Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you spending restless nights with tossing and turning only to drift off for a few minutes before your alarm goes off? If yes, then you might be among the millions suffering from insomnia or sleeplessness.
Studies suggest that 50% of the people world’s population suffer from insomnia frequently. On the other hand, more than 30% of people have insomnia regularly.
Insomnia is a severe disorder as it leads to unhappiness, weakness, impotence, lack of sensibility, and premature death.
Several antidepressant and anti-histamine based drugs are prescribed to induce sleep, but most of them remain active into the next day. Continuous use of these drugs renders them ineffective, and they also bring along severe adverse effects.
That’s why it is better to restore our body’s natural sleep cycle naturally. Ayurvedic remedies and therapies are one such alternative which could treat the problem of insomnia.
Ayurveda states that Tamas, one of the mental doshas and Kapha, one of the physical dosha, affects your sleep tendency.
As a result of the erratic lifestyle and several other factors, these doshas severely affect the quality of sleep.
How does Ayurveda treat Insomnia?
Ayurvedic treatment for insomnia is based on balancing the Tamas and Kapha dosha. Also, along with therapies for fixing your body, Ayurveda prescribes treatments to rejuvenate the state of mind as well.
Ayurvedic palliative treatment
Many herbs and herbal preparations are suggested in Ayurvedic texts. These herbs not only relieve off the manifested symptoms of insomnia, but they also produce sound effects on the brain to ultimately root out this disease.
Ayurvedic herbs like English speed wheel, Indian pennywort, Winter cherry, Spikenard, Indian valerian, Indian serpentina, Indian kudzu, Climbing asparagus, Black oil tree, Marsilia are primarily used to cure insomnia.
But some of the herbal preparations like Brahmi Rasayana, Saraswatarishta, Shatavari powder, Shankhapushpi juice, Shrikhandadi powder, Sarpagandha Ghana Vati, Tagaradi powder or pills, a decoction of spikenard root, milk decoction of Ashwagandha, Mukta Shukti bhasma promote sound sleep and so can also be used to alleviate this problem.
Ayurvedic herbs and drugs work best if taken along with milk, as milk is a very good sleep inducer.
Ayurvedic purificatory treatment
Many times irregular bowels cause sleep disorders. Daily intake of castor oil or Triphala powder will clear your bowels. This will cure the problem of insomnia due to impaired bowels.
Nasya, i.e., administration of nasal drops is yet another cleansing procedure which maintains kapha dosha and relaxes the brain. Regular inhalation of few drops of gingelly oil, cow milk ghee, and almond oil is very beneficial.
Shirodhara (pouring medicated liquids over the forehead) with buttermilk, oil boiled with Brahmi or Amalaki is very useful for insomnia. It is so effective that at times who could not sleep earlier for months, often sleeps quietly during the therapy itself.
It is to be taken for at least 10-15 seating regularly or with a gap of 1-2 days.
In today’s world, where man is pretending to be a machine, our actions are not harmonious with nature anymore. We rarely give proper rest to the body & mind and barely pay attention to our sleep health. Our sleep is often disturbed with dreams, and we seldom experience deep sleep.
If we take care of some of our routine activities, then we could certainly improve our sleep pattern.
Indigestion & constipation
Indigestion & constipation leads to flatulence and abdominal pain, which disturbs sleep. Therefore, your meal, especially dinner, must be light, easily digestible, and nutritious. Take dinner at least before 2-3 hours before retiring to bed
Fatigue, both physical and mental, leads to good sleep. Hence, brisk walking after dinner & reading a book before going to bed is recommended
There are several diseases which do not allow a good sleep. Migraine, asthma, stomach ache, injury, arthritic pain, etc. makes one sleepless. So, unless the disease is cured, you may not get proper sleep
Suppression of urges for sleeping
Do not suppress natural urges like urination, defecation, belching, thirst, hunger, etc. before sleeping. Suppressing these urges will cause sleep disturbances
Healthy persons should not sleep during day time as it aggravates kapha dosha and leads to several diseases
Your bedroom should have a comfortable temperature for sound sleep. Soothing music, pleasing songs, cooling fragrances like sandalwood and rose are useful in inducing sleep
A comfortable bed is essential for good sleep. The bed mattress should not be too soft, and the pillow should not be bulky. Use a pillow to keep minimum blood circulation to the head for less-troubled sleep
Time to sleep
Do not sleep immediately after dinner; instead, go for a walk after dinner. Walking will partially digest the food, and it will give rest to your stomach during sleep. Hence, there will be no interference in your sleep
State of mind
Avoid any stressful, upsetting conversations & arguments before sleep. Getting angry, anxious, and worrying hinders your sleep. Go to bed with a relaxed mind with an optimistic feeling for the coming day. Try meditating for 10-15 minutes to relax when you are unable to sleep
Proper sleeping posture
After food, sleep on the left side for at least an hour then turn to the right side. This will facilitate digestion and induce good sleep. Do not fold limbs and remain fully stretched during sleep. This eases blood circulation to different body parts.
Daily massage your head and feet with gingelly oil, Brahmi oil, bhringaraja oil, or Amalaki oil before going to bed
Smoking, intake of tea, coffee, stimulant drugs, and alcohol before going to bed
Wash feet with cold water before going to bed
Overeating non-vegetarian, hot, salty, heavy, fried & spicy food
Include more physical activity in your daily routine & practice meditation and Pranayama
Day sleeping, overexertion, excessive sexual indulgence,
Make a habit of taking a glass of milk with sugar at bedtime. Especially buffalo’s milk is best to induce deep sleep
Reading intensive books, watching TV, worrying & aggressive behavior
Sleep – Healer of body & mind
All the above mentioned Ayurvedic measures help to bring psychological and physical relaxation. Thus, gradually the quality and duration of sleep improve.
Sleep is not just a state of being tired but an opportunity for our mind & body to heal and restore the health.
Like food, sleep is also one of the sub-pillars essential for the sustenance of life in Ayurveda. Happiness, nourishment, strength, wisdom, and longevity all depend on sleep.
If you are looking for longevity of your life along with good physical and mental health, ensure a good quality sleep.