Improve your sleep with Ayurveda

Improve your sleep with Ayurveda

Why sleep is so important

Sleep plays a very important role in our health along with eating healthy and exercising regularly. It influences very much how emotionally stable, mentally clear and physically fit we are. A good night’s sleep gives our body the possibility to begin its night-shift work. During sleep, our body can heal damaged cells and strengthen our immune system. We also recharge our heart, cardiovascular and nervous system for the next day. Deep and sufficient sleep is one of the keys to long-term health and the basis for a functioning immune system. 

Improve your sleep with Ayurveda

Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine contains a lot of wisdom for a life in balance, including how to improve your sleep.

Ayurveda is about harmony and balance, especially the balance between the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They also play an important role in our sleep. The time we go to bed, what we do before and after bedtime, and of course what and when we eat. This all influences our bioenergies and thus contributes to a night of healthy sleep. 

The role of the doshas in your sleep rhythm

From an Ayurvedic point of view, sleep is the most important regeneration phase of the day. Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. our Pitta energy wants to clean the body, picking up the dirt from the furthest corners. Then between 2 and 6 a.m. our Vata energy is very active, transporting the dirt and toxins to the excreting organs.


The most important prerequisite for this cleansing process is that the digestion of the last meal is finished before 10 p.m. That’s why it is important to have an early light dinner, at least three hours before you go to bed. If this is not the case, the body sets the priorities differently and focuses on digestion. Hence, prompting the whole system to power up instead of shutting down for the sleep and cleansing process. Consequently, fatigue is delayed and it’s difficult to fall asleep. We also are more likely to wake up at night and therefore, when it is time to get up in the morning… we’re exhausted. 


Apart from the last meal, our general lifestyle also has an impact on our sleep. Our sleep problems may arise from the fact that there is too much movement, too much Vata, in our internal system. Consequently the body does not find its way deep enough into the relaxation mode. An overactive sympathetic nervous system means too much movement or Vata that is caused by stress, lack of time and an unsteady lifestyle. If we snack between meals, quickly change our routine, don’t get enough sleep, travel a lot and eat foods that elevate Vata, we probably won’t fall asleep and, above all, won’t sleep through the night.

How the Doshas differ

If we compare the different doshas, we note that a Vata imbalance tends towards irregular and light sleep. Vata type will usually wake up between 2 – 6 a.m., unable to return to sleep. They also can have problems to fall asleep. Whereas Pittas sleep can be disturbed by vivid and active dreams or nightmares. Pittas usually experience difficulties falling asleep as their mind is too busy and they can’t stop thinking about their plans, projects and upcoming activites. However, Kapha types are generally good sleepers but when out of balance, they sleep too long which makes them sluggish and heavy. Also after a long and sound sleep they do not wake up feeling well rested.

Do you want a better and more aligned life to achieve deeply desired results? A life with more energy, a peaceful mind, and habits that go towards lifelong health and wellness?

Discover my online health and lifestyle group program


How can the Ayurvedic way of life be beneficial for our sleep?

The most important keys points are routine, diet and stress reduction. The optimal routine from an Ayurvedic point of view is three meals at similar times of the day, with the main meal at lunch and a light, early dinner. Of course, it is incredibly valuable to adjust the diet so that we can find a balance based on our constitution. It is also recommended that you go to bed and get up at similar times each day.

But we should also adjust our daily work and stress levels. Stress, regardless of what caused it, lets our nervous system run in a mode that is intended to protect us in dangerous situations. But if we often feel tense, agitated and rushed, then we are preventing the part of our nervous system that is responsible for regeneration, metabolism and sleep, from doing its job.

As a result, we may have permanently elevated cortisol levels. The stress hormone can lead to anxiety, hormonal imbalances, increased appetite, obesity and other issues. That is why in Ayurveda, we not only focus on nutrition and lifestyle but also meditation, yoga and other methods of stress reduction. Therefore the Ayurveda approach is holistic and matched with one’s unique constitution.

ayurvedic food for sleep

How diet affects your sleep

The most important tip is to move the main meal to noon and then eat lightly and early in the evening. From an Ayurvedic point of view, early and light means before 7 pm with little fat and protein and not too complex in composition. You should also eat raw vegetables at lunchtime as they are heavy to digest. This dietary advice is somewhat contrary to some modern-day opinions, but it works. Soups, stews or vegetables, perhaps with a little grain, are ideal for the evening. One-pot meals are especially easy to digest for our metabolism.

To have an early and light evening meal, of course, we need to have a good lunch. Otherwise, we’ll be too hungry. Since the body has the strongest digestive fire around lunchtime – also from a conventional medical point of view – we digest quickly at this time of the day. From an Ayurvedic point of view, our lunch should not consist of a small salad or a sandwich on hand, but of a healthy and rich meal in which we satisfy our fat and protein needs. Interestingly, after such a meal, we are hardly hungry in the evening and can easily get through the night with a small supper until breakfast in the morning. And the body thanks us with a night of deep and restful sleep.

What helps if we have difficulty falling asleep?

The easiest way for the body to fall asleep is when it is relaxed and not struggling with a heavy meal. Ayurveda recommends establishing an evening routine that automates this process. Some examples of activities that would prevent us from falling asleep are: screen time, exciting books, an extremely high pace during the day, and in the worst case, a high pace until late in the evening. Thoughts circle around our heads and therefore our energy, too. After an early light dinner, it’s the ideal time to enjoy moments with loved ones, to go for a walk or to take a bath. Any other non-digital hobby like writing a diary, drawing, performing handicraft works, is great too.

An important factor is the time we go to bed. Kapha energy is dominant until 10 pm. The energy of Kapha helps us to wind down and to notice the first signs of end-of-the-day fatigue. Its energy is heavy, steady and calm and perfect for preparing ourselves for better quality rest. From 10 pm the Pitta energy takes over the lead. This energy rises and makes us active and mentally busy. Ayurveda, therefore, recommends going to sleep during the Kapha time, this means before 10 pm. It makes a big difference in our quality and quantity of sleep.

In addition, the following tools are extremely valuable to help us to come to rest: Gentle yoga exercises that ground and bring our energy down such as Yin Yoga, slow pranayamas such as alternate nostril breathing or meditation. Otherwise, a foot massage with warm sesame oil and an essential oil like Lavender which will help to descend the energy in our body. And finally, golden milk or turmeric milk (also made with plant milk) can also make it easier for us to fall asleep.

Are there specific sleeping tips for the individual doshas?

In addition to the tips for Vata and Pitta that are already mentioned, the duration of sleep is also crucial. Vata types need the most sleep of all. They are not doing well without the mandatory eight hours. With a lot of stress, they may even need more. Eight hours are perfect for Pitta types, even if they usually don’t like it because they have so much to do.

Less sleep is recommended for Kapha types only. Kapha usually has no problems falling asleep and sleeps well through the night. However, they find it difficult to get up. So they need to get up before 6 am. As mentioned, the Vata movement principle is dominant between 2 and 6 a.m. This movement gets us up more easily. But from 6 a.m. Kapha takes over again. And this energy makes it very difficult for us to get out of bed. With Kapha, there is also the fact that a maximum of 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep is better and more relaxing than a long sleep. Too much sleep will make them too heavy and sluggish.

Do you want to learn more about your unique constitution, your Dosha? Take the Dosha quiz here.

BONUS: Yoga and meditation videos for better sleep

Yoga Nidra Tibetan Singing Bowls Sound Bath for Anxiety Relief & Relaxation

Yoga For Bedtime – YUMMY sleepy time yoga with Adriene

A guided meditation for sleep from Deepak Chopra

What´s your type of self-sabotage? And how to overcome it.

What´s your type of self-sabotage? And how to overcome it.

Tantric concepts speak about 3 different flavours of self-sabotage we can experience. Before getting to that concept and looking at solutions of how to defeat them, let’s take a look at how self-sabotage can show up in our daily life.

Self-sabotage: When you’re your worst enemy

Self-sabotage is the tendency to make life difficult for yourself by setting limits and creating complications that prevent you from achieving your goals. This can happen consciously or subconsciously.

If you think back of your past, you will probably remember some situations where you could not achieve your goal without understanding why you failed. One possible explanation for this is self-sabotage. In the short term, it can protect you from failure. In the long run, however, it will also prevent you from having more success and developing yourself further. Consequently, people who sabotage themselves create obstacles because their subconscious is convinced that they cannot do what the situation requires.

Some sneaky signs that you do self-sabotage:

  • Lack of commitment and consistency.
  • You feel quite frustrated about your job. But are you actively trying to change it?
  • Your relationship has no basis anymore – nevertheless you continue it.
  • The course does not match your expectations and talents. But you still continue.
  • You don’t feel comfortable in the place you live in. However, you are not looking for other options and solutions.
  • You put on weight and don’t feel good about it. But are you doing more exercise and following a healthier diet?

Other typical variants of self-harming behaviour, as psychologists call it, are:

  • Postponing things that should really be done;
  • Not being able to say NO, even though we are feeling more and more stressed;
  • Putting other people’s interests first and thus increasingly suffer from your own unmatched needs;
  • Boycotting yourself by constantly reconsidering your own shortcomings and weaknesses or by convincing yourself. Typical sentences in this context are, for example: “It doesn’t work at all!”, “I can’t do it anyway.”, “Why should anyone care?”;
  • Distrusting others and tending to see the negative in people and accusing them of bad intentions;

The fear of success

When we get more successful, we may at the same time as well attract more attention and usually rise in reputation and hierarchy. For many it is a wonderful idea. But others, however, feel under pressure, insecure or even scared: with every triumph, their own demands on themselves and expectations from the outside increase.

Questions could rise up such as: Are there any shadow sides coming to light now? What was previously sufficient in terms of know-how may no longer be enough. Old, loved habits have to be abandoned, new ones have to be implemented. Moreover, you may wonder: Will there be still enough time for private life, for the family, for fun?

These worries and fears can all be part of the self-sabotage process. Let’s look now at the 3 different types of self-sabotage and how to overcome them.

What are the 3 different types of self-sabotage?

For understanding better which patterns of self-sabotage we might have, let’s take a teaching of tantric yoga. That will help to understand what happens in our body and mind when we start sinking our own ship and standing in our way. Often we tend towards one type predominantly but can experience a mix of them as well. There is always a lack of integrity that goes with it. We start to question ourselves or another person and to have doubts.

1. Mayiya Mala: contraction of the third eye

Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning amongst others impurity. The forehead chakra, often referred to as the third eye, is the sixth main chakra in the middle of the head, between the eyebrows and slightly above them. If this chakra is in harmony, we have a clear vision for our life path, follow our intuition and find it easy to express our deepest desires.

But if imbalanced, this type tends to measure and compare themselves and others. Often we can see wrinkles on the forehead. There is a huge tendency to judge and value oneself and others with the motivation to be the best or most successful person in something. This leads to a feeling of separation from the environment. The mind dominates and gets disconnected from the heart. As a result, this can lead to a feeling of inferiority or superiority. They are thriving for constant perfection and can get quite frustrated when not matching their own expectations. 

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • inferior or superior to others
  • tense esp. in the neck (e.g. headaches and migraines)
  • frustrated and defeated
  • lost
  • confused about what to do in life
  • overwhelmed
  • overcritical
The cure for this state:
  • The need to develop more self-love.
  • Organise your projects differently. Doing little steps towards your goals instead of wanting to do too much in a short time. You need to set realistic goals.
  • Develop more empathy and put yourself in other people’s shoes instead of judging them.
  • Start one new project or thing at a time and finish it.
  • Spend time in nature to deeply nourish yourself and to connect to yourself.
  • Meditate to connect with your own wisdom.
  • Give your critical mind a break and recognise how you separate and disconnect yourself from others. You have much more in common with others then you might think.

This flavour of self-sabotage is often seen at Pitta dosha types. You don´t know your dosha? Then take the test here.

2. Avana Mala: contraction of the heart chakra

The heart chakra is located in the middle of the chest at the height of the heart. If in balance, we can easily trust ourselves and others, give and receive love, feel devotion and are able to forgive and grieve. However, when our heart centre contracts, we will start feeling isolated, alone and misunderstood. We don’t reach out for help and hide our true feelings from others. As a result we can feel emotionally aloof, indifferent, hardened and have difficulties or refuse to allow real closeness in relationships.

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • unsupported
  • isolated
  • alone
  • unsafe
  • insecure
  • self-pitying
  • misunderstood

And these are exactly the things that we miss out on in our life. This can lead so far that we experience the world as an unsafe place to live in and do not want to trust anybody. 

The cure for this state:
  • Connect and reach out to others to lift yourself out of self isolation. Telling others how you really feel and with what you need help with.
  • Show our vulnerability and get seen. You will be surprised about how much closeness and connection you will experience when letting others see your true self.
  • Get the help you need in a specific thing e.g. creating a new habit to drink less alcohol, finding a new job, ending an unhealthy relationship, etc. 

People love to help and support each other but they need to see and feel that we are in trouble.

Vata doshas often tend to have contractions of the heart chakra.

3. Karma Mala: contraction of the solar plexus area

The word Karma is describing the result of a person’s actions, the cycle of cause and effect. As per the theory of karma, a person experiences what they caused by their actions. The third chakra, the solar plexus, spins around the area above the belly button up to the lower part of the chest, the sternum. If in balance we have will-power, self-confidence, drive, take responsibility and set limits. Having said this, we can easily detect when being contracted in the solar plexus area. As a result we will start procrastinating things that need to be done and hesitate to take action to get where we want to be. We might have the impression not to advance at all in our life but do not take action.

Emotions may arise such as feeling:
  • disorganised
  • apathetic
  • unable to act
  • passive
  • lethargic
  • frozen
  • disconnected
The cure for this state:
  • Stop procrastinating things.
  • Take action and get an accountability partner.
  • Do something! And if it is just a tiny baby-step.

Kapha doshas have a tendency towards Karma Mala.

Name your type of self-sabotage and write down how it shows up in your life. Tell someone about it and talk about your difficulties. Bringing light into the shadow helps to overcome the obstacles.

Get your Free 7-day Course

Ayurvedic Wisdom for a

  • stronger digestive system
  • deeper sleep
  • faster metabolism
  • healthier immune system
  • faster weight loss

You have successfully signed up!