The Sleep Guru: How much sleep do we need?

Anandi - The Sleep Guru

In Ayurveda, sleep is one of the three pillars of life (food and love are the other two). We don’t all need the same amount of sleep, but we all need enough sleep. These days so many of us are dragging ourselves around in a permanent state of semi-exhaustion because we stayed up late last night to watch a movie, then got up early to get a train to work in a job we hate!

Depending on your dosha you need between 6 and 8 hours sleep. Kapha types need the least sleep as they have the most reserves and are very much ‘slow burn’, and Vatas need the most, as they are constantly on the go and do not store extra energy very well. They either run like mad or collapse in a heap! Generally speaking of course.

Another important thing to remember: I know I go on about getting enough sleep, as that is most people’s problem, but there is such a thing as too much! If you have too much sleep, it can have just as much negative effect as if you don't have enough sleep. Do you ever decide to have a big lie-in on the weekend, only to find that when you eventually crawl out of your pit, you feel just as lethargic and grumpy as you did all week when you barely had any sleep? Too much sleep will make you feel lazy and lethargic and you won’t feel like doing much! Things you think you’re avoiding by having loads of extra sleep! The only people who would need more than 8 hours’ sleep, even on a weekend or a Bank Holiday, are those who are ill, pregnant or elderly.  The rest of us really should be able to make it from morning to evening without a break in between….. if we’re getting enough sleep during the night that is!  That would be a good way to measure if you are getting enough good quality sleep for sure!

It might sound boring, but really the best way to maintain a natural rhythm and healthy sleep pattern is to go to bed and get up at around the same time every day. You might feel like an idiot getting up at 7am on a Saturday - but think of all the things you can achieve in those extra hours before everyone else is awake… and I don’t mean watching Saturday Kitchen!

So, to conclude, a reminder of the fundamentals of a healthy sleeping pattern:

Get in sync with nature

Lights out at 10pm and get up at 6am

Start your day with meditation

Have your main meal at lunchtime and eat light at dinner

Respect your dosha – click here to check your dosha

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