Management of Insomnia in Ayurveda
Insomnia is the inability to sleep at night, it either means taking a long time to fall asleep or is the condition of lacking a sound sleep. Insomnia doesn’t just impairs your sleep, its impacts extend to the health and happiness of your personal life and efficiency in your works.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Insomnia is not only indicated by a night rendered sleepless, other difficulties in taking proper rest are also indications of Insomnia. They include:
• Taking too much time to fall asleep
• Waking up very early and in between the sleep
• Fatigue and sleepiness during the day
Causes of Insomnia
Uncomfortable sleeping occasions are caused by an imbalance in the nervous system due to the following factors:
• Poor nutrition and digestion
• Too much of stress and other emotional imbalances
• Long gaps between meals
• Excessive intake of tea or coffee especially during the night
• Staring at computer screens, mobile phones and TV for longer durations
Insomnia in Ayurveda
Insomnia or sleeplessness is called Anidra in Ayurveda and its occurrence is attributed to the imbalance of 3 doshas. A brief about the three dosha imbalances is as follows:
• Tarpaka Kapha: It is one of the 5 types of kapha dosha that is responsible for providing nourishment and protection to the brain and feeling of wellness and happiness. But when vitiated, it hinders the functioning of the nervous system resulting in insomnia and a few other conditions.
• Sadhaka Pitta: This is one of the sub- types of Pitta dosha that is responsible for emotional balance and is said to connect the heart and mind. A weak Sadhaka pitta would result in anger, stress, restlessness, depression and sleeplessness.
• Prana Vayu: Prana vayu is the ascending moving air that simultaneously expands the chest as it enters the body, it governs everything that enters the body. A clear and focussed mind is an indication of the good state of prana vayu. A faulty state of this sub dosha will lead to a moody mind, head ache and negative emotions that ultimately lead in insomnia.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Insomnia
• Abhayanga: It is a full body Ayurvedic massage using warm herbal oils that treats many conditions including insomnia by calming nerves, increasing circulation and helping to eliminate impurities from the body.
• Siroabhayanga: It’s a head massage with therapeutic oils that nourishes all 5 sense organs, promoting their natural functions and calming the mind. It is therefore a treatment highly recommended to treat Insomnia.
• Shiro Dhara: It is a process in which medicated oil drips on the forehead in a steady stream. Sirodhara performed with Brahmi oil is highly effective in curing Insomnia.
• Pada Abhayanga: It is an Ayurvedic foot massage that soothes and balances various disturbances in the autonomic nervous system. Foot has many nerve endings and is the place of five marmas, hence, this Ayurvedic treatment releases the negative energy accumulated in these marmas thereby calming the mind and giving a good sleep.
• Nasya: Nasya is the administration of herbal medicine through nasal passage.
Home remedies and lifestyle changes to tackle Insomnia
• Herbs like Brahmi, Aswagandha, Jatamansi (Takaram in Malayalam) are considered as some of the best herbal cures for insomnia
• Include whole grains, cereals and pulses in your diet.
• Consuming Honey before bed will help you sleep better.
• Milk and Banana, both of which can increase serotonin in your body will help to tackle sleeplessness.
• Engage in mild exercises daily to let your body stretch and make it flexible, it boosts circulation and a proper functioning of the nervous system.
• Set a daily routine for everything, including your bed time rituals.
• Make meditation and yoga an unavoidable part of your routine
• Take a long and warm shower before sleep.
• Gently apply warm oil on your scalp and the soles if your feet before going to bed.