So, let’s have a look at the doshic clock, starting from just before sunrise.
First, understand that daytime is for vigorous active biological processes, like digesting. Nighttime is for deeply restorative cellular activity, like repairing & banking energy.
Next, picture an old-school clock face. The hours after sunrise, from 6-10 in the morning (+/- depending on the season of course) naturally lend themselves to Kapha building, It’s during this time that K-type organs are busy. If the goal is to reduce phlegm & congestion, it’s good to get up early & be active & moving before this time and avoid eating a heavy, dairy-laden breakfast during these hours.
- 10-2 is dominated by all things pitta, mainly digestion. So if you want the best absorption of nutrients, and therefore the best energy, have your biggest meal at lunch, when your body naturally gets revved up to digest best.
- In the afternoon from 2-6, Vata organs get active, but if your energy is depleted, your body is going to ask for rest at this hour – you might feel sleepy or reach for coffee or sweets. If, on the other hand, you follow Ayurvedic recommendations in rhythm with the doshic clock, it doesn’t take long to have enough energy to have your best clarity & creativity during these hours.
So that’s daytime. After sunset, however, the organ energy shifts from activity to restoration. From 6-10 at night, the best thing to do is have a light dinner, spend time with people, and do some mild activity. We might feel heavy & committed to early sleep as the kapha hours approach, and promise ourselves an early bedtime. But by the time Pitta rolls around, if you’re still awake, you might experience a surge of concentration.
Although I’ve never heard this explained in the classics, from listening to hundreds of clients and from my own experience, I’ve observed if you’re not asleep so your pitta organs can get busy with what should be ‘asleep’ activities like repairing, & cleansing metabolic wastes from the cells, tissues & blood, then a surge of pitta energy will shift you into active mode. You’ll plan a huge list of things to accomplish tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes, you’ve depleted your energy bank the night before from staying up late, and ambitious goals of the night before remain untouched. It becomes a vicious cycle. Meanwhile, if your Vata is high, it can create too much lightness in your system to stay asleep from 2-6 in the morning, you might wake once or more or have what I call the ‘bladder alarm” go off.
Some simple tricks to reboot your rhythm:
- Eat a full lunch, the biggest meal of the day
- Eat a light dinner
- Notice & beat your “pitta surge” to sleep before 10-10:30 at night
- After a while, your energy bank will recharge, and you can start to wake early and make the most of those glorious sattvic morning hours
- Prioritize your self-care. Don’t let anything sabotage your rhythms
- It takes about 10 weeks to get a comfortable familiarity with the Ayurvedic habits that give you the most leverage – but it takes about a year to retrain your biology (and yourself!) to automate these Ayurvedic habits. If you don’t get them down, onder de knieen- as we say in Dutch, they’re going to obstruct your feeling 100%.
- It takes about 3 days to lose your initial enthusiasm. Get full support – check out the Vitality Recharge to learn 20 skills you need to not fall victim to lack of follow through!