Getting The Sleep You Need?

Date Posted:21 October 2014 

Amazing sleep facts

Do you feel refreshed and alert when you wake in the morning? Or are you typically slightly or seriously sleep deprived?

The ancient physicians of Ayurveda knew how important sleep is to the human mind and body. A sleep study by researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and SRI International on how genes express with sleep deprivation, highlights some interesting facts.

  • The control of sleeping and waking is associated with gene activity in the brain regions involved with sleep regulation and higher level functions.
  • Neurons in the forebrain (neocortex, amaygdala and hippocampus) are greatly affected, resulting in increased likelihood of irritability, and impaired memory, co-ordination and concentration.  So when you’re tired, that’s why it’s easier to snap at someone, or feel overwhelmed and less able to cope.  Performance and safety are also issues if you work extended hours, or suffer from chronic sleep loss.
  • Analysis revealed a novel set of genes are affected such as the genes associated with the stress response, cell to cell signalling and the regulation of other genes. This may be in part why sleep deficit is linked to the development of diabetes, depression, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Regular sleep disturbance can quite seriously impact your health, quality of life and longevity. So even if you have a low grade sleep issue, best to deal with it straight away.

How much sleep do I really need?

The ancient physicians of Ayurveda had it right when they strongly focused on sleep as being one of the pillars of a healthy daily routine.

It’s interesting to note the hours of sleep they suggested differ according to your body type - once again confirming that the modern approach of “one size fits all” needs updating.

People with a strong Vata nature tend to sleep lightly and typically sleep 7 to 7.5 hours a night. They do best when their sleep is undisturbed.

The best herbal for Vata types wanting to improve their sleep quality is Blissful Sleep.  Blissful Sleep supports the mind and body’s natural ability to fall asleep faster resulting in a deeper, more refreshing sleep. It also helps to slowly repair any damage from prolonged sleep problems.

People with a strong Pitta nature do best when they get 7.5 to 8 hours of undisturbed sleep a night.

Pitta types tend to have a warm body temperature, so sleep can be disturbed if they overheat in the night. With stress or pushing hard to achieve goals, stress can cause the Pitta person to wake in the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep. In this case the best herbal is Deep Rest. This supports sleeping through the night and helps one to fall asleep more easily and if awakened, in returning to sleep

People with a strong Kapha nature do best when they get 8-9 hours of undisturbed sleep a night.

By nature, Kaphas are the most stable of the three mind-body types and typically sleep well. It is important they avoid over-sleeping. Sleeping more than 9 hours has been linked to increase in weight gain and diabetes, which Kapha types are prone to by nature.  The key to balanced sleep regulation for a Kapha type is to go to bed when they feel sleepy, which is generally prior 10pm. Then to wake prior sunrise so they can go for an early morning walk to help wake up their metabolism and lift their energy and mood for the day.

Wishing you the bliss of a great nights sleep!

Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our weekly Insights. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity. Email: Skype: Linda.Sinden Mobile: +64 212237525  

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