By – Dr JV Hebbar
Day sleep is one of the most debated topics. There are many opinions about sleeping in the day. One of the basic treatises of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita written about 2500 years before, has complete details about sleeping during day, who can sleep during the day, who should avoid day sleep, how it affects life and health etc. Let us find out the full Ayurvedic explanation.
Indications for day sleep
Who can sleep during the day time?
- Singers – Singing involves a lot of Vata activity and causes overall vata increase, which may lead to hoarseness of voice and leaves you tired. To balance Vata, day sleeping is advised for singers.
- Students – who read continuously – Sleep is related with memory. A proper sleep is very essential to have good memory power. To digest all the read things, it is better to give the brain a rest so as to give time to assimilate. Students may not sleep for hours during day, but a little afternoon nap works wonders for them.
- After having alcohol – It is better for alcoholics to sleep during daytime rather than drive a car and bang it against something.
- Heavy work – Those who work heavily will have temporary increase of Vata and suffer tiredness. To compensate, they should have day sleep.
- People having indigestion – This refers to indigestion arising due to Vata imbalance.
- People having injuries –To balance Vata.
- People who are underweight and has an undernourished body – Our daily calorie intake through food should balance the calorie needs of the body for the normal daily activities. So, if people seeking weight gain sleeps during daytime, it helps to save that much amount of calorie spending, which helps to weight gain.
- Elders and children – They obviously need rest to keep up their energy levels.
- Patients – Especially with less strength, suffering from excessive thirst, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, respiratory diseases, hiccups and who are excessively tired.
- Who have travelled long distances – Travelling causes Vata imbalance and tiredness, hence sleep is advised.
- People with excessive anger – Sleep helps rest the brain and cool the temper. So, after sleep, it helps to person to take another look about the issue at hand with improved patience.
- People with grief – For them, sleeping during daytime helps to forget the pain and decreases depression.
- People who have undergone Panchakarma therapy – During Panchakarma treatment, patients are not supposed to indulge in day-sleep. But once after it is over, usually body strength will be very less. Hence, they can have day sleep.
- Patients suffering from indigestion, injuries, muscle wasting, thirst, diarrhoea, colic pain, dyspnoea (as in Asthma), hiccups, leanness, insanity, can have afternoon nap.
All these people above are advised to sleep during day time in all seasons. In these people, sleep helps to restore all the healthy tissues, energy, and Kapha will be balanced and body gains strength.
When is day sleep advised for everyone?
- For all healthy people, day sleep is advised during summer, due to less night-time and due to lack of energy during summer.
- Except during summer, it is not advised for other people to have day sleep, as it may cause kapha and Pitta imbalance.
Contraindications for day sleep
Who should never sleep during the day?
- Those who are suffering from obesity
- Who are taking ghee or oil daily
- Those suffering from Kapha diseases, who have Kapha body type,
- Who are suffering from toxicity should never sleep during day.
During spring, day sleep is especially contra indicated. This is because, during spring, naturally, there is Kapha increase. Day sleeping will further increase Kapha, leading to indigestion and related stomach complaints.
Kapha diseases refer to diabetes, obesity etc. In these people, the calorie burnt with daily activity should exceed the calorie of food taken, that way, it helps to reduce weight or maintain blood glucose levels.
Ill effects of day sleep
If a wrong person sleeps during daytime, what happens?
Swelling / oedema, tastelessness, vomiting sensation, aggravation of cold, migraines, skin diseases, itching, lassitude, cough, throat diseases, lack of good memory and intelligence, fever, weakness in sense organs, throat congestion, increase in toxicity, occurs. If a person has these conditions, then it would worsen, if he / she indulges in sleeping during daytime.
The person would have impaired memory and intelligence, obstruction to body channels and weak sense organs.
Hence, based on suitability and timing, one should have day sleep.
As per Kaiyyadeva Nighantu
The advantages and disadvantages of sound and disturbed sleep :-
Sound sleep versus disturbed sleep becomes the cause for nourishment or emaciation; virility or impotence; knowledge or ignorance; longevity or reduced life span respectively.
One should avoid atiprasanga [excessive sex] at odd hours of the sleeping time which if done is unconducive to the health.
Where as having sex at the late hours of the midnight [kAlarAtri iva aparA] followed by sleep [nidrA niShevitA] is good for health and longevity [sukhAyuShI].
Waking at night time increases the dryness within the channels of the body, where as, day time sleep increases the oiliness inside the channels of the body.
At the same time continuous exposure to sitting posture [AsIna] and strolling [pra calita] causes moistness [arUkSha] and dryness [anabhiShyanda] inside the channels of the body.
As a rule of exception, day time sleep is beneficial during the season of summer. The reason being, in summer which is a segment of AdAna kAla [exhaustion producing period] , the vAta sanchaya [accumulation of vAta] occurs due to the dryness caused as a result of lesser duration of night time. The divAsvapna [day time napping] is beneficial in grIShma season simply because of the fact that it increases the kapha and pitta doShAs, which are antagonistic to the seasonally accumulated vAta doSha. And thus it helps in maintaining the homogeneity of the doshic balance in one’s body.
In case, due to unavoidable circumstances one need to be in vigil or wake up over the period of entirety of the night time, one should compensate at least half the amount of time of the lost hours of the sleep of previous night and, conditionally, that should be carried out in empty stomach, by not partaking any food before indulging in the compensatory sleep over the morning.
The vigilance in night affects and reduces the kapha doSha and medas [fat tissues], body pain and poisonous toxins due to the dryness it produces.
Day sleep on the contrary increases pitta and kapha doShAs in general over all seasons. Those being the reasons, both night vigilance and day sleep are advised to be avoided in general.
The wisest of all would judge the type of sleep to be advised with specific relevance to the day or night times, by observing the parameters of the doshic balance or imbalance and help the patient have a proper format of sleeping mode. Doing so, they would help the person maintain a disease free state, remain in tranquillised mind, help beget physical strength and body hue along with the status quo maintenance of the virility.
It is a general observation that neither a morbidly obese nor an emaciated person lives their life equally in full for a hundred years of period. The henceforth rules of contraindications will help a vaidya to address the core issues of sleep amicably by following the general rules stated above.
Day sleep is contra indicated in persons who are over obese [bahu meda:] and presenting with sAma kapha features.
Night time sleeping is contra indicated in persons who have consumed life endangering poisons and in persons suffering from [obstructive] throat diseases.
Indications for day sleep:
Day sleep is beneficial [bhaved ahani nidrayA] and indicated in the persons with the following health conditions or state of physique,-
haleemaka type of jaundice,
shiro jADya [coldness or dullness of head],
shiro staimitya [stiffness or rigidity of head],
gurugAtratA [heaviness of body and body parts],
atibhramsha [loss of body balance],
sroto rodha [obstruction in the channels of the body],
agni mandatA [reduced or diminished digestive functions],
shopha [inflammatory conditions],
koTha piDakA [urticarial rashes],
gala AmayA [diseases of throat],
viShavega pravrutti: [stages of toxicity of poison intake].