If you are waking up between 2 and 3 am wide eyed, mind racing, you are not alone. It’s so common that In Ayurveda-land we call this phenomena EMA. Early Morning Awakening.
The reason is very simple in ayurvedic terms: If you look at the clock, 2-6 both AM/PM are considered Vata times. So if you are waking at this time it is a sign of a pitta/vata imbalances conspiring to wake you up with a feeling of being ready for the day rather than more sleep. What’s that? read on… and read here to understand data which is the force getting you awake.
Vata is all about circulation, the nervous system, delivering nutrients around the body and collecting up toxins to move them out. When it goes out of balance you may feel anxious, forgetful, ungrounded and flighty, dry, constipated.
When there is Pitta heat build up in the body (from intense and excessive activity and conditions deeper within the physiology that create heat in the blood, as we call it) this heat creates mental pressure that breaks through during the lighter sleeping Vata time.
“Pitta time” Pitta (10-2 am/pm) is about digestion, assimilation, cellular activity and metabolism. This is why it is best to eat the biggest meal around noon and have eaten your evening meal well before 10pm so the digestion can work on getting nutrients organized, metabolized and delivered to the cells and tissues where it is needed and toxins separated and ready for expulsion where appropriate.
First try to find correlations relating to nights when you are having EMA’s. I find that drinking red wine gets me to sleep faster but increases chances I will wake at 2am. But here are the basic tips for avoiding EMA’s.
- Find ways to decrease emotional stress – Meditate and/or Develop an Alternate Nostril Breathing practice. Do it before bed and when/if you wake up at night do it to soothe yourself and your mind back to sleep. sNote: sundown and sunrise are the start of Kapha time. (the third dosha which has to do with grounding and are ideal times to meditate to soak up grounding energy.) READ HERE or LISTEN HERE
- Get to bed closer to 10:00 p.m.
- Avoid stimulation and blinking screens — television, computer and phone — within an hour of bedtime.
- Do self massage! (soothes vata imbalances) read here
- Do not eat a big or heart or hard to digest meal late in the day.
- Eat a well-cooked, easy-to-digest dinner at least three hours before bedtime.
- Try to eat your main meal between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Some general reminders. Vata is light dry mobile so do things that are warming and grounding. Massage your feet with warm sesame oil before bed (put on socks after)