayurveda also makes many exceptions to this rule. Naps during the day are fine if you are ill, healing, pregnant or elderly. Napping can also help to balance vata dosha, and can also help assimilate a change in frequency (energetic shift) or new information.

In modern society, vata-imbalances tend to dominate, occasional napping is can support healing and balance. Just watch for post-nap feelings of kapha aggravation (including signs of depression, lethargy, diabetes, congestion, heaviness or being overweight). After a nap, you can keep yourself in balance through appropriate exercise and diet (e.g. by taking a post-nap walk and preparing lighter foods for dinner).

Go To Bed Early : Catch the 10pm Sleep Train

Having trouble falling asleep?

Sleep tends to come more easily if we go to bed before 10 pm, where the qualities of heaviness and calm predominate in the natural world (kapha time).

After 10 pm, the body experiences a surge of pitta qualities (fire, transformational). If you are awake during this time, you may experience a burst of energy (a ‘second wind’) or start to feel hungry (as pitta ignites the metabolism). However, if you are asleep during this time, your body will direct pitta’s transformational qualities for healing, regeneration and the assimilation of your food and experiences.

Be Flexible.

Your body thrives on routine. However, life will always have its ebbs and flows, and you don’t really need a perfect routine to have great health. Following these rules 80% of the time gives you the strength and stamina to break them whenever you need to.

In the beginning, just notice how great you feel by making a few small changes in your normal cycle. I guarantee that you will quickly notice benefits in your energy levels, mental sharpness, and ability to heal — as well as in your overall well-being.

Sleep well!