Mandukya Upanishad says ‘Deep Sleep’ is one of the states of consciousness, where we experience Bliss.
But, one of the common thoughts that comes to us when we see a baby or an animal blissfully sleeping, is of envy - “I wish I could sleep that way”. Clearly, we need to work on our relationship with sleep. We count the number of hours that we would be able to spend together & feel disappointed when we realise it is less than the average number of hours a healthy relationship requires. We look forward to it as the only comfort, on a long tiring day, to just be. For important decisions, you let how you feel after a night’s sleep be the judge.
Why should you bother?
If you already think Sleep is important for you to look into, you could move on to the next section, while we reason with the ones among us who need a push or two.
One of the most celebrated management processes in the World is Lean. One of the facets of this principle based out of Japan for building an efficient organization is through ‘Muda’ (loosely translated as wastefulness or uselessness). While routing out inefficiencies by looking at the waste produced has become the thumb rule In organizations world over, We could learn a thing or two from the principle ourselves, to improve our lives, at an individual level.
In a given day, if you are either sleep deprived or have slept excessively, your effectiveness just drops, doesn’t it? What requires 2 hours takes you 3 hours (when aided by coffee), you are not at the top of your game and you see the day just slipping through your hands, while you try to frantically manage. On the days you have overslept, you feel you are being pushed to operate at a rate you don’t want to. You are anxious, stressed and looking for a place to hide. Isn’t it ironical that the place you find solace is exactly where things went haywire from? Sleep! Save yourselves from this daily stress and become efficient by learning to sleep well.
What is sleep?
Having slept for close to one thirds of our lifetime, it is a wonder that we don’t know enough about it.
As per Ayurveda, Kapha dosha increases during the period, due to which you feel heavy and tired, leading to the natural tendency to rest. Things get a lot more interesting when other doshas start acting up when you want to sleep (You just cannot sleep!). The flip side is when Kapha dosha is acting up in the morning, you struggle to wake up in the morning. Clearly, how we manage with Kapha dosha can be the way out.
HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar simplifies sleep further.
Passion drives the effort to run around & get things done in our daily life. While Vairagya (Dispassion) drives the effortlessness that is required to sleep.
So, Pat your backs on commanding enough Vairagya to go to sleep daily (even though you struggled some days), while understanding that you cannot put effort to go to sleep. So, the route as Sukhwinder Singh famously once sang is:
“Tu Sabar tho kar mere yaar
Zara Saans tho le dildaar..”
Start slowing down before you are all set to call it a night. Realise that it is not like a switch that you push and you can sleep. Doctors suggests going off of all devices by an hour or two before retiring to bed.
If you are one of those who needs a goal to work towards, Sri Sri says “Don’t let sleep control you. Don’t let your mind get stuck to any of the modulations of the mind”
Can we actually do anything about it? Is it possible for a tectonic shift in the way we sleep? We see people who fly to different time-zones adjust their body clock to sleep well, so surely there is a way around for us.
Let us unravel different aspects of sleep & work it out together. We pulled up the suggested questions about sleep on Google to capture the most common issues faced.
Insomnia and ‘how to sleep less’
You may associate with the fancy name or with the below experiences: You find yourself often tossing & turning in your bed or probably just staring at the roof, entertaining & getting entertained by random thoughts like “If life is a dream, does that mean I am actually sleeping?” or the likes of it.
As a solution, Ayurveda recommends warm milk, which eventually results in a blast of comforting sertonin. So simply put, anything that comforts you should work. While kids respond well to cradling (both comfort & rhythm works here!), light melodious music & being tucked in comfortably in a comforter (of course, it is just a substitute for the Ghar ka bed that we remember, if not, the chill life we experienced as a foetus) should work wonders. Read a few pages of your favourite book. Though meditating at odd hours is frowned upon, do it if it helps you relax. If you are hooked to a smoke before going to bed, you now know that there are healthier ways to relax.
For the ones who are suffering with having to run a crazy juggling act in the morning but are bogged down by Kapha every single day, having a routine helps. The routine of unwinding helps you moderate the number of hours you sleep and improves the quality of sleep!
If you are facing with any chronic sleeping disorders, you are body is crying for relaxation, so it is suggested that you contact your nearest Ayurveda doctor immediately.