Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Food, Dreams & Your Sleep

According to Ayurveda and modern medicine, the purpose of sleep is to restore and repair the body and the mind.  Digestion, absorption, and assimilation of our food is a process that requires a great deal of energy.  If our body is struggling to digest food when we are asleep, our ability to have quality sleep is impaired.  This means restless, short and inadequate sleep for our health.  Dreams are a necessary and important part of good sleep.  Dreams serve to help our minds in the form of memory processing, consolidation of learning and working through difficult and unsettling thoughts, emotions, and experiences,  On a physical level dreams are thought to be the result of the brain responding to certain biochemical changes and electrical impulses that occur during sleep.  Specifically, certain parts of the brain that affect movement are shut down, and the brain switches circuits in how it operates.

There are studies linking bad dreams to consumption of certain foods.  Ayurveda teaches food is medicine as it can affect body processes.  Daily life supports this principle. Think of how caffeine in coffee can give energy, vitamin c in oranges helps build immunity and the tryptophan in turkey can make people drowsy.  If food causes these changes in the wakened state, it will certainly impact the sleeping body as well.  If a food is difficult to digest or a person has impaired digestive function, it will affect the body, creating weakness. This weakness will harm sleep quality.  The bad dreams or strange fragmented dreams can simply mean that the body is struggling to sleep. This struggle to sleep well happens because the body's digestion is strained by certain foods or eating habits.

If you are noticing a link between bad dreams and certain foods and eating habits, try to improve these areas.  Ayurveda teaches that food should not be consumed within 3 hours of going to bed. Further, Ayurveda recommends strengthening digestion by eating pure, natural foods and eating according to your body type.  Also, eat in a calm, relaxed manner, and leave time to unwind before bed.  Try to be conscious and see whether certain foods are hard to digest during the day.

Wishing you sweet dreams and restful sleep.

Stay healthy & well,

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