8 ancient health practices modern research has proven right (part 2)

Let’s dive into 4 more ayurvedic practices that have stood the test of time—and are backed by modern health research. If you missed the first 4, check them out here.

5. Sleep

Ayurveda talks about the need for sleep both in terms of quality and quantity. Get the scoop here on why you need sleep. How much sleep do we need? Many people only sleep 6 hours, but is that enough? A fascinating experiment by the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University found that the mental and physical performance of research participants who slept 6 hours a night for 2 weeks fell to the same level as if they had stayed awake for 48 hours straight—even though they believed that their performance levels were unaffected by the shorter sleep. For better productivity and health, we need more than 6 hours of sleep. How about when we go to sleep? The ayurvedic circadian rhythm has you in bed before 10PM to allow you to get the most of nature’s wisdom. Allopathic research is starting to catch on. Neurologist and sleep center director, Nathaniel F. Watson writes that night owl types are more susceptible to a host of illnesses and could benefit from going to bed earlier. Not to mention, that your pineal gland starts producing and releasing melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep. This happens around 9PM. Computer, TV and other screens interfere with your ability to produce melatonin and fall asleep.

6. Gratitude

Research finds that gratitude strengthens the mind-body connection. Feeling positive emotions help improve bodily functions, too. Here are 4 ways to develop a gratitude attitude. A simple thing I do every day is double tap the roof of my car as a thank you when something good happens on the road—when I get a parking spot fast, when I catch the green light when I’m in a hurry, or when I avoid an accident.

Other than that, I say grace in the morning upon wakening and right before bed to help leave my day behind. Just like meditation, it helps me prepare for bed. 

7. Meditation

Meditation has been a popular health research topic ever since mindfulness became the next big thing since sliced bread. A Harvard study found that meditation can help rebuild the brain’s gray matter in just 8 weeks. Another study suggests that it can change your body at the cellular level, and you’ll even find many more that talk about how meditation can change your body and brain. What’s more is that depending on the type of meditation, this powerful tool will change different areas of the brain. Meditation can even help combat inflammation. Stress is linked to inflammation. So when you learn to better handle stress, you’ll also affect inflammation. If you’ve been following the story on the vagus nerve, you know that daily habits, such as yoga and meditation can stimulate your vagus nerve, which is a large component of your parasympathetic nervous system. This nervous system is responsible for your “rest and digest” response. Deep diaphragmatic breaths with extra long exhales stimulate the vagus nerve, leading to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

I meditate in the morning to set up my day right and at night before falling asleep. I find the evening meditation especially important as it helps me put aside the fear, frustration and any other unpleasant feelings I may have experienced during the day. When you let go of them, you’ll be in a better place for a good night’s sleep. But when you carry them with you, they’ll show up in your dreams, leaving you tossing and turning restless.   

8. Circadian rhythm

The circadian rhythm is about so much more than just your sleep cycle—and is one of my favorite topics! Everything is connected. Allopathic health research is beginning to connect the dots between diet, exercise and sleep; and educate about avoiding nighttime workouts. Ayurveda suggests that the best time to move is in the morning during the kapha time of the day. And new research is starting to agree. Of course, if you can’t make it in the morning, squeeze in some exercise when you can and do your best to avoid doing it late in the day. Ayurveda takes the idea of the circadian rhythm further. It suggests that you do certain things during certain times of the day when you have nature’s rhythm on your side. Modern science is not quite there yet. Download our free ayurvedic workday planner to see how you can organize your day the “circadian” way.

Our ancestors knew how to live healthy—and modern research proves them right. Check out these simple lifestyle changes for #HealthyLiving #MindBodyHealth Click To Tweet

What’s more is that allopathic research is starting to show how working with nature’s clock could be key to slowing the progression of cancer in a breast cancer trial study.  

Disclaimer: the information in this article should not be considered as medical advice. It’s merely the presentation of ancient ayurvedic teachings in the context of modern research.  

Image by Simon Migaj, Unsplash

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