TREATING INSOMNIA WITH AYURVEDA
In today’s increasingly fast-paced world, one common problem which is affecting 30% of the population is insomnia. Insomnia refers to the inability of individuals to fall asleep or maintain sleep. This leads to sleepless nights of tossing and turning and over a period of time results in prolonged feelings of tiredness. Insomnia can disrupt sleeping patterns and can alter the sleep-wake cycle of the human body.
Insomnia and Depression
Depression is a leading cause of insomnia. The 21st century has the largest numbers of depression sufferers and among these, insomnia is a major threat. Insomnia also furthers the effects of depression in the long run, making it harder to treat. Lack of sleep can stimulate suicidal thoughts, self-depreciating thoughts and more, if left unchecked.
Insomnia and Stress
Stress is a major modern problem which almost every individual faces on an almost daily basis. Be it work, school or even family affairs, stress causes a major negative impact in day to day life. The pressure endured due to constant online presence, working late into the night, need to respond immediately, all increase stress while sudden events like deaths or unexpected loss of jobs can also lead to major stress which in turn causes insomnia. This type of insomnia caused by stress is usually characterized by extreme difficulty in falling asleep due to constant worrying thoughts.
Insomnia and Anxiety
Anxiety, or incessant worrying over issues can also lead to insomnia. Anxious persons typically seem high strung and unable to cope with social situations, major events or even basic responsibilities. Insomnia due to anxiety is very widespread and can worsen symptoms of anxiety as well.
Insomnia and Diet
Diet is a major factor for insomnia. Consuming caffeinated beverages and alcohol can all cause disruption in sleep. Nicotine must also be avoided to ensure good sleeping hours. Heavy meals just before bed can also lead to insomnia. However, intake of a healthier diet can immediately show a decrease in insomnia symptoms.
Insomnia and Lifestyle
Drastic changes in lifestyle, like a sudden stoppage of regular physical activity, can cause insomnia. Naps, however short, can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Spending long waking hours in front of a screen is a leading reason for the rise in insomnia in the current scenario.
SHIRODHARA FOR INSOMNIA
Shirodhara, comprising of two words, ‘shiro’ meaning head, ‘dhara’ meaning pouring in stream or sprinkling, is an ayurvedic treatment which involves a herbal oil being dripped over the forehead for an average duration of 60 minutes. Ayurveda considers insomnia to be an imbalance of the dosha in the body. During the Shirodhara treatment, the rhythmic pouring of streams of oil over the forehead, relaxes the individual and allows them to reach a state of ‘Turya’.
Turya is a state of peace and awareness which is almost meditative in nature. This causes immediate stress-relief and curtails all anxious thoughts and feelings, having an immediate effect of reducing insomnia. It also helps relax the hypothalamus, and normalizes hormonal function leading to a good, sound, undisturbed sleep. Shirodhara can be done at regular intervals, depending on the intensity of the insomnia. Regular ayurvedic therapy can relax the mind and improve quality of life considerably.
Other therapies usually prescribed for insomnia include Takradhara, Shirovasthi, Thalam, Thalapothichil, etc. depending on the condition of the sufferer, other interfering factors and health issues, etc.