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How To Get Better Sleep

by Ayurveda Therapist on July 5, 2011

Nidra – Sleep
Sleep is a state of consciousness in which the senses (indriva) and the mind (manas) withdraw from their activities and the body relaxes. Sleep is essential for optimal health, mental concentration, sexual energy, physical strength, and to digestive power. Sleep is when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated to allow for rest and digestion. Sleep is therefore a great healer and increases the overall strength and immunity of the body. Adequate sleep enhances fresh, clean, and beautiful mind and body. It is healthiest to sleep when it is dark out and not in the mid-day.

Two Types of Sleep:
Deep Dreamless Sleep – Restores physical body
Active, Dreaming Sleep – Clears the mind of conflicting emtions.

General Advice for Peaceful Sleep
1. Wash Up: Wash your hands, face, and feet. Clean your teeth and mouth before sleeping. This action helps to stimulate the Marma points associated with sleep. The hands and feet have Naadis that go directly to your eyes to induce sleep.
2. Watch What You Eat: Do not eat or drink for 2 hours before going to sleep (especially very spicy, greasy, oily foods, black coffee, black tea, alcohol). All increase restless sleep.
3. Meditation: Meditate briefly to clear the cares of the day before you close your eyes. Mantra for inducing sleep, or chanting. Apply jasmine or sandalwood to heart chakra and 3rd Eye. Journal thoughts into notebook, close it and keep thoughts there.
4. Create a Comfortable Place for Sleep: Sleep in a quiet, slightly cool, well ventilated space away from the smoke or smell of food (not near the kitchen). Smell awakens the CNS and increases the alertness.
5. Position Yourself Well: Lay on the right side to promote the most restful sleep. (more moon energy). Left side ok, don’t sleep on the belly.
6. Practice Pranayama: – Breathe through the left nostril (Ida) to naturally calm and cool the body. This is due to moon energy. You may even close the right nostril to help with this.
7. Matter of Direction: Sleeping with head in the East for the most meditative sleep and pleasant dreams. Sleeping in the West evokes disturbing dreams and restless sleep. Sleeping with your head in the South works with the polarity of the Earth to charge and heal the body. Your head in the North will be draining of energy. If you are ill, never sleep this way as it is considered to make recovery much slower and more difficult.
8. Marma Points: Rub gently over eyelids 7 times with thumbs- marma points to induce sleep.
9. Relaxation Therapies: Therapies like Abhyanga, Shirodhara, massaging the head, applying oil on the hands and soles of the feet are useful.
10. Herbs for Better Sleep:
• Ashwaganda (root powder with glass of milk at bedtime)
• Valerian Root (Tagara)
• Mansamitram Vatakam – 1-2 pills at bedtime with a glass of milk. Take at least 1 week to see change.

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