Ayurveda & Insomnia - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

Ayurveda & Insomnia

By on April 30, 2016
Ayurvedic Insomnia

In Ayurveda, Insomnia is known as Anidra.

According to the Ayurvedic perspective, the sub-doshas responsible for insomnia are Tarpak Kapha, Sadhak Pitta or Prana Vata.

  • Tarpak Kapha is a sub-dosha of Kapha . It nourishes the brain cells and facilitates a good night’s sleep. Imbalance of this dosha causes poor nourishment of brain cells, leading to insomnia.
  • Sadhak Pitta is a sub-dosha of Pitta and is located in the heart. It controls emotions, desires, decisiveness, and spirituality. Its imbalance makes a person demanding and workaholic, thereby leading to situations that may cause lack of sleep.
  • Prana Vata is a sub-dosha of Vata. It is linked to insomnia, worry, anxiety, and problems like depression. Prana Vata makes the nervous system sensitive; this sensitive nervous system coupled with an aggravated Prana Vata leads to insomnia.

In each patient, different combinations of doshas can lead to the disease. The Ayurvedic treatment of Insomnia focuses on balancing the aggravated body energies through herbal medicines as well as customized diet and lifestyle plans. Besides that, relaxation of mind is also important part of the treatment.

Shirodhara for Insomnia

According to traditional texts (Astanga Hrdaya: Sutra 2:7-8), the Shirodhara technique applies a steady stream of oil to the “3rd eye” location. If done correctly, it is known to accomplish miraculous healing.

Some are listed here:

  • Helpful against insomnia
  • For nervous disorders and dispositions
  • Helps relieve tension headaches
  • Reduces shoulder and neck pains
  • Coupled with head massage, it inhibits falling of hair
  • Prevention of premature graying of hair
  • Increases luster and form of hair and more

Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that interfere with your sleep, you can adopt habits following an Ayurvedic approach to insomnia that encourage better sleep. Start with these simple sleep tips.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule-

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though; if you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.

Pay Attention to What you Eat and Drink-

Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also, limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. In addition even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

It’s better to have milk at bed time. You can add a little whole sugar which contains direct carbohydrates and helps in relaxing the entire body.

Create a Bedtime Ritual-

Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.

Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.

Get Comfortable-

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.

Limit Daytime Naps-

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the mid-afternoon.

If you work nights, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn’t interrupt your daytime sleep.

Include Physical Activity in your Daily Routine-

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day, or do relaxing yoga asana.

Manage Stress-

When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow. To reduce stress, you can take jatamansi churna 1 pinch at bed time. Consulting your Ayurvedic practitioner first.

The rhizomes of Nardostachys jatamansi, the plant commonly known as Jatamansi have been described in Ayurveda for their soothing and sedative action on the central nervous system. In the present study, the anti-stress effect of hydroethanolic extract (70%) of N. jatamansi (NJE) was evaluated in reference to its antioxidant property.

EA Content Manger Note- Sleep Easy Oil from Banyan Botanicals is another great tool for sound sleep. Rub some on the crown of the head and the soles of the feet before bed. 

Sweet Dreams!

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About Kinshuk Hirpara

Dr. Kinshuk Hirpara graduated from Akhandanand Ayurvedic College in Ahmedabad, India, and completed a Masters in clinical research at Gujarat University. Her practice is focused on skin, hair, and pediatric health and disease. She is a column writer for Gujarat Times, and regular guest on radio and television in Gujarat. Read more of her work on Blogger.

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