Alternative and Integral Therapies
Ayurvedic Treatment of Insomnia
Other Ayurvedic Recommendations to Beat Insomnia
Most insomnia is caused by aggravated Vata. The problem is, sleeplessness itself increases Vata. This creates a vicious cycle in which Vata keeps you from sleeping, and not sleeping increases Vata.
Here are some recommendations you can use to break the cycle that feeds on the insomnia:
1. Stick to a regular daily schedule. Try to go to bed, wake up, and eat meals at usual regular times. Ayurveda calls this "dina karya" or daily routine. This is one of the most powerful ways to keep Vata in balance or restore it to balance.
2. Eat a Vata-pacifying diet. Most of your food should be warm, well-cooked, and substantial. Dairy, grains (especially wheat and rice), sweet fruits, and well-cooked vegetables are all good for balancing Vata. Avoid very light and cold foods, such as salads.
3. Meditate. Meditation allows the restless mind to settle down, producing relaxation and increased mental peace. By calming the mind, meditation resists insomnia.
4. Daily self-massage with warm oil. Warm oil massage is very soothing and will help you overcome anxiety and stress. For severe insomnia, do the massage at night before getting into bed.
5. Eat supper early and have a peaceful, relaxing evening.
6. Before getting into bed, massage your feet for a few minutes with sesame oil, ghee, or olive oil. If you have a Pitta constitution you can use coconut oil, which is cooling. This is an extremely effective way to settle the mind. Wiping the oil off with a cool cloth is said to have a calming effect on the sleep centers of the brain.
7. Drink a cup of warm milk before getting into bed. Adding a pinch of cardamom and/or nutmeg makes it more effective for inducing sleep. Adding a teaspoon of poppy seeds may also have a relaxing effect.
8. Avoid violent or high-action television, movies, or video games, especially at night. Avoid loud or jarring music. Listen to soothing music.
9. Eat lightly at night. Have your heaviest meal at noon. Instead of steak or pepperoni pizza at night, try some hot cereal or warm milk with toast, or rice with well-cooked vegetables. It's hard to fall asleep with a stomach full of hard-to-digest food.
10. Get to bed by 10 o'clock. This will help you get into alignment with nature's rhythms.
See Also: Common Sense Recommendations for Combating Insomnia
Next Topic: Ayurvedic Remedies for Excessive Sleep
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