Insomnia: an Ayurvedic perspective

A disorder in which a person sleeps poorly or suffers from restless, short sleep is known as insomnia. Many people in different periods of life are faced with a similar phenomenon, which can negatively affect the productivity and quality of human life. According to Ayurveda, insomnia is caused by the failure of Vata – the leading of the three doshas.

and – energy complexes that regulate all the physical functions of the body and, in the case of perfect health, are in balance. With insomnia, as a rule, Vata and Pitta doshas are involved in the imbalance. Pitta prevents falling asleep, while Vata tends to interrupt sleep, preventing a person from falling asleep again. Both doshas are characterized by qualities that are opposite to the nature of sleep – mobility, clarity, lightness, excitement. The Ayurvedic approach to the treatment of insomnia is to balance the body, by repaying the excess of qualities that are opposite to sleep. At the same time, it is necessary to maintain the natural circadian rhythms of the body, calming the nervous system and returning to the original state of calm.

The following Ayurvedic recommendations work to balance the sleep cycle, calm the mind and “ground”, increase the qualities of Kapha dosha. Ancient Indian science also notes the importance of maintaining healthy agni (metabolic fire), which is the foundation of optimal health.

The constancy and consistency of the rhythm of life is stability, which not only “grounds”, but also deeply calms the nervous system. In the context of a rapidly developing modern world, where stress and anxiety are almost the best friends of a person, routine is to maintain a calm mind, a stable nervous system and quality sleep. It coordinates us with natural rhythms and provides the very predictability that is very beneficial for our physiology.

(rhythm) begins with a fixed time of getting up and going to bed every day, eating at the same time. Compliance with the established regime of work and rest is very desirable.

Before going to bed:

  • Bath. Relaxes the nervous system, releases tension, helps to calm the mind. Vata type constitutions allow hotter baths than Pitta doshas.
  • A glass of hot milk or chamomile tea. Both drinks have the effect of “grounding” and softening. Optionally, you can add a pinch of nutmeg, cardamom, and ghee butter to milk.
  • Massaging the feet and scalp with warm oil. This practice balances the mind and energy flow. Sesame and coconut oils are good for Vata dosha, while sunflower and olive oils are especially good for Pitta.

After waking up:

  • Abhiyanga (self-massage with oil). A treatment that saturates and nourishes the body, calms the nervous system and is a practice of self-love.
  • Calm morning routine. Shower, slow walk, ten minutes of meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.

For starters, make sure the bedroom—and the bed in particular—is a place reserved for sleeping and intercourse only. Here we don’t study, we don’t read, we don’t watch TV, we don’t work, and we don’t even surf the Internet. The bedroom in all respects should be conducive to sleep. Temperature, lighting, silence, humidity have the potential to interfere with or promote sleep. Vata constitutions prefer warmer temperatures, soft bedding, large blankets, a nightlight, and adequate humidity. In contrast, Pitta would prefer a cool room, a light blanket, a hard mattress, complete darkness, and less humidity.

Screen time disrupts the biological rhythms that support healthy sleep. The best solution for this moment would be to exclude activity in front of electronic devices after dinner.

In the same way, stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol disrupt the physiological cycles needed for sound sleep. In order to improve sleep and overall health, it is necessary to categorically refuse to use such poisons.

Reading at night, a favorite pastime of many, is overly stimulating, especially to the eyes and mind (while unbalancing the Pitta dosha). Here you should also not forget about lying down, which is also unacceptable.

According to Ayurveda, the most abundant meal should take place at lunchtime, while dinner is recommended to be light. Evening food should be nutritious, healthy, easily digestible, at least 3 hours before bedtime.

It is perhaps impossible to imagine health without adequate and regular exercise, which also plays an important role in the subject of sleep. Fitness and sports activities kindle agni, improve digestion, strengthen detoxification mechanisms, promote bowel regularity, and relax the body. However, exercising before bed can be too stimulating, and the best time to exercise (according to Ayurveda) is from 6 am to 10 am. In the case of insomnia, evening physical the load should be completed 2-3 hours before bedtime.

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