Insomnia - An Ayurvedic Perspective

22/01/2024, Ananda In The Himalayas

We often find ourselves too fatigued to function effectively while simultaneously being unable to quiet our racing thoughts and drift off into slumber- wondering why can’t I sleep?

Considering this, it is worth exploring the potential benefits of Ayurveda for insomnia. Ayurveda offers holistic approaches to treating insomnia, providing a natural alternative to conventional methods. With its emphasis on balancing the mind, body, and spirit, there are various Ayurvedic remedies for insomnia.

Understanding Insomnia 

It is estimated that one in three adults worldwide suffers from one or more symptoms of Insomnia. Research has also shown that 75-90% of those suffering from insomnia are also at risk of developing various pain conditions, neuro-degenerative diseases, and gastric disorders.

Sleep disturbances associated with these chronic risk factors adversely affect an individual’s quality of life. Various studies prove the connect between sleep and endocrine functions. Proper sleep is necessary for our appetite and satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin) to function, Insulin and cortisol to regulate, and the pituitary control of thyroid hormones to ensue appropriately

Importance of sleep in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, sleep is recognised as one of the three pillars essential for maintaining a healthy and balanced life, alongside Aahara (diet) and Brahmacharya (restraint from excess). Dating back to the 2nd century AD, the ancient textbook of Ayurveda authored by Acharya Charaka explicitly emphasises the profound significance of sleep in various aspects of physical and mental well-being.

According to Acharya Charaka's teachings, sleep is considered indispensable for several vital health parameters:

  • Perception of Joy: Adequate sleep supports our ability to experience joy and happiness in life. It helps to uplift our mood and enhance overall well-being.
  • Proper Physical Growth & Tissue Nourishment: During sleep, the body undergoes crucial processes of growth, repair, and rejuvenation. It allows for the replenishment of vital tissues, fostering physical development and overall vitality.
  • Immunity: Sufficient sleep plays a pivotal role in bolstering the immune system. It aids in strengthening the body's defense mechanisms, promoting resilience against infections and diseases.
  • Fertility: Ayurveda on fertility recognises the vital connection between sleep and reproductive health. Restful sleep supports hormonal balance and reproductive functions, thereby contributing to fertility and the overall reproductive well-being.
  • Logical Thinking & Retention Of Acquired Knowledge: Quality sleep enhances cognitive function, including logical thinking, learning, and memory consolidation. It enables the mind to process information effectively, leading to improved retention and recall of acquired knowledge.
  • Lengthy & Good Quality Life: Ayurveda for sleep highlights that sound sleep is instrumental in promoting longevity and overall quality of life. A regular and restorative sleep routine contributes to enhanced vitality and vitality, enabling us to lead a fulfilling and extended life.

Insomnia treatment in Ayurveda incorporates personaliSed approaches, including Ayurvedic remedies for sleep. These may involve herbal preparations, lifestyle modifications, relaxation techniques, and the cultivation of sleep hygiene practices. By embracing these Ayurvedic principles, we can harness the power of restful sleep to optimise our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

It’s clearly understood in Ayurveda for insomnia that it is not just an illness, but it is a symptom of an underlying imbalance and sign of many other chronic physical, behavioural, cognitive and mental issues that may appear in future, if it is not addressed. The insomnia treatment in Ayurveda has two goals. One is to help with the quality and quantity of sleep and second is to address the underlying cause and prevent long term health impacts due to it.

Immediate Ayurvedic remedies for Insomnia

  • Calming Herbal Supplements & Teas: Licorice, chamomile, cardamom, and hibiscus-based teas are excellent calming agents helping to get into a healthy sleep routine. Supplements like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also prescribed as a grounding milk drink at bedtime to improve the quality of sleep.
  • Treatments For Calming The Nerves: There is a range of various Ayurveda treatment for insomnia, using oils and herbs that can help reduce stress, muscular tension and nervous pain. Shirodhara is an ideal treatment for this issue. It involves the rhythmic pouring of herbal medicated oil to the forehead of the person. It helps to control the hyperactivity of nerves, reduce stress, calms the mind, and stimulate the pituitary gland (master gland). It will also help the proper functioning of other endocrine glands and induce better sleep. Another treatment is thala-pothichil: covering of whole head with herbal paste like a head pack for a stipulated time frame.

Long term Ayurveda treatment for Insomnia

1. Sleep hygiene

It is best to avoid all stimulating drinks like coffee and black tea in the evening to help with sleep. Similarly, it is also necessary to avoid stimulating television programmes, and mobile usage, especially an hour before bedtime. Many people watch television and fall asleep in front of it, which is neither restful nor restorative. The time to go to bed should be also according to the circadian rhythm of our body.

Ayurveda for sleep considers the first 1/3rd of the night (8pm-11pm) as an ideal time to go to bed and the last 1/3rd (5am-8am) as the best time to wake up and feel refreshed. Sleeping too late and waking up later does not have the ideal resting effect on our body due to various hormonal functions that follow the sun’s rhythm.

2. The sleep ritual

The sleep ritual is a comprehensive practice that incorporates various activities, dietary considerations, and herbal remedies to promote a restful and rejuvenating night's sleep as part of Ayurvedic remedies for insomnia. By following these rituals correctly, one can achieve a state of balance within the body, leading to a productive day ahead.

  • Plan your dinner in advance, neither too light nor to heavy
  • Consume the majority of your daily hydration before 6 PM
  • Avoid strenuous activity after 6 PM, and replace with light yoga or stretches if required
  • Take a warm shower or bath once the meal is ready but before eating.
  • Apply coconut or sesame oil to the hands and soles of the feet after bath.
  • Eat in a tranquil and undistracted environment engage our attention in the act of consuming our food using all our senses.
  • Herbal teas with calming and digestive properties after dinner promote healthy digestion.
  • Engage in light solitary activities such as walking, stretching, or reading after dinner, observe your breathing and reflect on the events of the day.

By incorporating these tips on Ayurveda for insomnia into your sleep ritual, you can cultivate a harmonious balance within your body, leading to a deep and nourishing night's sleep, ultimately setting the stage for a productive day ahead.

3. Dosha-based diet and lifestyle for Insomnia 

Insomnia treatment in Ayurveda recognises the importance of addressing the underlying imbalances that contribute to insomnia. To achieve this, Ayurveda recommends adopting a diet and lifestyle that aligns with your specific body type, known as a dosha-based diet. This approach focuses on utilising locally sourced and organically cultivated seasonal produce, along with the incorporation of various spices, lentils, and pulses.

By tailoring your diet to your dosha as part of Ayurvedic remedies for insomnia, you can help restore balance and promote better sleep. Each dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) has specific dietary guidelines to follow, ensuring that you consume foods that support your individual constitution. This personalised approach helps address the root causes of insomnia and promotes overall well-being.

It is recommended to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional to determine your dosha and receive personalised guidance for your specific needs. To learn more about how dosha-based diet and lifestyle changes can help you sleep, read our healing story on sleep & insomnia.

4. Management of the root cause

If insomnia is identified as an outcome of an underlying health condition such as sleep apnea, hormonal imbalances, or chronic aches and pains, it is essential to incorporate methods that specifically target and address those conditions in order to achieve a long-term remedy for sleep issues.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

Need help to book? +-

Opening Hours (UK Time)
Monday to Friday: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 2:00pm
020 7843 3597

Email us an enquiry

Would you like us to call you?

call me back

« back

Leave your name and number and we'll call you back as soon as possible.

No Thanks