Sleep and our Ayurvedic body clock
Why is it that we fight sleep so much?
Why do we stay up when we are tired instead of going to bed so that we can get the rest our body is telling us we need? Then when we finally do go to bed we have to drag ourselves out of it in the morning, wishing for more time to sleep and rest! Why do we do this? Why do we love sleep so much but never want to go to bed?
Ayurveda says that our days are divided into time frames and these time frames relate to the elements and our three doshas and effect us in different ways.
Time for transformation
Have you ever noticed that you are really tired but then around 10 o'clock something happens. You get energy again, you don't feel like going to bed, and your up until midnight or well beyond?
Well this second wind that kicks in is all due to the element of fire which is present from 10 pm until 2 am. This fire element give us energy and power and we can quite easily ride this new found energy through the night, getting things done and wasting time.
However, the nature of fire is to transform, and it is the time our body is designed to repair itself. By sleeping we give our bodies the best chance to do this. By staying awake we are depriving our bodies of this natural gift and instead waste that energy watching TV, surfing the net or even working. This is not what we are naturally meant to b doing at this time. There is a reason the sun goes down and we lose light. Nature is telling us to sleep.
The Dream time
The cycle is between 2 and 6 am is the time where the elements of ether and air are strongest and a great time for creativity and dreaming. When we dream we allow our mind to process the events of the day and allow ourselves to delve into the unconscious mind. Even if we don't remember our dreams they are a highly valuable and important process that many psychologists, therapists and even artists have spent their lives honoring.
Many people choose to get up at the end of this time period to meditate or do asana (yoga poses) as it's easier to tune into our higher state of consciousness and our mind has cleared itself and is ready for a new day.
As the sun starts to rise the the elements of earth and water dominate from 6 am to 10 am. Water and earth when mixed are slow and heavy and explains why is can be difficult to get up and we feel sluggish. Have you ever woken up early and felt quite refreshed before 6 only to roll over and wake up a few hours later feeling heavy and dull? This is because the elements are at play, if we work with them we feel great but if we don't we will feel it.
So it is not as simple as getting 8 hours of sleep, it really does depend on when we get that sleep. Our body does not run according to a clock on the wall, it runs with the sun and the moon, and with nature and the elements that it is made from.
If we honor this relationship we are honoring ourselves and allowing ourselves that best possible chance at well-being.
I always thought I wasn't a morning person but now after allowing my body to convert back to it's natural rhythms and riding through a bit of a jet lag type type of adjustment I have discovered that I am a morning person. And yes I feel better for it.
Give it a try and see how your mind and body react.