Sleep Times – What Ayurveda Tells Us


1. Generally for most people six to seven hours is sufficient. More is needed during childhood, pregnancy, or sometimes if a person works hard physically, or for some health conditions. The proper amount of sleep is necessary for physical and mental health and should bring refreshment and restored energy. As the body is a precious possession, we should take care of the body sincerely. Just as eating not enough or too much food impairs heath, getting not enough or too much sleep similarly can cause long term health problems.


2. People of different constitutions need varying amounts – Kapha people have more energy and alertness by reducing sleep, although they are tempted to lie in bed late. Vata people sometimes need a bit more to recharge their batteries, but should go to bed earlier rather than stay in bed after sunrise.

3. For all constitutions it is best to go to bed around 10:00 PM and rise before sunrise; as early rising gives more physical and mental energy. Waking after sunrise increases Ama or stored toxins, in the body, whereas waking before sunrise promotes regular elimination and metabolism as well as helping the consciousness with more alertness. Early morning is traditionally considered the most beneficial time for meditation and prayer, as well, to be able to start the day with focusing on the Divine.

4. Not enough sleep impairs the immune system, imbalances Vata and can create exhaustion, can make Pitta more irritable, and is especially bad for children, as their bodies grow during sleep, or for pregnant women.


5. Excess sleep increases the mode of Tamas or ignorance, sometimes aggravating depression, lethargy, lack of energy and determination, and can also increase Kapha ailments such as obesity, tiredness and depression.

6. The need for sleep varies according to level of physical activity, health status, and time of life. The general rule is to get up before sunrise, as that helps with physical health and energy as well as a positive outlook. Having regular hours for sleeping is important.

7. If we are not sure what is the best amount of sleep, try getting six hours of sleep; if you feel very tired or even sleepy in the afternoon (and are not crashing from too much sugar or caffeine!), try adding a half an hour at a time, and see how you feel then. If you think maybe you are sleeping too much, try getting up a half an hour earlier and see how that works.

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