Dependent on sleep are happiness and misery, corpulence and leanness, strength and weakness, potency and impotency, intellect and non-intellect, life and death. Sleep undertaken untimely, excessively and negatively takes away happiness and life like the other death-night. Sleep, if undertaken properly, provides happiness and life like the flashed true knowledge provided to a yogi. – Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana 21:36-38
Ayurveda evaluation determines the imbalances in the functioning modes of the body and then prescribes treatment to restore balance. These underlying imbalances are the root causes of a condition and must be removed if real healing is to occur. By determining the causal imbalances at the basis of a disorder, an Ayurveda evaluation helps address the fundamental source of ill health in the individual.
According to the Ayurvedic perspective, Insomina is basically a Vata Disorder. But in roots, the sub doshas responsible for insomnia are Tarpak Kapha, Sadhak PItta and Prana Vata.
Tarpak Kapha is a sub-dosha of Kapha . It nourishes the brain cells and facilitates a good night’s sleep. Imbalance of this dosha causes poor nourishment of brain cells, leading to insomnia.
Sadhak Pitta is a sub-dosha of Pitta 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. 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 leads 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.
Ayurveda evaluation determines the imbalances in the functioning modes of the body and then prescribes treatment to restore balance. These underlying imbalances are the root causes of a condition and must be removed if real healing is to occur
According to Ayurveda, the factors responsible for insomnia , which is term imbalance the above three factors ie. Tarpan Kapha, Sadhak Pitta and Prana Vata are following in general :
- Toxins accumulating in tissues and blocking circulation.
- Poor nutrition or improper food combinations(viruddh ahar)
- Poor digestion.
- Imbalance of the nervous system.
- Accumulation of physical and mental stress.
- Lowering of natural resistance and immunity.
- Disruption of natural biological rhythms.
Insomnia may in addition to the foregoing be caused by one or more of the following factors:
Chronic medical illnesses – Certain medical illness can interfere with sleep, especially disorders of the heart (congestive heart failure) and lungs (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heartburn, prostatic disorders evinced by polyuria, menopause, diabetes, arthritis, hyperthyroidism and hypoglycemia.
Sleep disordered breathing – Disorders of sleep that cause one to stop breathing while asleep may fragment sleep and cause frequent awakenings, as is the case with sleep apnea.
Psychophysiologic (“learned”) insomnia – Many people go to bed worrying about insomnia because of previous episodes. This creates an anxiety about going to sleep, which usually leads to greater difficulty sleeping.
Biological factors – with increasing age (and the attendant onset of vata-predominance after menopause/andropause), sleep becomes lighter and more fragmented.
Lifestyle factors – Excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, over-work or over-exercise and poor sleeping habits as well as the presence of other identifiable vata-related disorders (Charaka, Sutrasthana 21:55-57).
Treatment : – Most important is to review own lifestyle and try to make essential needed changes in daily routine. You may take help of your doctor for the needed corrections. Some common tips are
Some extra physical activity ie. Some exercise everday but never in the evening
Avoid any short of stimulants, for eg. Caffeine especially after lunch till end of the day.
Shorten your naps during day time if they exist
Take a nice bath before going to sleep
If you donot feel sleep indulge yourself in any activity instead of lying in bed and forcibly trying to force yourself to go to sleep. You can read book or do some repetitive calm activity such as chanting mantra japa, favourite music etc. Avoid watching TV late night as an option when you are not sleepy.
Useful Herbs for the treatment of Insomina are :
Panchkarma procedures like Shirobast, Shirodhara, Nasya, Abhyang, Pada Abhayang et. are also helpful.
Yoga and Breath Therapy are also very much helpful in balancing the doshas of the body and therefore helping positively to treat Insomnia. They should be practiced in guidance and supervision of concerned professional.