Sleep is an important component of the body’s vital activity. It’s food for the body and a mind tonic. Sleep helps the growth of new cells and heals various physical ailments. One of the causes of different illness is not maintaining the body in the proper mode. Lack of sleep tires the organism. Irritability and stress appear. Insomnia is a serious problem, especially if it takes on chronic forms.
Modern medicine has various methods and means to treat this ailment. However, they don’t always bring the desired result. In addition, many drugs have a large number of side effects that adversely affect the health of the body.
Doctors are increasingly resorting to alternative medicine. In such cases, Ayurveda perfectly helps in the treatment of insomnia. Let’s consider the methods and herbal remedies of this ancient medicine, which have shown themselves well for many centuries.
Table of contents:
- Why can’t a person fall asleep?
- Ayurvedic principles of insomnia treatment.
- Pitta type insomnia.
- Kapha type insomnia.
- Herbal remedies for treatment.
Endless thoughts, the search for a comfortable posture in bed, irritation – all these are signs of sleep disturbance. Insomnia occurs due to nervous overstrain and various adverse environmental factors. If the disorder becomes systematic for a person, it can lead to various diseases and problems of the nervous system. Insomnia is a difficulty in sleeping due to a disruption in the functioning of the nervous system. The main signs of the disorder:
- a person is difficult to sleep;
- sleep is intermittent, with constant awakenings;
- difficulty falling asleep after nightly awakenings;
- the constant presence of fear and anxiety.
Insomnia can be caused by stress, anxiety, long thoughts. In addition, problems with sleep may be associated with taking drugs or stimulants, with long trips, overwork at work and other reasons.
Ayurveda claims that insomnia and restless sleep are signs of an imbalance of Vata dosha, which is responsible for movement, activity and thought process. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are energy complexes that regulate all the physical functions of the body. They are in balance in case of perfect health. Pitta prevents the organism from falling asleep, while Vata tends to interrupt sleep, not allowing the person to fall asleep again. Vata dosha, by nature, is light, fast and agile. When Vata dosha is balanced, then a person feels a surge of creative inspiration, lightness in mind and body, and is full of energy.
When Vata dosha is elevated (it’s out of balance), we feel exhausted, tired, anxious. There is a chaotic stream of thoughts in the head, due to which the mind becomes too active. Therefore, this affects the quality of our sleep. In other words, excessive stimulation of the nervous system occurs, so we can’t fall asleep.
Experts consider the most effective way to treat sleep problems is a head and foot massage with oils. Suitable sesame oil or Brahmi oil, as well as jasmine or coconut. Prepare warm oil and massage for several minutes with simple movements.
A special diet is aimed at reducing Vata with the use of heavy food: dairy products, whole grains, and root crops. Coffee, tea and other stimulating substances should be excluded from the diet, including such herbs as Ma Huang and Ginseng. It’s helpful to drink warm milk with the addition of nutmeg an hour before bedtime. In the evening you should avoid any form of activity, including reading, listening to loud music, watching action films. There should be a clear sleep schedule with going to bed at about 23 o’clock and awakening at about 6 o’clock in the morning. You can rub your feet, top of the head or forehead with warm sesame oil and take a warm shower.
Experts recommend performing yoga asanas. Aerobic exercise is undesirable. Bedtime meditation, which bestows tranquility, relieves from the agitations and tensions of the day, perfectly helps to cope with insomnia. Bedroom and bed should be comfortable. You must keep clean and tidy. Nothing here should disturb the peace. Repeat the peace-giving mantras of Ram or Sham. Attention should be concentrated on breathing or on the area of the heart.
It’s impossible to imagine health without adequate and regular exercise, which plays an important role in the topic of sleep. Fitness and sports activities stimulate agni, improve digestion, strengthen the mechanisms of detoxification, promote regularity of the bowels, and relax the body. However, exercise before bed can stimulate the nervous system too much. Therefore, according to Ayurveda, the best time for exercise is from 6 to 10 in the morning. In the case of insomnia, evening exercise should be completed 2-3 hours before sleep.
Insomnia of this type is accompanied by violent emotions, irritability, outbursts of anger, jealousy, resentment, and hatred. It can cause a quarrel or stress. Sometimes febrile and infectious diseases accompany it. Dreams can be dramatic, with scenes of violence or violent disputes, which makes sleep restless and intermittent. However, the person easily falls asleep again after awakening.
Among the causes of insomnia of this type are emotions that have not found a way out, stubbornness, the abuse of hot or exciting food, exposure to the sun or the heat, etc. An increase in body temperature can provoke or aggravate such insomnia. Experts prescribe a Pitta-reducing diet with limited use of spices, stimulants, sour-flavored foods and salt.
Representatives of Kapha dosha tend to sleep too much and, if the balance of other doshas is not upset, they usually don’t suffer from sleep disorders. The problem with sleep they may be due to stagnation in the body. In such cases, calamus, nutmeg, valerian or simply hot spices, such as ginger or Trikatu composition, are quite effective.
In addition to the above methods of dealing with insomnia, Ayurveda advises aromatherapy for good sleep. Apply a few drops of your favorite essential oils to pillow or wrist. These aromas will help to relax the body and mind. If you don’t have your favorite soothing aromas, try combining orange, cardamom, jasmine, basil, and vanilla. You can try the oil of Brahmi to calm nerves.
It’s worth noting that the purpose of all evening rituals is to prepare our mind for a transition to another state, for complete relaxation. As soon as the mind is cleared of unnecessary thoughts and information, quiet, prolonged sleep will no longer be a problem.
Healing herbs and plants can help cope with sleep problems. However, just like with medicines, they should be used after consulting a doctor. Let’s consider the most popular remedies in Ayurveda that effectively normalize sleep.
It’s the primary remedy to stimulate and strengthen nerve and brain cells. The plant increases intelligence, improves memory, increases longevity, slows down aging and gives strength in old age. Brahmi extract has a positive effect on insomnia and other sleep problems. This is the best supplement in this situation. In addition, Brahmi perfectly removes many types of headaches, normalizes cerebral circulation and helps a lot with mental anxiety. Herbalists recommend applying plant extract with Guy oil.
Ashwagandha is Indian ginseng. Herbalists use it in Ayurveda as an adaptogen. The plant helps to deal with stress and the health problems that it causes. The plant itself is from India, where it grows in dry regions. Specialists use all parts of the plant to make herbal remedies. Ashwagandha reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and the nervous system. It improves the mental state of a person. Therefore, this natural supplement is effective in treating sleep disorders.
Jatamansi has a pacifying and strengthening effect on the brain and nerve tissues of the whole organism. It has an antiarrhythmic effect, lowers blood pressure, and calms. Although Jatamansi is a relative of Valerian root, it’s a much more balanced plant. Jatamansi – gentle aromatic plant with an extensive root system, whose birthplace – the Himalayas. Herbalists use the plant root to treat various psychological disorders, including insomnia.
Valerian is the most well-known, affordable and quite effective hypnotic drug. Numerous studies have shown that it improves the speed of fall asleep, the depth, and quality of sleep. The plant extract restores the nervous system and facilitates the onset of sleep. Experts found about a hundred substances in the roots of the plant that have a multifaceted effect on the organism. They don’t cause physical and psychological medication dependence. However, it’s necessary to take this tool for a long time to achieve a positive result. This is due to the fact, that useful nutrients in the body accumulate gradually.
Another well-known natural remedy, which reduces stress and promotes deep sleep, is Lavender. The essential oil of this delicate flower has antidepressant, soothing and sedative properties. People used this remedy for therapeutic purposes for centuries. There are many ways to use Lavender. Bath procedures will help you to relax. The essential oil can be added to a fragrant lamp or dripped a few drops on the edges of the pillow. A cotton or linen bag with dried flowers can be put in a closet with bed linen or under a pillow.
People know about the healing properties of plants in ancient times. The composition of Сelery includes many nutrients – vitamins, amino acids, trace elements, fiber, and essential oils. It helps reduce the level of stress hormones in human blood. The use of Celery root improves health, relieves nervous over-stimulation and promotes muscle relaxation, which makes it easy to sleep.
Even our distant ancestors used Thyme for insomnia. They added a plant to different dishes and brewed tea from aromatic twigs. The plant has many beneficial properties. It helps with bronchitis, has anti-inflammatory and astringent effects. Thyme should be steamed in porcelain for insomnia. It doesn’t like metal. A small bunch of Thyme should be filled with 2-3 glasses of boiling water, cover the dishes with a lid and leave for 20 minutes. Drink a glass before bedtime.
Along with herbs, the most seemingly simple and obvious actions can help in the fight against insomnia. Walk more on the outdoors. You can do yoga. Use the soothing power of essential oils before bedtime. Lie down at one time. Include in the diet foods rich in vitamins of group B. In any case, remember that insomnia can be defeated simply and without damage to your health!