To Sleep Or Not To Sleep - Ayurvedic Viewpoint on Napping

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Sleep is obviously a crucial part of our life. The quantity and quality of sleep make a significant impact on our overall energy level and mood. According to the Ayurvedic text 'Astanga Hrdayam', “Happiness and unhappiness, nourishment and emaciation, strength and debility, sexual prowess and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, life and death—all are dependent on sleep.” 

How many hours to sleep is a subject for another never ending blog. Napping on the other hand, is not recommended in general. But like everything else in Ayurveda, the rules are not fixed for all and depend on location, weather, your age and health conditions. For a healthy individual, a walk in the afternoon sun can help banish sluggishness by thwarting the release of melatonin, the sleepy hormone. However, for children or the sick this does not apply. 

A small nap, during the summer months is welcome. When the nights are shorter and the temps are higher, vata dosha becomes aggravated and the body begins to dry out. Sleeping during the day is thought to increase kapha dosha, or the earth and water elements, in the body, thereby hydrating and lubricating the tissues—a perfect antidote to the heat of summer. 

During other seasons, when the water and earth elements are more prevalent, sleeping during the day will increase kapha in ways that are not ideal. You might wake up in a puddle of drool—cold, puffy, drowsy, and craving sweets. 


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