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How the Ayurvedic Clock Can Help You Live Well

Updated: Mar 15

Learn the optimal times to eat, sleep and work, which are governed by the Ayurvedic clock.

Clock on wall with bookshelf with plant and light in front of it

Ayurveda teaches that we operate on a specific 24-hour clock that is ruled by the different doshas. The Ayurvedic clock helps us navigate life with less distress and looks at the five elements from the perspectives of:

  • Season of the year

  • Stage of life

  • Hour of the day

Each season of the year has a ruling dosha. Spring is kapha time of year. Late fall into early winter is vata time of year. Summer is ruled by pitta. Sign up for Nourish Note, my monthly newsletter to be sure to get this content.

There are also three stages of life. Kapha stage is from birth to early 20s. This is a building phase. Pitta stage is from early 20s to age 50. These are primary working years. Vata time begins around age 50. These are considered creative and expansive years.

Of course, our own dosha influences how we feel and the self-care practices we choose during these stages of life and different times of year.

As with the seasons of the year and stages of life, the hours of the day are ruled by the different doshas.

Optimal Times to Sleep and Work

The optimal times to sleep and work are governed by the Ayurvedic clock.

  • Vata times of day are 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The morning vata time is the best time to wake up—when the earth is quiet and there is lightness in the air. This is considered one of the most auspicious times to meditate. The afternoon vata time often brings with it creativity, but energy can be inconsistent and scattered this time of day.

  • Kapha times of day are 6. a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both of these intervals carry a heavy, slow quality. It’s more challenging to wake up during the morning kapha time because these qualities are present, which is what makes you want to keep pressing the snooze button when your alarm rings during this time. Get a little help from nature with the heavy, stable qualities of the nighttime portion of this time of day to wind down for a night of quality sleep.

  • Pitta times of day are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The morning to early afternoon pitta time is the ideal time to do your most productive work. Schedule meetings and work on important projects during this time. But if you regularly tend to work late into the evening, you may wind up overtired and overwired. It is harder to fall asleep quickly if you go to bed after 10 p.m.

Optimal Times to Eat

Ayurveda recommends that you eat at the following intervals:

  • Eat a moderate breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m.

  • Eat your biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m. This is when the sun and your digestion are at their peak.

  • Eat your smallest meal of the day at dinner between 5 and 7 p.m. Eating too much at night can disrupt the quality of your sleep because your body has to work on digesting food instead of doing other important repair work.

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