Sleep: The Secret in the Cycles of Nature
By The Raj Vedic Health Team.
We are all familiar with the principle of "early to bed". It's prevalent in every culture, as well as in MAV. If you have a problem getting to bed early, at the end of kapha kala or kapha time as Maharishi Ayurveda recommends (before 10:00 PM), MAV gives profound, cosmic reasons that may inspire you to sleep earlier.
According to MAV, when the sun sets at dusk every day, there is solar energy that is retained in the earth's atmosphere, but only until midnight. Any sleep we experience while this residual solar energy is still in the atmosphere is most nourishing, restorative, and rejuvenating, contributing to health and longevity in a powerful way. So the more sleep before midnight, the more beneficial the sleep -- even though we may have been sleeping longer after midnight -- the quality of the sleep is not as nourishing or rejuvenating as the quality of sleep before midnight.
We know also from Maharishi Ayurveda that 10:00 PM marks the start of pitta kala, or pitta time. During this time, if we are in bed sleeping, as is the ideal routine in accord with Natural Law, heat is generated in the body that burns up ama, or any toxins that may have accumulated during the day. It's a daily, internal, metabolic housecleaning that takes place in the body. Sleep comes easier before pitta kala during the kapha kala, whose qualities are heaviness, dullness, and slowness --- all qualities conducive to easily falling asleep. If we sleep later during pitta kala, it's a more stimulating time in Natural Law making it more difficult to fall asleep. We get hungry for a midnight snack when we're up too late during pitta time, and if we eat, we miss out on our daily metabolic housecleaning.
It is interesting to note that in the closely related sister science to MAV, Maharishi Gandharva Veda music therapy, the ragas prescribed during the hours before midnight, are among the most nourishing, settling, and healing in their qualities. These ragas during the hours before midnight constitute the largest number of ragas in the repertoire of the melodies of Nature.
The melodies of Nature and our bodily rhythms are reflected throughout nature. If you are out in nature during the summer months at night you may notice that the thousands of dazzling fireflies twinkling in the night sky, shut off abruptly at the start of pitta time around 10:00PM. When nature goes to sleep so should we... The crickets, sing a soft and mellow evening lullaby during kapha time, before 10:00PM and switch to something sharp and piercing at 10:00. Sharpness is a quality of pitta. It's time to detoxify while resting in a deep and nourishing sleep.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.