This quaint, old proverb reflects what Ayurveda knows to be true and what modern science describes as Circadian Rhythms – the concept that our bodies are naturally attuned to doing certain things at specific times of the day.
I generally recommend my clients wake at sunrise, give or take half an hour depending on their individual constitution. Ayurvedically the hours between 2am and 6am represent Vata time – the hours in which properties associated with Vata energy are more dominant in our bodies and in the atmosphere. Vata energy creates movement and activity – just what we need to get us out of bed and moving in the morning. Prana – the essence of life – is highest in the atmosphere around dawn and waking at that time allows us to benefit from that very special energy.
As we move beyond 6am, we enter Kapha time which lasts until 10am. Kapha is associated with slow, heavy qualities and we often find that sleeping in until 8am or 9am – or later – can leave us feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. We have lost the vitality associated with the Vata time and struggle to find the energy to carry us through. We may experience tiredness for no obvious reason.
When it comes to sleep, I recommend a 10/10.30pm bedtime. Between the hours of 6pm and 10pm, the body releases hormones which slow down processes and make it easier to sleep. It’s one of the reasons why and early dinner is so important for maintaining a healthy weight; from 6pm onwards, the digestive system is one of the processes that slows ready for sleep.
Why don’t you try “early to bed, early to rise” for a week or two and see how different you feel?