Insomnia is a medical condition that is mainly caused because of the inability of a person to sleep.
The brain refuses to shut down and the person struggles to fall asleep.
There can be a lot of reasons for the same and sometimes, being awake can lead to several secondary problems as well.
There can be a lot of different causes of insomnia and some of the key ones among them are as follows.
Sometimes, the medicines that you take for the sake of treating the medical problems can lead to insomnia as well. There are various medicinal drugs that have insomnia as a major side effect.
Apart from these medical conditions, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, panic attacks are some other reasons that can lead to insomnia. It is one such disorder that can have varying cases and it differs from person to person.
Sometimes the lifestyle you live along with the food you eat and your overall behaviour can also lead to insomnia. It is also a habit forming style and if not taken care of, insomnia can become habit forming as well.
Symptoms of Insomnia
While the primary symptom of insomnia is your inability to sleep peacefully and being restless, there are other symptoms that you can keep an eye on as well.
All of these are common symptoms shown by those who are suffering from insomnia. While none of these infer conclusive evidence that the patient may be suffering from insomnia, yet it hints at the possibility.
How Can Poor Sleep Affect Our Physical And Mental Health?
Inadequate sleep is very common in Australia, with a recent report by Deloitte Access Economics finding that around four in 10 adults suffer from its effects. Sleep deprivation isn’t simply a matter of feeling tired, cranky, or foggy-brained; it is linked to thousands of death and industrial accidents every year.
It also causes diminished work and school performance and has serious consequences for our long-term health. In this post we discuss the physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation, suggesting how Ayurveda and other natural treatment methods can help people enjoy a refreshing sleep every night.
Poor Sleep and Mental Health
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry concluded that poor sleep is linked to the kind of intrusive, repetitive thoughts that are common in anxiety and depression. Another study found that a lack of sleep makes it harder to deal with stress because it affects the region of the brain that regulated negative emotional responses. Yet other studies have found that it increases symptoms of anxiety, negatively affects working memory, impairs cognitive ability.
Long-term Physical Problems Caused by Poor Sleep
A vast body of research shows that sleeping less than seven hours a night or sleeping poorly long-term, increases one’s risks of a variety of ailments. These include cardiovascular disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Good sleep involves both the right quantity and quality.
That is, if you sleep the required number of hours but you get up frequently, spend less than 85% of your time sleeping in bed, or take over half an hour to fall asleep, chances are, you aren’t enjoying enough ‘delta sleep’ – the restorative stage of sleep during which we produce a hormone that is vital for our health: Human Growth Hormone HGH).
Natural sleep remedies depends upon the reasons behind insomnia and is treated accordingly. As per ayurvedic texts, people who live an unhealthy lifestyle and have an improper diet may often experience an aggravation of vata dosha.
As the balance is disturbed and there is an excess of vata, it can travel through the different channels in the head and this in turn can cause sleeplessness. Imbalance of kapha leads to malnourishment of brain cells and this may be another cause for insomnia.
Ayurveda believes in the fact that different people can have varying reasons for having insomnia and thus the methods of treatment will also vary depending upon the cause.
Following herbs are known as natural sleep aids in Ayurvedic texts. These herbs have been used traditionally:
Tagara (Valeriana officinalis)
It works as a tonic for the nervous systems and helps in bringing a feeling of calmness and relaxation.
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Brahmi considered to ease nervousness and even anxiety and therefore helps people in falling asleep easily. It is considered to be good for use in those cases where tension and nervousness are primary causes of insomnia.
Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)
Shankhpushpi is manly a nerve tonic that is primarily used for mental development of a person. It also helps in improving the memory capacity and can bring about calmness as well.
Following are the ayurvedic therapies that may be used alone or with herbal products for those who are suffering from insomnia from long time.
Shirodhara is an ancient form of ayurvedic therapy that has been used since a lot of generations. The word essentially means head and flow and thus in this form of therapy, different types of oils are poured over the head to bring about relaxation of mind. The therapy helps in calming the mind as it pacifies the vata and releases all the stored thoughts and emotions as well. It has been seen that practising this form of therapy may be beneficial for managing conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia and other mood related disorders as well.
When it comes to Ayurvedic massage, one will find that there are a lot of different ways by which it can be carried out. Ayurveda emphasizes immensely on massages because when a massage is done in an apt manner, it helps to release all the unwanted toxins from the body and helps to bring about a relaxed state of mind. In order to sleep peacefully, one should not be stressed or anxious and this is why massaging can be of help.
1. Chandanadi Thailam- Herbal Oil
2. Aswagandharishtam- Herbal Tonic
3. Balarishtam- Herbal Tonic
4. Dashmoolarishtam- Herbal Tonic
5. Saraswatharishtam- Herbal Tonic
6. Anu Thailam- Herbal Nasal Drop
7. Brahmi Thailam- Herbal Oil
8. Hinguvachadi Choornam Tab- Herbal Tablet
9. Aswagandhadi Lehyam- Herbal Paste
10. Brahma Rasayanam- Herbal Paste
11. Saraswatha Gritham- Herbal Ghee
12. Brahmi Gritham- Herbal Ghee
13. Sarpagandha Gulika – Herbal Tablet
One of the most effective natural sleep aids could be change in the lifestyle. Even when it comes to lifestyle changes, there are various changes that you may incorporate. You may try and opt for yoga and meditation as it can help in relieving you from unwanted stress and anxiety. With the lifestyle changes, you should be able to get rid of toxins and stress points from your body and this can help bring about the much needed improvements in your life.
In order to enhance sleep quality, it is important to tackle stress and anxiety proactively throughout the day. Natural stress management strategies include meditation, which can be pursued within yoga, Tai Chi and exercise. The key to battling stress lies in acknowledging (rather than repressing) negative emotions, while being fully aware of their impermanence.
The Ayurvedic approach to a better night’s sleep may involve the avoidance of stimulation (and stimulating foods and beverages, including coffee) in the evening, the use of healing oils or supplements to combat stress, and Ayurvedic massage, which produces a sense of calm. In order to balance vata (which governs all movement in the body and mind) it is important to consume a vata-pacifying diet (which should include fruits and vegetables, nuts, healthy oils, grains, and dairy) and to have three solid meals a day.
The last meal should be consumed before 7pm so you don’t have trouble digesting food. If you feel sleepy at night, a glass of warm milk will help balance your pitta. To balance kapha, ensure you get enough exercise during the day and practice breathing exercises to bring stress levels down.
Article has mentioned just a few ways in which poor sleep can hamper one’s physical and mental health. Exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet can help keep one in good shape. Ayurvedic approaches, which include balancing vata, pitta, and kapha through massage, supplements and good sleep hygiene may also be of help to those who find sleep a challenging pursuit.
If you wish to enquire more information on Insomnia or Sleeplessness Ayurvedic Natural Treatment in Melbourne, you may contact us at Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic.
Dr Gurnam Saini (Ayurvedic Doctor)
Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine from India
MD in Alternative Medicine from India
Certificate in Ayurveda Panchkarma Detox from India
Certificate in Ayurveda Pulse & Tongue diagnosis from India
Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing from Melbourne
Member of AAA (Australasian Association of Ayurveda)
Organising Secretary of AYUSH MELBOURNE CONFERENCE, 2018
PH- 0061 430 799 515
Disclaimer: The information on ayurvedic products and medicines on our website is for educational purposes only. One should not buy these products over the counter. These should only be taken after ayurvedic consultation with an ayurvedic practitioner. The uses and indications of these herbal products are based on Traditional Ayurvedic text books. These herbs should be supplemented with appropriate diet and lifestyle to get beneficial effects. Although there is a lot of research done on Ayurveda these days, yet these herbal products might not hold enough current research based evidence.
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Ayurveda stads for extensive and elaborate clinical examination to understand thenature of the disease