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A Good Night's Sleep
|by Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra|
Millions of people of all ages are affected by sleep problems, many with severe, chronic sleep deprivation. A round-the-clock activity-driven society has meant that many individuals habitually defer sleep to get other things done. "I'll catch up later," is, however, easier said than done.
Recent research indicates that pervasive sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health problems than just a dull clouded feeling the next morning - including obesity, high blood pressure and diminished resistance to infections. While there is substantial awareness about the need for proper nutrition and exercise, many people tend to shrug off lack of sleep as not being of much consequence, and, as a result, go through life with both mind and body always performing at less than optimal levels.
Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
For a Vata sleep imbalance, indicated by difficulty in falling asleep, I recommend a Vata pacifying diet. Favor foods that are warm, heavy and oily, and minimize foods that are cold, dry and light. Emphasize the sweet, salty and sour tastes, and cut down on spicy, bitter and astringent foods. Include poppy seeds in your diet; they are a natural sleep aid. Drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed can also be soothing. Apply a little massage oil to your hands and feet before you go to bed. In bed, practice deep, easy breathing to help you unwind.
If you wake up feeling dull and lethargic, a Kapha sleep imbalance, favor foods that are light, dry and warm, and minimize or avoid foods that are heavy, oily and cold. Focus on spicy, bitter and astringent tastes, and reduce sweet, salty and sour tasting foods. Massaging hands and feet, especially the nail-beds, with a massage oil will help.
A blend of aroma oils, properly chosen, can help create a relaxing, calming environment in your bedroom and help balance your mind and body even after you fall asleep.
A good night's sleep can not only help you stay alert, bright and focused the next day; it can also keep you healthy in the long run.
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