This is an interesting article from Dr Gowthaman (Medical Director, Dr Gowthaman’s Ayurveda Panchakarma Center, Chennai, India) for those interested in Ayurvedic treatment. Please remember that these supplements have not been approved by FDA. Always talk to your doctor before starting any supplements.
Sleep is a natural phenomenon of giving adequate rest to the body and mind. When this natural phenomenon is disturbed it leads to sleep disorders. Causes for insomnia are an irregular sleep-wake schedule, physical disorders, anxiety, and stress etc.
According to Ayurveda, sleep is one of the supporting pillars of life. Along with diet, sleep is important for good health and well-being. Ayurveda does not dictate eight hours of sleep for everyone, the amount of sleep you need depends on your mind-body constitution or Prakruti. People with Kapha constitution need the most sleep – about 8-9 hours in order to feel rested. Pittas are next, with a need of 7-8 hours. Vata can manage with 6-7 hours of sleep.
In Ayurveda, insomnia is known as Anidra. Aggravated vata, pitta dosa is the main cause for insomnia. The Ayurvedic treatment of insomnia focuses on balancing the aggravated Dosa through herbal medicines as well as customized diet, lifestyle treatment plans. Besides that, relaxation of mind is also important part of the treatment.
Types of Insomnia
-Difficulty falling asleep (sleep-onset insomnia): Commonly, people have difficulty falling asleep. In Ayurveda it’s called vathaja sleep disorder.
-Difficulty staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia): Older people are more likely to have difficulty staying asleep it’s a pitta type sleep disorder.
-Early morning drowsiness: you wake up feeling dull and lethargic; it’s a kapha type of insomnia.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Insomnia
– Jadamamsi is a natural sleep inducer; it can be taken 1tsp at bed time with milk.
– Vacha root is another effective drug; it can be taken along with Amla, Brahmi powder at bed time.
– Grind some fried cumin seed to a fine powder. Mix them with the pulp of a ripe banana. Eating this at night induces sleep.
– Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Thagaram,poppy seeds are some other Ayurvedic herbs for treating insomnia.
Ayurveda Therapies for Insomnia
Rvita approach for insomnia – For insomnia only sleeping pills does not give permanent relief, Ayurveda recommends a holistic approach which intend to solve the root cause for the insomnia. Doing holistic treatment with Pancha karma Treatment, yoga, meditation and life style recommendation.
– Sirodhara: It’s a very effective treatment for insomnia. Traditionally In this therapy medicated oil is poured on patient’s forehead from specific distance and for specific time frame, milk also used for this treatment. It brings relief to most of the associated factors of insomnia such as anxiety, stress and calms your mind.
– Abhyangam: This full body Ayurvedic massage with medicated oil relaxes the body and removes tensions, and induce sound sleep. Head massage with Brahmi oil is very effective for insomnia.
Pada Abhyangam or Foot Massage with Ksheerabala oil provides relaxation to the body and mind helps good sleep.
– Thalam: In thalam Herbal powder is mixed with medicated oil and is applied on the center part of the head.Thalam is the best treatment to cure variety of conditions like insomnia, stress, tension, and different mental conditions. For good sleep Ksheerabala oil mixed with Kachurathichoornamis used.
– Meditation and yoga: Mind is very significant in insomnia treatment. The mind and body are intimately connected, creating peaceful feelings in the mind is will help us to stay calm and away from anxiety and depression which are the major causes of insomnia. The meditation improves in sleep quality.
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