Early birds v/s Night owls- What does Ayurveda say?
“Early to bed, early to rise makes the person healthy, wealthy and wise,” was a nursery rhyme that may be so ingrained in you that you may believe that the best way to raise a healthy kid is to wake them up before sunrise.
As kids, I being a natural early bird was happy to follow the dictates of the early bird philosophy. My sister, on the other hand, had to be dragged out of bed and would mumble half the morning away. Keep us up at night, and the exact opposite would be true–I would be falling asleep, and she would be at her very best. In spite of the same upbringing, and the same alarm clocks, how could we be so different?
In recent times, the 5 AM controversy, has brought to light that this may not be true for everyone. A lot of research is now suggesting that each individual has their own unique patterns and sleep-wake cycles.
CHRONOTYPE: Say what?
Chronotype is a simple concept. Wikipedia explains it as, “the propensity for the individual to sleep at a particular time during a 24-hour period.” Simply put, it is your body’s tendency to rest and remain active at specific times of the day.
According to Ayurveda, the science of life, “each of us are constitutionally built differently,” says Nidhi Pandya, a Thriive-verified Ayurveda expert. “In Ayurveda, we believe that the time between 2am-6am is dominated by vata. Vata is ether that constitutes of vacuum. Anything that is fed to your mind at that time is easily registered. This also explains why your mind is ready to receive at that part of the morning,” she added.
Moreover, what you feed your mind at that point of the day gets stored in the long-term memory and finds its place in the sub-conscious mind too. So, do we mean that rising early is the only good thing to do? NOT REALLY.
Interestingly, Ayurveda also mentions that your sleep-wake cycle will depend on your dosha.
Doshas and Chronotype: The connections
Thriive-verified Ayurvedic expert, Nidhi explains in greater detail:
- Vatas chronically sleep- less. They are generally active during the vatakal and are generally early risers. They wake up before sunrise, most definitely.
- Pittas, on the other hand, can wake up at any point of the day. They generally do not have issues of rising at any specific time and usually wake up during sunrise.
- Kaphas find solace in sleep! They find it the hardest to wake up and could be categorized as night owls. They will almost never be able to wake up before sunrise and are usually the late risers.
All in all, you could be an early riser or a night owl. You could be someone who is healthier even as you stay up all night to study or you could be sickly in spite of waking up early each day. Whatever that your body instructs for you should be considered as the gospel truth. Don’t exert, don’t preach and definitely don’t force yourself to sleep or rise at a specific time. Remember, each of our body types are different?!
All of this depends on what you eat and how well you manage your sleep cycle- let NO ONE tell you otherwise.