If I had to come up with one foundational healthy habit, it’d be sleep. Yep. More than eating wholesome food. More than consistent exercise. Even more than meditation!
Here’s why: if you’re not sleeping well, you don’t have the brain space to make any of those healthy decisions anyway. Your body is trying to *survive*, and doesn’t have space for much else.
Your quality of sleep (or lack thereof) can be an indicator of the balance of the Ayurvedic doshas within you. Most commonly, I see sleep issues related to excess pitta dosha.
Indications that you’re having pitta-type sleep issues
- You can’t quiet your mind enough to fall asleep
- You wake up in the middle of the night, particularly between 1-3am
- You find yourself overheated or sweating in the middle of the night
- You have vivid, action-packed, stressful, or violent dreams.
Any of these sound familiar? In addition to doing other pitta-balancing practices, try the following strategies and routines to support better sleep.
The first strategy is my “Close the Loop” routine. This one strategy has solved many of my clients’ sleep issues.
My proprietary Close the Loop routine for better sleep
- Get out a piece of paper or your journal and write down any remaining to dos or things taking up space in your brain. Note if these things need to be scheduled, delegated, or completed by you.
- Reflect on your day by answering the following questions:
- What went well today?
- What could have gone better today?
- What am I committed to doing tomorrow in order to have a successful day?
- What could get in the way of tomorrow being a successful day?
- If that barrier comes into play, what will I do?
- Write down one thing you’re grateful for, and then close your eyes and feel the gratitude filling the entire body. Allow yourself to really experience it.
- Take a deep breath, and get ready for bed.
The Close the Loop routine is so powerful because it gets excess thoughts out of your brain, helps you have a vision for your tomorrow, and connects you to your full heart. All of these are comforting for individuals with pitta dosha and can help you close out the day so that you’re ready for a full night’s sleep.
Other pitta-balancing practices to support better sleep
- Don’t eat right before bed. I have a whole blog post on this, but in brief – aim to not eat for 2-3 hours before going to sleep. This will ensure that your body can truly rest (instead of trying to digest food), and you won’t be woken up by your digestion in the middle of the night.
- Make your bedroom a comfortable space. A cluttered environment creates a cluttered mind. The cleaner and lighter you can make your bedroom space, the better.
- Utilize aromatherapy. Essential oils can set the perfect mood to promote better sleep. Lavender and spearmint are particularly calming for pitta dosha.
- Create a restful ritual. In addition to your Close the Loop routine, you might choose to practice abhyanga, legs up the wall pose, or do a short meditation.
- Turn off the screens and email at night. If you have a habit of doing work emails, answering texts, or even just doing your online shopping at night, time to set a cut-off time. Even if you’re using a blue light blocker like f.lux or nightshift (which you should be doing even if you don’t have sleep issues), staring at screens, doing work, or checking off items on your to-do list all activate your pitta dosha. It’s priming your brain for activity and thinking, not rest and relaxation. Set a time that you’ll shift from “to do” mode to rest mode, preferably 45 minutes to an hour before sleep.
Why these practices work
We live in a very active, stimulating world. Most of us spend our days going, going, going and doing, doing, doing. Is it any surprise that we have a hard time turning “off”? These rituals I mentioned above don’t take much time, money, or effort, and they work wonders for helping you get to sleep and stay asleep. Just as important, you’ll notice that they’ll help make your next day that much better. With good sleep, you’ll be able to approach your day with bright energy and a clear mind.
How’s your sleep? Choose to commit to one of these sleep routines listed above and try it out every day for a week. Share which routine you’re going to practice in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,