Ubud means green smoothie and light reading before an evening meditation class – every day if I like. And getting up with the sun. It took me 5 years’ worth of summer holidays and a Balinese ayurvedic doctor to understand that my natural tendency is to sleep too much. In today’s busy Western world, we tend to sleep late during the weekends when we can. I thought it was beneficial to catch up on sleep properly during weekends. But the dear doctor I consulted told me that with a pitta-kapha constitution I need to restrict my sleep to 8 hours, 9 hours maximum. And that the best sleep I can get is before midnight – to wake up at 6.30 am, right after dawn.
While our bodies need sleep, they also need waking rest. We cannot compensate the waking rest with sleep, living a life of extremes: stress until we sleep, sleep until we stress. Have you, like me, tried try to compensate rest with only sleep, until noon in dark winter weekend mornings, just to end up feeling sluggish and even more exhausted than the night before? After a pilot week I vow to myself to change my daily rhythm: going to sleep by 10.30 pm at the latest will give me almost a full night’s sleep even if I have an early morning flight and must rise by 4.30 am.
Our bodies sleep in cycles, my travel companion told me. And waking up from deep sleep is not constructive to our energy levels. She convinced me to try an app that tracks individual sleep cycles and awakes one with soft sounds at the moment when the sleep is not deep. This way one awakes more refreshed, instead of being dug out of a deep sleep by a relentless alarm clock. I am curious to see how it can help my sleep reprogramming.
For now I will enjoy my sunrise mornings with fresh frangipani flowers in the trees and birds singing as I make myself ready for yoga practice. Reality will only hit much later, thank goodness for that.
(Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; August 2016)