September 22, 2019 at 08:06PM by CWC
Here are two things that are old as dirt: the constant quest for a good night’s sleep, and Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old holistic healing tradition that originated in India. Luckily, you’re able to use the latter to aid the former: using Ayurveda for sleep is all about identifying your dosha.
In Ayurveda we have a certain mind-body composite, made up of a combination of three doshas. Your most dominant dosha is a reflection of everything from how you sleep to how you respond to your stress. The idea is that you want your doshas to be balanced, but if something’s a little kilter, that means you’re being pulled energetically pulled one way or another. And just so you don’t fear you’re going to have to learn a whole new zodiac wheel of personalities, there’s only three doshas that determine your energy: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Knowing what dosha (and yes, like a rank amateur I find mine out from a what dosha are you quiz, I’m a Vata) can give you a more personalized wellness map of sorts. And if you’re in the timeless struggle of tossing-and-turning, we have some insight from Oriental medicine specialist and founder of Juhi Center in New York, Juhi Singh, LAc.
Studies tend to show that those who align with Vata have plenty of trouble getting a good night’s rest. Like, perpetual eye baggages is kind of Our Look, and Singh confirms that we struggle the hardest of the three doshas.
“Vata’s tends to have racing minds and difficulty slowing down their thoughts, therefore finding it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep,” says Singh. “Vata’s may wake up feeling restless.”
I’m going to confirm that, too. I keep having a hard time conking out recently and when I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m., I stay up. (It’s been a vicious cycle that may also have to do with a 13-hour time difference from a recent trip overseas.) There are a million things running through my mind before bedtime, so what do you suggest I do about it?
“To ensure a good night sleep for Vata, avoid tasks right before bed,” Singh says. “Take a hot bath with rose oil to calm the mind and relax the muscles. Give yourself a half hour to completely clear your mind and meditate before you go to sleep, letting go of your days worries. Vata’s should avoid caffeine.”
“Pitta’s sleep imbalance occurs when you have no problem going to sleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t find yourself going back to sleep,” Singh says.
The approach you want to take if you’re a restless Pitta? Well, research tends to show that lowering your body temperature can help you achieve a deeper, more unbroken sleep. That’s kind of the methodology you want to apply here.
“Pitta is embodied by fire and heat, so to ensure a good night sleep, keep your bedroom cool,” Singh says. “If the bedroom is hot and stuffy you increase the chances of waking up.”
From my experience, there’s about a million cooling sleep products on the market that can chill you out for this journey to Dreamland. And more bummer news from the caffeine front: no more than 2 ounces a day, and you should be cutting off your java intake at 7 p.m. The good news is that you get a lovely luxe prescription for unwinding pre-sleepytime.
“Take a cool or lukewarm shower before bed, find a lavender essential oil or face mist to use, and avoid consuming liquids before bed,” Singh says.
Kapha’s have literally no problems falling and staying asleep. Must be nice. According to Singh, the only real concern is that they’re getting too much of it.
“This causes laziness and a feeling of lethargy and dullness throughout the day,” she says. “Avoid this by setting an alarm to not go over the recommended 6 to 8 hours. Avoid foods that make you sluggish, such as fried, sugary and heavy meals. The best essential oils for Kapha are eucalyptus or mint.”
And drum roll, please! On the coffee front, Kaphas can have 4 ounces of caffeine a day. We’re all going to save a lot of money on lattes.