Perhaps you’ve been too stressed of late, your life may have undergone some major changes or you’re burdened by excessive work. The use of technology devices before bed can stimulate our brain and make it difficult for us to tune out. This results in you staying up nights, trying to count sheep (and other farm animals) and not getting any shuteye. Unfortunately, the outcome of our ever-rushing, stressed out society has caused sleep, a basic physiological function, into a luxury.
Ayurvedic Causes for Sleeplessness
Among the bio-humors, increased Vata and reduced Kapha are the primary causes of sleeplessness according to Ayurveda. For example, Vata is aggravated in patients who suffer from hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, restless leg syndrome (RLS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause. These disorders almost always lead to insomnia or sleep disorders. Reduced Kapha is caused due to malnutrition, anemia and degenerative diseases.
The subtle states of mind, Raja and Tama are also related to your sleep cycle. When you sleep well, Tama is heightened. Raja is what causes sleep disturbances and early waking. One of the leading causes of insomnia is psychological problems due to which Raja is increased in the mind. This, in turn, causes anxiety, rage, envy and stress, which amplify the Raja quality of our psyche leading to poor sleep patterns.
Natural Sleep Inducing Tips
1. Eat for Vata
Vata dosha is wind, movement, change, instability, cold, dry and light. If you wish to reverse the insomnia, eat Vata-pacifying foods that are warm, moist and stabilizing. Cures for insomnia also include avoiding dry, frozen or raw foods, and drinking chilled beverages.
2. Drink a tall glass of milk
This Grandma-prescribed remedy is filled with wisdom and has worked as a natural sleep aid for centuries. Buffalo milk boosts both the Ayurvedic sleep factors – Kapha and Tama. At bedtime, drink a cup of warm milk (substitute with almond if you are lactose-intolerant) in which you have added one teaspoon of honey and 10 strands of saffron. This works as a nerve tonic and tranquilizer.
3. Get a rubdown
One of the most effective natural sleep remedies is to do a massage with some warm oil to relax yourself. Rub some oil onto your scalp, temples and the soles of your feet just as you get ready to tuck yourself in. Use sesame oil, castor oil, brahmi oil, jasmine oil or coconut oil and massage gently for a few minutes. Gently heat the oil for a calming effect.
4. Soak in soothing suds
Draw a hot bath with a few drops of lavender oil or take a shower with a loofah to unwind after a stressful day. The deep muscle relaxation offered by a good hot bath can help reduce cramps, tension headaches and improve muscle elasticity.
5. Relax and let go
Start to wind down at least an hour before bedtime. Turn off the TV, switch off your computer and dim all bright lights. This will stimulate your nervous system and give it a signal that it’s time for bed. Light a few aromatic candles and just let go of the day’s bustle.
6. Meditate, affirm, recline
You expected this one, didn’t you? Meditation is one of the top holistic sleep remedies that works by quieting the mind. Another practice with deep relaxation powers is the positive affirmation. Lie down and give yourself positive feedback like: _ÑÉI am going to enjoy a restful night’s sleep tonight. I am in a deep state of relaxation and soon going to fall into blissful slumber’.
7. Brew a pot of tea
If you are a caffeine fiend, make sure you take your last cuppa five hours before bedtime. While caffeine is a definite no-no, there are plenty of “Sleepy Time” teas that work as natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety. Indian valerian and ashwagandha are some of the prime ingredients in these teas for a warming sip before bed.
8. Keep cool
Studies show that sleeping in a cooler environment as opposed to a hot and stuffy one can increase chances of deep sleep. Keep your bedroom cool by cracking open a window or turning the temperature down a notch or two.