You cannot sleep when you are in love. Everybody says so.
But this is not love always which causes sleepless nights. More than the love there are many other causes for the sleepless, restless nights. Let’s know what Ayurveda talks about sleep and how can you avoid sleepless and restless nights.
Importance of Sleep
Sleep is an important part of your health. When you wish to stay healthy you need to plan your sleep properly. Because while sleeping, your body replenishes itself and recovers from the regular wear and tear that our body faces in the day hours. If one cannot sleep properly, it means that there will be extra damage in one’s body. And this damage will be progressive with the number of sleepless and restless nights.
As per modern-day sciences- every creature has a biological clock inbuilt. The biological clock is- circadian system. Perhaps you know that someone won the Nobel for the same concept two years back.
The clock decides the pace and activity of the body along with the time. This is the biological clock that decides the patterns of sleep and works in all creatures; plants are also not an exception to this.
Sleep According To Ayurveda
The same theory is postulated by Ayurveda, in advance form. The three Doshas behave and work according to the time of day. As day progresses, these Doshas behave accordingly. One Dosha will be activated twice a day and night. There will be cusps for these Doshas.
For sleep- Kapha is an important factor, one cannot sleep without proper involvement of the Kapha. Kapha is nourishing always. Kapha starts healing the damaged body, due to the exhausting processes of the daytime. The repair is not only concerned with the body but also the mind will be repaired because the mind also faces the same sort of wear and tear due to feelings and emotions- the mind comes across the daytime. This is the slow-down effect of the Kapha, which makes the body system sluggish and make it restore the energy for replenishment. This is something like “renovating” an office.
Why Does Sleep Disturb
If there will be involvement of the Vata and Pitta, together or individually, this will surely disturb the sleep. There are two conditions, when it comes to sleeplessness/Insomnia- Lack of Sleep and Loss of Sleep. This also causes the problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Ulcerative Colitis.
Lack of sleep is a condition where sleep will be very shallow and it will be disturbed due to the small noise or disturbance either or there will be too many dreams to give a feeling of sleep for the whole night. This is a condition, where the body is sleeping but not the mind. This condition is thought to be a part of the Vata Disturbances. Not very true, because in this condition body is sleeping not the brain and that brings the feeling of sleeplessness. This is true that all three Doshas will be involved in all conditions, whatever disease it may be Fibromyalgia or Cerebellar Atrophy. But primarily in this case of lack of sleep, this is the Pitta which evokes and awakens the subconscious part of the brain and never gives us a feeling of complete sleep, in any condition.
Managing Sleep in Right Way
Loss of sleep is a severe condition, where neither body nor does mind sleeps. This is a severe condition and it leads to severe damage to both body and mind because the recovery phase of body and mind is not present. Without recovery, you can imagine what is going to happen to the body.
If we look at the picture on a larger spectrum, there will be certain ill-effects of the improper/lack of sleep. These are as follows-
Sedative or anti-depressant pills are never a solution. Unconsciousness and sleep are two different things and there cannot be any comparison between these two. To know the ill effects and truth about the anti-depressant medicines read the article here.
If we look at the Ayurvedic perspective of sleeping well there are two things that are important to address-
- To manage Doshas in a system according to biological clock/circadian system.
- To manage the harmonized Kapha with Vata and Pitta
These two things are possible and both are complementary to each other. You once manage the Doshas in a proper mode and sleep well for few nights then your biological clock will be tuned properly with the time.
Ten Best Hacks for Better Sleep
What I have tried with my patients several times. I am sharing here. These hacks worked for many of my patients and hope these will be helpful to you too-
Sounds strange. But Yes. Exercise helps in inducing better sleep. Because exercise-
- Causes freshness in brain.
- Lowers anxiety
- Helps with better circulation of the blood and
- Overall tires you to sleep better.
Ayurveda: exercise helps in balancing all three doshas.
You might have heard that Ayurveda only recommends Cow milk. But it is not true for every condition. In case of problems with sleep, buffalo milk is advisable.
A glass of warm, sweetened buffalo milk always helps to induce quality sleep. It not only helps in inducing sleep but also helps in managing the quality of sleep too.
Generally, it is a misconception that taking heavy food in larger quantities will help a person to sleep better.
It is not true.
When you eat light. Your stomach feels normal. In that case, you sleep better. So for better sleep eat a light dinner in moderate quantity only. A small walk after dinner is advisable.
Early to Bed and Early to Rise
Waking up early will help you to sleep better. As discussed above, we need to manage your biological clock. This management cannot start from the end of the day alone. When you want to manage the biological clock. You need to start from the first hour of the day.
So when you plan to sleep properly, you need to wake up early.
Avoid Coffee in Evening Hours
Caffeine always disturbs sleep. Therefore you need to avoid coffee or any drinks containing caffeine after evening hours.
Many patients feel that once they will take coffee in the evening it will relax them. But things go in opposite directions.
So avoid coffee in the evening hours.
Gadgets are everywhere nowadays. These keep on distracting a person and occupy the brain. This distraction causes a delay in sleep and certainly disturbs sleep.
Mobiles are the worst and so is the social media in this category. You need to keep your mobile away from you to sleep better.
Wash your feet with warm water
Washing your feet with warm water and keeping your feet warm- works better than any sedative medicine.
This process is an integral part of the Ayurvedic Dinacharya and once you do it, it will certainly help you to sleep better. It doesn’t cost anything to do this.
Meditation helps everyone to sleep better.
For meditation, you don’t need to sit in some Asanas with closed eyes. Meditation is more like exploring yourself. You can even experience the benefits of meditation while reading your favorite book or while talking to yourself.
The main aim is to explore the space within you, for yourself.
Yoga: The Savasana
Yoga is a hotcake. Whatever health problem we talk about. Yoga can be the answer to that.
When it comes to difficulty in sleeping and its treatment. Savasana from the shelf of Yoga is the most wonderful tool to help you.
Train yourself under some experts and enjoy a night of better sleep.
A small step like a hot shower before going to bed can help you sleep deep.
The tenth one is advisable to the persons who exercise regularly.
In the above list, when you do most of these together. These things will help you. Obviously, if you want to try this one by one, these are not that helpful for anyone.
Ayurveda Treatment For Sleeping Disorders
This I kept out of the hacks. Because there is a wide gap between simple hacks and treatment.
Every treatment is based on cause and effect theory. Until unless one doesn’t know the cause behind the problem. Treatment cannot be planned. This is why we need to assess the patient first. Then the only comment can be made on treatment possibilities.
There are different tools that help in the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders.
The most famous is the Shirodhara. Famous yet not effective. The most famous way of treatment in case of the sleeping disorder treatment is- Nasya. The second position is with Shirodhara.
For the best solution, you should meet some good Vaidya near you. In Spite of taking some over-the-counter products of Ayurveda, the right treatment can help you better with bringing the quality sleep for you.