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Activating Your Parasympathetic Nervous System for Sleep: How to Get Restful and Restorative Sleep

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

We are biologically hardwired to have our sympathetic nervous system turned on (being alert) rather than our sympathetic nervous system (chilled out). That's because our bodies are continually on the lookout for danger. Resting, in fact, does not turn on our sympathetic nervous system, it's shifting our bodies into healing mode that does.

The Ayurvedic Clock: Using the Doshas to Bring Back Balance

The doshas have the ability to restore balance.

Each day is divided into six four-hour segments in Ayurveda, each with its own dosha qualities that are prevalent throughout that time. The primary physiological functions that occur during each cycle mirror these dosha features.

The Ayurvedic clock has arrived!

The activity of each Dosha changes as the sun rises and sets, allowing us to take advantage of the energy that dominates each time of day. If you're feeling out of tune with nature's rhythm, then have a look at the clock and connect with each of the Doshas, either though breathing techniques, food, sound or just imagining the elements.

Kapha: 6AM-10AM

Kapha energy allows you to wake with grounded energy, slowly easing you into your day.

Pitta: 10AM -2PM

Pitta energy comes in handy during the day to fuel your digestive fire, as well as focus and actions.

Vatta: 2PM-6PM

Creativity and inspiration is enhanced with Vata energy during the afternoon.

Kapha: 6PM-10PM

Kapha energy comes back in the late afternoon to help you slow down and ease into sleep.

Pitta: 10PM-2AM

Your REM sleep is fuelled by Pitta, providing you with the energy to fuel your cell repair and detoxify your body.

Vata: 2AM-6AM

Here Vata helps you dream, relieve stress and emotions.

As soon as the sun rises:

As the sun rises, so do you. When you gently awaken with the sun, it stimulates hormones like serotonin and cortisol, which cause your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature to rise gradually; this allows your body to smoothly transition from sleep to activity and prepares you for the day. If you are unable to awaken with the sun, turn on the lights first thing in the morning to simulate the effects of sunshine.

Take a step outside. Spending time outside and being exposed to sunshine at different times of the day can help you align your internal clock. Even a 15-minute walk in the sunshine can help you keep more balanced and uplift your emotions.

When the sun goes down:

Turn out the lights. Make careful to turn off your electronics when you're not using them. By avoiding artificial blue light from screens, your body's internal clock can prepare you for a more restful night's sleep.

Set the tone for a good night's sleep. Remember that darkness helps our bodies activate melatonin, therefore reducing the lights can help us prepare for our trip to Dreamland.

When there's less light during the day...

The brain requires sunshine to deliver messages straight to the hypothalamus and influence your circadian clock, hence photoreceptors in your eyes are required. Any change in light exposure or a shift in your day-night routine might cause your natural circadian rhythms to slow or speed up.

Sometimes we can feel sluggish during winter times, as there's less light. Here's what we can biohack our bodies and give them more energy:

1) Serotonin increasing activties:

When there's less light our brain produces less serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical linked to emotions of happiness and well-being. Therefore, give someone a hug, have some chocolate, go for a walk or watch some memes. Whatever it is, happy chemicals can give you the energy you seen when the sun isn't around.

2) Increase the light in the room

Try just opening all the blinds to allow us much natural light to come in or bring in artificial light or even light therapy.

Wish you a good night tonight xxx

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