Ayurveda And Insomnia: Curing An Imbalance With An Ancient Practice
Ayurveda and Insomnia
Ayurveda views insomnia as an indication of nervous system distress and an imbalance of the Vata dosha.
Vata emotions include anxiety, nervousness, hypersensitivity, and worry.
But exactly how insomnia manifests in a person will depend on their individual constitution.
There are two types of insomnia generally recognized by Ayurveda.
Difficulty staying asleep or waking up after 2am and being unable to fall back to sleep is characterized by an overall Vata imbalance, and is most likely to happen to Vata types.
The other type of insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep and is regarded as a Pitta imbalance.
Pitta insomnia typically occurs as response to Vata nervous system imbalance in people with a predominantly Pitta-type constitution.
Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (at least three nights a week for a month or more).
Sleeplessness compromises your energy, mood, and brain function.
It also weakens the immune system and accelerates the aging process.
Ayurveda traditionally uses herbs such as Ashwagandha or Bacopa (Brahmi) to treat insomnia.
The use of herbal protocols should only be done under the care of a trained Ayurveda practitioner.
There are, however, 3 things you can do tonight to optimize your chances for sound sleep.
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Get to bed early, preferably before 10pm
You can’t control when you fall asleep, but you can control when you go to bed.
During the hours of 10pm and 2am, our internal energy accelerates for organ cleansing and bodily repair.
If we are awake during this time, our brains use the energy that would otherwise go to nightly organ rejuvenation.
By retiring earlier than 10pm, we can take advantage of the Kapha time of day and its grounded energy that’s conducive to falling asleep.
Waking up before sunrise will not only maintain synchronicity with nature’s clock, but will also make it easier to get to bed earlier and facilitate sound sleep
Eat an early supper
Supper means the last meal of the day and lighter than dinner.
Eating your last meal no later than 6pm ensures that your stomach won’t be full when you’re ready to retire for the night, so your energy will be put towards bodily repairs and maintenance instead of being used for digestion.
Keeping supper light (ie soup or salad, or a small entrée) will help to ensure that your energy for the night goes where it’s supposed to.
Turn off technology at least an hour before bed.
That means no phones, television, or computers.
Technology is very stimulating to the Vata dosha, and you want to soothe your nervous system during the time before bed.
Taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, or reading (nothing too complicated, and not on a screen) are good activities to help ready your nervous system for sleep.
Self-massage with oil (abhyanga) is also very pacifying for Vata dosha.
What to do if you’ve had a sleepless night?
Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, is a great practice to help you recover.
According to Jennifer Reis, creator of Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, 20 minutes of yoga idra is equated to 3 hours of sleep!
For more information about yoga nidra and an 18-minute Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra practice with Jennifer Reis checkout the video below:
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