Ayurveda on Napping, Vedanta on Sleep

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian study of medicine, suggests that taking a nap during the day (“daysleep”), is best done under certain conditions.

 

Ayurveda recommends that napping should not happen on a full stomach.  Better to nap on an empty or semi-empty stomach, and then one wakes up light and fresh.

 

Ayurveda generally holds that napping is not a problem in the hot summer months or hot weather.  However, it warns against napping during cold seasons, for people of certain constitutions.

Specifically, “Kapha” people should avoid napping during winter months (and frankly, Kapha should avoid napping during summer months as well, unless completely necessary).  As Kapha already has a tendency to slowness, docility, and the risk of lethargy, a nap may exacerbate these traits.

 

That said, for Vata and Pitta types, naps can be extremely beneficial.

 

Advaita Vedanta on Sleep 

The Indian non-dualist philosophy of Advaita Vedanta actually holds up “deep sleep” as a particularly important state, in some ways privileging it over the other two states — the waking state and the dreaming state.

 

This is because, in deep sleep we are “reconnected with our source,” and no longer subject to the illusions of the ego and the external world.

 

That said, the ideal of Advaita Vedanta, is that one can become cognizant of one’s identity as source, not simply in Deep Sleep (when one is not really cognizant, frankly), but also in the waking state.

That is true liberation, when one can be one with one’s source, and not deluded by the apparent ego or individuality, while awake and alive.

 

Sages such as Ramana Maharshi are said to have achieved this state — of constant awareness of the True Self.

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