Picture this: it’s nighttime, you know you have to wake up early the next day and you’re preparing yourself for how tired you will be come morning. Then, your alarm rings at 6am. Surprisingly, you spring awake feeling refreshed and recharged.
Conversely, say one day you know you are able to sleep in. You turn off your alarm and rest until 9a. When you wake up, you’re feeling groggy and already itching for a nap.
So what’s the deal? Why would you feel better with less sleep versus more?
Let’s talk: Ayurvedic times of day.
The three doshas
As a quick refresher, Ayurveda is the knowledge of longevity. It comes from the Vedas – an ancient body of knowledge from which we learned the meditation portion of the Ziva Technique, feng shui and yoga. Ayurveda is the practice of bringing your body into balance. We do this by balancing our doshas — three energies that define your makeup.
The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is associated with earthly elements. Vata is associated with air and space and represents dreamy and quick-thinking energies; Pitta with fire and water and is often accompanied by strong personalities and productivity; and Kapha with water and earth, representing grounded and earthy energies. We are each made up of some percentage of all 3.
In the same way we are each made up of all 3 doshas, each day is influenced by the doshas as well.
Ayurvedic Times Of Day
Kapha Time: 6:00 – 10:00 am & pm
From 6:00-10:00, both in the morning and evening, Kapha is dominant. This is when you are a bit sleepy and indulging in home-y energy. In the morning, it’s ideal to wake up before Kapha time as it can feel like a heavy time to begin the day. Similarly, in the evening, it’s the time you arrive and begin to wind down your day.
While it can be difficult to wake up during Kapha time, falling asleep during Kapha time is preferred, as it’s when your body is in a grounded, restful state. If you needed an extra excuse to take a bath after work and head to sleep early, this is a good one. After all, unwinding slowly is exactly what Kapha time is for.
Pitta Time: 10:00 – 2:00 am & pm
Pitta time is your productive time. It’s when you feel most alert and ready to put pen to paper during the workday. It’s also the time where your digestive fire is the strongest so it’s the best time to eat your heaviest meal of the day according to Ayurveda.
Because this is such a fiery, productive time, this is why many people say they get their second wind late at night after 10pm. So, if you have a hard time falling asleep between the hours of 10p and 2a (AND often find yourself with the late-night munchies), try pushing your bedtime before 10pm so you’re resisting that burst of energy.
Vata Time: 2:00 to 6:00 am & pm
Vata time is for creativity and connection to source (i.e Nature, the Universe, God, [insert your governing body here]). During sleep, it’s when you’re in your deepest rest and it’s also thought to be the most sacred time to meditate. Waking up during Vata time means you’re rising with the sun and can start the day with calmness and expansive energy.
For an animation of the Ayurvedic clock, watch below!
So with all this in mind, what’s the ideal time to hit the sack? According to the Ayurvedic clock, the most restful time to sleep is between the hours of 10p and 6a. If you often struggle with catching your zzz’s, pushing up your bedtime may be exactly what the doctor (or meditation teacher) ordered.
Can’t imagine making it to bed by 10p? Try sipping on some golden milk and turning off electronics an hour before bedtime. A good bedtime ritual can lull you to sleep, even if you’re living in a busy city like NYC.