OMG GET SOME SLEEP
Ayurveda stands on three pillars of health. The first being Ahara, or your relationship with food. Missed the deets on this? Go here.
THE SECOND PILLAR: NIDRA
(a.k.a your relationship with your sleep rhythms)
Are you tired?
No energy, or inconsistent energy?
Lazy, lethargic, sluggish?
Can’t get out of bed in the morning,
Or staying up too late at night?
There’s some Ayurveda for that.
(get it, like “there’s an app for that”... nevermind)
The sad fact is that our culture has created a sleepless monster you guys.
It’s socially normal to
hit the snooze button until we reach a state of “getting ready in chaos”,
to stay up into the wee hours hitting “next episode” on Netflix,
to opt for a late supper, or midnight snacks we mindlessly cram into our mouths in front of the boob-toob.
And I get it. For sure. These things have an air of “I can do what I want” to them. Our brains are tricked into believing these things are a form of comfort, and a comfort we’re choosing.
But they're not. They're habits of the subconscious. Poor ones at that.
Does it really feel better to sleep in until the last minute, than to wake up early enough to feel spaciousness in your morning?
After binge-watching the latest hit series until 11, 12, or 1… do you wake with a feeling of satisfaction?
When the blackout snackout happens, do you sleep well, and wake with mental clarity?
It’s worth it to notice the answers to these questions. 'Cause my friends, by engaging in these habits we’re getting in our own way big time.
Let me remind you here that what is normal in our culture is NOT normal from an evolutionary perspective. You have an addiction to your smartphone? THINK ABOUT THIS; likely every person reading this email was born into a world where smart phones didn't even exist.
And humans (of the most evolved form to date) have been around for 300,000 years.
Do you believe that evolution is pretty smart? Heck ya it is.
Human physiology has some distinct features of a diurnal creature (an animal that’s awake during the day and asleep at night):
Can’t see in the dark
When removed from electricity and technology, naturally aligns to the rhythm of sleeping at night and waking shortly after sunrise
Bile production (for optimal digestion of food) at its highest midday
Natural production of melatonin (sleep hormones) in the evening
So, does it stand to reason then, that if we were to align ourselves to circadian rhythm of day & night (a.k.a. Rising just before or after sunrise, and going to sleep not long after the sun goes down), perhaps our bodies would function more optimally?
This actually isn’t a question. It’s science. Nobel Prize winning science.
In 2017 the Nobel prize winners in physiology confirmed the benefits of alignment with circadian rhythm on the human body. It was concluded that:
“With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day. The clock regulates critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism. Our wellbeing is affected when there is a mismatch between our external environment and this internal biological clock. There are also indications that chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with increased risk for various diseases.”
So What do we do?
We do Ayurveda. That’s what. (yup I just made Ayurveda into a verb).
Ayurveda is translated as the knowledge of life. When you do Ayurveda, you get to know this stuff; how your human body functions. How to run it optimally, for mental alertness, clarity, energy, strength, happiness. All the things. And then poof, like magic, life feels BETTER. Easier, less stressful, less hard, more joyful.
When it comes to your sleep - Ayurvedic teachings recommend creation of a bedtime routine that supports the nervous system in stepping out of fight or flight.
As a society our cortisol levels are too high. There are simple actions you can take to release the day and get a more restful sleep:
Create a habit of sitting at the end of your bed and giving yourself a leg & foot rub. Physical squeezing of the extremities/body is not only grounding, it feels great too.
Turn off your tech!! Allow for melatonin release. For pete’s sake how many times do we have to hear this. It’s so addictive, I know. If you need to work on a healthier relationship with your tech click here.
Make your room extremely dark. Have a sleep mask. Use white noise. You need allll the triggers for sleep hormone release. After supper turn the lights down around your house. Stop tricking your brain into thinking it’s still bedtime.
What would feel good to YOU in terms of a grounding evening routine? A bath, some candles, a chat with a friend, journaling, stretching? What actions might help you feel complete, relaxed, thankful at the end of a chaotic day? Try doing those things. What's stopping you?
Ayurveda is SO straight forward. Ancient traditions that support our ancient, earthly aligned human form, adapted for today’s mess. All you need to do is implement. One little thing at a time.
It’s not always easy, but when you have the right support, it’s ALWAYS easier than you think.