TREATING INSOMNIA WITH AYURVEDA
Most of us can manage a day or two of poor or restless sleep, but when sleeplessness becomes chronic, it can have serious consequences not just on the body but also on the mind. Many factors can cause poor sleep, like constant travel, excessive caffeine and alcohol intake, irregular bedtimes, and workaholism. While we can bring all these under control, there are no easy ways to combat the most common sleep disruptor of all – stress. In Ayurveda, insomnia or Anidra is associated with Vata and Pitta doshas imbalance. A balanced state of mind is essential for good health and good sleep. Here are some of the Ayurvedic remedies for better sleep.
Bring back routine and rhythm into life
Disruption of a natural balance in the body triggers insomnia. So, try to bring back the rhythm by simulating the balance by going to bed and getting out of bed simultaneously, regardless of sleep. Read instead of reaching out for your phone or TV when sleepless. Also, avoid all kinds of energy-inducing foods and drinks after 7 pm and create a winding down ritual for yourself.
The magic root ashwagandha is known not just for its sleep-inducing potential but not just for its ability to combat stress and fatigue as well. The plant’s leaves contain triethylene glycol, which also have sedative-like properties. Brahmi sharpens the mind and improves cognitive function. Add a teaspoon of ashwagandha and Brahmi in a glass of water and take it before going to bed.
Triphala, considered the wonder drug in Ayurveda, can combat stress owing to its Vata-balancing properties. Take Triphala powder only as directed by an Ayurvedic physician, and do not go overboard. A teaspoon of churna would be enough for a day, which you can wash down with honey or milk if the taste is too bitter. Other Ayurvedic herbs with sleep-inducing properties are shatavari, sarpagandha, vacha, and shankupushpi.
Samvahana or body massage can relax the body and is also a form of self-care. Massage your body with warm sesame oil and take a long warm bath afterward with aromatic body cleansers whenever you feel overly stressed. While whole-body massages might not be practical every day, devote five minutes of the day to massaging your feet and the head with ayurvedic oils.
Various gentle yogasanas are believed to be specifically beneficial for good sleep. Some of them can be done in the bed itself, before going to sleep too. Child’s pose or shishuasana, halasana, viparita karani, and uttanasana are some of the restorative yoga poses. Finish off your day with a 15-20 minute meditation and breathing exercise routine. Pranayama has been proven to reduce the heart rate and relax the body and mind when practiced regularly.
At the same time, regular practice of yoga as a whole can also improve one’s mental and physical state, as the body and mind are slowly brought to balance.