Sleep difficulties have become a common issue for many of us in today's hectic world. The quality, timing, and amount of sleep are all affected by sleep problems. These then cause hindrance in our tasks and ability to function during the daytime, and can contribute to many other diseases if not resolved. Some sleep problems are:
Obstructive sleep apnea
Restless leg syndrome
Of all sleep problems, insomnia is the most common one. The sleep issues are co-related to emotional and physical problems. Sleep problems can cause mental health issues, can worsen them, or can be a result of any other mental health issue.
Insomnia is the trouble in falling or staying asleep. Insomnia can be acute or chronic:
Acute lasts for a short time of about one day to some weeks
Chronic is long term insomnia that lasts for three months in which at least three nights a week are affected
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia is of two types:
1) Primary insomnia: Sleep problems that are not linked to any other disease
2) Secondary insomnia: Sleep problems that are linked to:
Health issues like Asthma, Depression, Arthritis, Cancer, and Heartburn
Alcohol and other substances
Symptoms of Insomnia
Sleepiness during daytime
Concentration and attention issues
Disturbance in a performance like frequent errors
Low motivation and energy
Hyperactivity, impulsiveness aggression and other behavioral problems
Difﬁculty in napping
Chronic pain issues
Besides the above symptoms, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are also linked to insomnia. Waking very early and difﬁculty sleeping again might be linked to depression. Anxiety may cause streams of worries and thoughts running in your head when you go to bed, due to which it is hard falling asleep. The inability to sleep then makes the anxiety worse, and this chain continues. The frontal lobe of the brain and serotonin levels are also affected by insomnia. Decision making, social interactions, and other executing functions are done by the front lobe. Impairment is so dangerous that it can even make the person unable to defeat their suicidal thoughts.
Ayurveda refers to insomnia as Anidra. Factors that cause insomnia are:
1) Tarpak Kapha: This sub Kapha dosha is responsible for the nourishment of brain cells and the facilitation of good sleep. Disruption leads to insomnia as brain cells are not nourished properly.
2) Sadhak pitta: This is Pitta's sub dosha, which is located in the heart. Some things that it controls are:
Disruption causes a person to become over-ambitious and workaholic, which leads to sleep issues.
3) Prana Vata: This is Vata's subdosha. An imbalance causes sensitivity of the nervous system, which can lead not only to insomnia but other problems like anxiety and depression etc as well.
The treatment mainly includes restoring the balance of the affected doshas and boosting the nervous system. Lifestyle management and exercise are also needed, along with the herbal treatments to treat the condition.
Herbs effective in treating insomnia
1. Brahmi: Helps and improves mental functioning. Besides being a brain tonic, it also acts as a tranquilizing herb.
2. Vacha (Acorus calamus): It can treat many conditions like epilepsy, insomnia, and headache, etc
3. Ashwagandha: Enhances sleep as it improves the coordination between the mind and senses. It is an essential herb that increases vitality and longevity.
4. Jatamansi: It increases serotonin and other neurotransmitters. It is effective for neurosis as it acts as a sedative, antidepressant, and anti-epileptic cardiotonic. It is used to calm down people suffering from stress and anxiety.
5. Valerian: Valerian which is also called tagar rejuvenates and removes toxins from:
Panchakarma techniques for insomnia
Several ayurvedic treatments are given to effectively treat insomnia patients by eradicating the dosha imbalance. Some of these are:
Shirodhara: Head massage with medicated oils that treat psychological and mental problems by reducing anxiety depression and other issues. Besides this, it also lessens the fatigue and helps in sleep problems.
Abhyanga: Body massage using medicated oil. It has a tranquilizing effect, and it helps in improving sleep.
Pada- abhyanga: This massage is done on foot which relaxes mind and body and promotes good sleep
Pichu: Mixture of herbal powder and medicines are applied at the center of the head. It is beneﬁcial for different conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia, and mental health issues.
Since drugs that cause sleep are all addictive and create dependence, they are not a solution for insomnia. Besides this, alcohol is not a proper solution either. Generally, to relieve symptoms of sleep issues, sleep medications are prescribed. Many ayurvedic herbs aid in falling asleep and in improving the quality of sleep. The medications should not be self-administered as they can have adverse effects on health immediately or later. Qualiﬁed physicians should perform all treatments and therapies.
For natural relief of insomnia and other sleep troubles, contact us at Vedic Health Ayurveda. We prescribe a diet suitable to your constitution/dosha type, natural herbal remedies, and lifestyle changes for permanent results. We also have an effective, medicinal Sleep Tea that can help with symptoms.