Ayurveda's Secret Recipe for Mom’s Perfect Nap
By: Ryan Reisman
Forget Flowers & Candy, Ayurveda Knows What You Need on Mother’s Day
Ahhhhh, it was pure bliss. Remember that last perfect nap you had? When the kids were quiet and all the elements lined up to deliver that grateful gift for your swamped, struggling senses?
Oh, what a day that was, when you managed to sneak in that refreshing, once-in-a-lifetime rapturous nap you needed so desperately to get through the rest of your crazy, busy, mothering madness.
And (sigh), it’s simply never happened again.
Well, this Mother’s Day, Ayurveda and common sense are teaming up to offer you our recipe for the perfect, rejuvenating, ultra-refreshing mom nap. Here are our Top 10 Tips for recapturing the magic of that rare, blissful, time-out slumber.
#1 - Can the Noise
Too many street sounds outside? There’s still something to be said about the comforting cover of white noise. Turn on a fan, whether you point it at yourself or not. Put in your earbuds and enjoy your favorite meditative music or nature sounds. Lots of streaming video providers now offer ambient content for napping and relaxation; everything from gentle rain to rollicking thunderstorms to rock you to sleep.
#2 - Muzzle the Kids
Kids arguing? Binge-watching their fifth episode of that show with the annoying theme song that drives you batty? Give them away for the day. Bye-bye! Any good nap deserves a totally quiet household, so find a good off-site sitter or tell the spouse to load the kids into the minivan and take them out for some hiking or a couple of hours in the park while you snooze. While you’re at it, make sure they take the dog with them too.
#3 - Eat a Little Something
We all nap better when our tummies aren’t growling. Eat a light snack before you hop under the covers. Something sweet and juicy like organic blueberries, or maybe a yogurt with a spoonful of granola. Light comfort foods that don’t shoot your blood sugar out of the ballpark can actually satisfy the snacking urge and let you lie down feeling nurtured, content and sweetly satiated.
#4 - Choose Your Time Wisely
The right time of day can make or break the perfect nap. Pitta moms are solar. They’re sun-dwellers who tend to be more alert in daytime hours. Napping too early may be hard for them. Kapha moms are lunar, and more alert when the moon starts to show in the sky. They might want to get their 40 winks in by early afternoon. Vata moms wander a bit between the two. Listen to your body and nap when it needs to.
#5 - Cuddle Up Selfishly
Make sure you personally own the best blanket in the house. Tuck it aside and make sure everybody knows it’s Mom’s Special Napping Blanket. Make sure it’s cozy, fuzzy, fluffy and clean. Your own private wraparound oasis. A cocoon of comfort used only for your mom naps, and then hide it away again when you’re finished, where nobody else can find it.
#6 - Lights Out
A dark room is a must. Some moms block out light with a sleep mask pulled over their eyes, but if you’re not used to wearing one they can sometimes feel itchy, sweaty or binding. Either pick a light and airy one, or draw those shades, hang a blanket over the window if you have to, but make sure your napping room is a comfortable cave of quiet, deep darkness where rays of distraction can’t peek in and disturb you.
#7 - Herbs That Start with Zzzzzz
Ayurveda had plenty of favorite herbs on hand for softly snoring your way into quiet renewal.
- Ashwagandha actually has the Latin word for sleep in its botanical name, Withania
- Bacopa was used to quiet excess mind chatter. So was Gotu Kola. They’re two herbs that say, “Shhh, go away racing thoughts, Mommy’s trying to sleep now.”
- Holy Basil, also called Tulsi, has been used for millennia for occasional sleeplessness. As a tea or in a capsule, it’s hard to beat for happy napping.
#8 - Practice Good Climate Control
A comfortable napping temperature is essential, especially as we head toward summer and start fiddling around with the thermostat. A few degrees higher or a few degrees lower can often be the difference between a peaceful nap or a fitful one. Like Goldilocks said, “This nap’s too hot, and this nap’s too cold, but if I mess around with the a/c a little, this nap is jusssst right.”
#9 - Wear Yourself Out First
As much as Ayurveda believes in meditation and peacefulness, it also believes that regular exercise is a pillar to keep your body in balance. You simply sleep better after you’ve been moving. Even low-impact, moderate exercise an hour before you nap can put your body in the right, receptive space for relaxing and refreshing. Walk around the block or do some light yoga stretches before you tuck in.
#10 - Get Rid of the 21st Century
Most moms live in a world of overstimulated screen time. For a successful nap in the afternoon, give up your phone in the morning. No texting, no scrolling, no social media, no instant messages. The constant barrage of visual stimulation is like a fluttery rush of nonstop input to your already overworked brain. Put the phone down. Turn off the computer. Put your mind in the right space and the right place before you nap.
Nighty-Night! Happy Mother’s Day
Just like seeds in a garden turn into flowers and sustenance, a well-rested mom plants seeds of wellness that turn into energetic moments with her better-nurtured family.
Take time out to treat yourself to a relaxing nap this Mother’s Day. In fact, put it on the family calendar and insist on it!