Loss of sleep and Ayurveda


“INSOMNIA” is a common sleep disorder in our modern, fast paced & stressful life. It is a inability to obtain an adequate amount or quality of sleep. The difficulty can be in falling asleep, remaining asleep, or both. People with insomnia do not feel refreshed when they wake up, which affect their ability to function during the day. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.

Symptoms of Inadequate sleep are day time fatigue, sleepiness, lowered energy levels, delayed reflexes, weak memory, lack of concentrate, confused state of mind, increased blood pressure, dark circles under eyes, dry skin, appearance of wrinkles on skin and hair loss.

Psychological conditions (anxiety, mental depression, stress etc.), Medications (steroids, diuretics, blood pressure medications etc.), excessive work, excessive consumption of tea or coffee, smoking, drinking alcohol, hunger or overeating before sleep, constipation, dyspepsia and menstruation (in female) are common causes of Insomnia.

According to Ayurveda, an improper diet and lifestyle causes aggravation of Vata dosha which travels through the channels of the head and cause insomnia or Anidra (Ayurvedic name). Ayurveda says, Prana Vata (sub-dosha of Vata dosha) makes the nervous system sensitive. When this sensitivity of nervous system coupled with an aggravated Prana Vata, it lead to “INSOMNIA”. Vata is aggravated by worries, anger, suppressed emotions, overwork, over-excitement, increased intake of tea and coffee especially before going to bed, long gaps between meals and intake of cold and dry food, etc. Sometimes as like Prana Vata, Tarpak Kapha and Sadhak Pitta may also responsible for Insomnia. Tarpak Kapha (sub-dosha of Kapha) 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 (sub-dosha of Pitta) 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 sleeplessness.

The Ayurvedic treatment of Insomnia focuses on balancing the aggravated doshas through classical herbal medicines as well as customized diet and lifestyle plans.

Diet Recommend for Insomnia

  •  Low-salt diet
  • Calcium / Magnesium rich food, as they are natural sedatives like milk, almonds, peanuts, walnuts.
  • Vitamin B containing diet : Whole grain, cereals, pulses and green vegetables, fresh fruits and curd.
  • Avoid white-flour foods, sugar, tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, fatty foods, fried foods

Lifestyle Recommend for Insomnia

  • Avoid watching television or working on the computer late at night.
  • Prepare a sleep schedule. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at a fixed time every morning.
  • If possible, take a hot bath or shower before bedtime.
  • Regular physical exercise.
  • Create a sleep environment in the room, avoid too much light and noise.

Massage (abhyanga)

Before going to bed, rub warm sesame oil on your scalp and the soles of your feet.

Ayurvedic Herbs Recommend for Insomnia

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yoga Recommend for Insomnia

Meditation

Meditation at bedtime is a technique to soothe the stressed nerves. This powerful technique improves concentration and helps discard all the negative thoughts from the mind. Sleep is one of the supporting pillars of life. Along with diet, sleep is important for good health and well-being.

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