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"When wealth is lost nothing is lost, health is lost something is lost and when the character is lost everything is lost." This popular proverb emphasises the importance of health maintenance. The maintenance of health is now an utmost necessity in the present world as an individual's health directly impacts the economy. Health economics is the area that studies the impact and interrelationship of individual health and economics.
Disease prevention, early identification by a regular medical check-up, inoculation and immunisation to prevent microbial illness, developing markers to identify upcoming health problems and identifying the measures to prevent or delay ongoing disease and its prevention is the talk of the day. The quest for disease-free and healthy wellbeing is since old age and this is evident from the ancient Ayurvedic literature the first chapter of Charaka Samhita is Driganjivitiya i.e. longevity. The rationale for study based conclusion of goods and beds for health and disease is documented in the text Charaka Samhita
त्रिसूत्रं शाश्वतं पुण्यं बुबुधे यं पितामहः||२४||"
The stanza means the knowledge of the cause-effect relationship, signs symptoms and medicine - drugs- foodstuff for a healthy person and diseased one is narrated in the text as Trisutra and this knowledge are eternal and rational in every era.
As narrated above, the quest for good health has started since human civilization. The disease can be prevented in two different ways the first is to stop exposure (in the case of microbial disease) and the second is by improving the host factor of defence. Immunity is a double-edged sword and training the immune system can help to prevent disease. In the present era, the medical system emphasises increasing immunisation or inoculation to sanitise the host and thus help in preventing the disease. Ayurveda opines that the host (humans) interacts with the atmosphere through food and routines if they are modified that can prevent the disease onset.
These procedures and regulations can also arrest ageing phenomena by scavenging free radicals, improving mitochondrial functions of cells (mitochondria are the powerhouse of cell and disease occurs if this organelle dysfunction), maintaining genetic integrity and thus not only preventing disease but also promoting better health and quality life. This procedure can also help in restoring the normal tissue status in post disease period which is known as Prakruti Sthapana in Ayurveda. There is the effect of circadian changes in the body that is studied in Ayurveda as Dincharya and Rutucharya.
The former is the study of physiological changes within the body and measures to arrest the changes that may ultimately lead to pathology by use of food and routine during the 24 hours whereas the latter describes the circadian changes over a longer period - a calendar year.
Dincharya as the name suggest is made up of two wards Din meaning day and Charya means routine. These are the set of healthy habits according to Indian ecology. (WHO advocates improving wellbeing and maintaining the local ecosystem). This healthy lifestyle procedure starts with waking up early.
Waking up early is a good healthy habit. There are numerous benefits of waking up early over & above clean air the neuro-chemical like serotonin, melatonin, oxytocin, endorphins, etc. collective known as pleasure hormone concentration is higher in the early morning. These hormones bring happiness which eventually leads to improved function of the immune system, neuro-regulations and humoral regulation (hormone regulation) that eventually produce goods for the body and positive physical and mental health is achieved.
When to wake up?
It is important to know when to wake up and get up from bed. The ideal time to get up from bed is the brahammuhurta. The period changes as per the movement of the sun in summer it is quite early and in winter it is a bit late. The average sunrise time in summer is approx. 6:00 AM so the braham muhurta would be 4.30 AM and in winters the sunrise is approx. 7:00 AM the period would be at 5.30 AM. Waking up before the braham muhurta is also not good for health. It has been narrated in Astnag Hridya about night sleep that
"रात्रौ जागरणं रूक्षं, स्निग्धं प्रस्वपनं दिवा||५५||
The stanza narrates that remaining awakened at night or not taking proper night sleep is Ruksha i.e. it increases Vata in the body and sleeping in the daytime - daydreaming narcolepsy increases unctuousness that leads to the provocation of Kapha that may eventually lead to obesity, deranged fat metabolism and its regulation, occlusive pathologies, etc. and taking rest in recliners during the day is neither Abhishyandi nor Ruksha. If a person wants to take a nap then recliners or chairs are best as it maintains the equilibrium of three Doshas.
Importance of Brahamamuhurta
This period of the day is considered the most auspicious time of day, the time is most appropriate for chanting Mantras, following religious rituals, studying, thinking, learning, spiritual activities, worship and meditation. There are constant changes in body humour in the body at the time of the day; pleasant hormones remain in higher concentration in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning before sunrise, and immunoglobulins and other hormones remain higher during the day time and higher concentration of sterols hormones is observed in the night that repairs the injuries including micro-injuries that occurs during the day time. The abundance of pleasant hormones helps in producing goods to human especially those who have work-related critical thinking.
Serotonin - This is the first pleasant hormone and predominates in the early morning hours. This is chemically 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) - a neurotransmitter that has multifaceted functions like cogitation, memory, thinking, learning etc. A higher concentration of the neurotransmitter in the morning helps in performing the tasks that involve critical thinking, meditation easier and eventually corrects the immunity, neurological and hormonal function through the psycho-neuroimmunology pathway.
Melatonin- This is also referred to as the waking up hormone. It is regulatory of circadian rhythm, this is secreted from pineal glands and performs various vital functions like blood pressure regulation, reproduction rhythmicity, hibernation, and antioxidant activities. This can be supplemented by foods or medications but naturally, it is secreted in the early morning hours hence getting up early from bed before sunrise would help in natural means of secretion.
Oxytocin- This is a neuropeptide hormone secreted from the posterior part of the pituitary gland. The hormone plays role in reproduction, and labour, and most important is social bonding. As the hormone is associated with social bonding normalcy of the phenomenon of the hormone is good for inter-personal & intra-personal relationships that eventually lead to improved general wellbeing.
Endorphins- It is a endogenous opioid neuropeptide produced from the pituitary gland. It primarily suppress the pain signalling and produces euphoria. This produces a feeling of well-being in humans and acts as a natural healer.
On A Final Note...
Healthy habits ought to be followed for disease prevention, health promotion and physical and mental wellbeing. Ayurveda narrates a healthy lifestyle that is in accordance with diurnal and circadian rhythms. In the upcoming article by Dr Nishant Shukla, the details of the healthy daily routine procedures as per Ayurveda would be dealt
Statutory instruction: The article is presented to increase the awareness about Ayurveda on the traditional knowledge of Ayurveda from old Ayurveda texts and applicable as per interpreting the ancient Ayurved text. Readers can read and get informed about Ayurveda, for more details and consultations do contact the Ayurveda physician or Ayurveda Hospital.
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