Insomnia

Sleep is a natural phenomenon of giving adequate rest to the body and mind. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep at night for many hours or inability to have a sound sleep, which deprives one of natural rest and interferes with activities during the day.

Causes

An improper diet and lifestyle causes aggravation of Vata (Ayurvedic humor representing Air) that travels through the channels of the head causing sleeplessness. Vata is aggravated by increased intake of tea and coffee, especially, before going to bed; long gaps between meals; and intake of cold and dry food, cabbage, lettuce, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, rice, and smoked foods. Suppressed emotions, disturbed sleeping patterns, worries, anger, overwork, overexcitement, and ill health may be other responsible factors.

Symptoms

         Waking up during the night

         Waking up too early

         Day time irritability

         Day time fatigue and sleepiness

         Difficulty falling asleep at night.

Ayurvedic View

In Ayurveda, Insomnia is known as Anidra. According to the Ayurvedic perspective, the doshas (Ayurvedic humors) responsible for this disease are Tarpak Kapha, Sadhak Pitta or Prana Vata.

Tarpak Kapha is a sub-dosha of Kapha (Water). It nourishes the brain cells and facilitates a good night鈥檚 sleep. Imbalance of this dosha causes poor nourishment of brain cells, leading to Insomnia. Sadhak Pitta is a sub-dosha of Pitta (Fire) and 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 lack of sleep. Prana Vata is a sub-dosha of Vata (Air). It is linked to insomnia, worry, anxiety, and problems like depression. Prana Vata makes the nervous system sensitive; this sensitive nervous system coupled with an aggravated Prana Vata lead to insomnia.

In each patient, different combinations of doshas can lead to the disease. The Ayurvedic treatment of Insomnia focuses on balancing the aggravated body energies through herbal medicines as well as customized diet and lifestyle plans. Besides that, relaxation of mind is also important part of the treatment.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

         Have fresh fruits, avocado, pasta, rice, dairy products, and sweet foods.

         Include nuts like almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts in your daily diet.

         Have salads with a dressing of cream, yogurt, or vegetable oils.

         Use whole-wheat flour and brown rice instead of refined varieties.

         Increase use of butter or purified butter in foods.

         Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and aerated drinks after dusk.

         Avoid watching television or working on the computer late at night.

         Have a body massage with sesame oil, followed by a bath.

Home Remedies

         Have a glass of whole milk (without the cream removed) with green cardamom powder before going to bed.

         Have 1 teaspoon of licorice root powder with a glass of milk on an empty stomach in the morning.

         Boil 3 grams of fresh mint leaves or 1.5 grams of dried powder of mint leaves in 1 cup of water for 15-20 minutes. Take lukewarm with 1 teaspoon of honey at bedtime.

         Add 陆 tsp of cinnamon powder and 1 tsp of honey with 1 cup of warm milk. Drink before going to bed.

         Massage your feet with lukewarm mustard oil 2-3 times a day and before going to bed.

         Take 1 teaspoon each of brahmi and ashwagandha powder in 2 cups of water, boil and reduce it to one cup and drink it daily in the morning to reduce headache.

         Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cumin on a sliced banana. Eat at night regularly.