Sleep disorders according to Ayurveda

> Difficulty falling asleep –caused by Vata imbalance
> Intermittent awakening – caused by Pitta imbalances
> Sleeping long hours but wakening up unrefreshed – caused by Kapha imbalances

What happens when we miss out on sleep?

From an Ayurvedic perspective, when we are deprived of sleep we do not produce enough ojas (immunity), the finest product of digestion, that provides energy, enthusiasm, happiness, clarity of thinking, and better coordination between the heart and mind.

What can help?

From an Ayurvedic perspective, this again, is dependant on the particular “dosha” that is out of balance.

Vata insomnia – the problem is, sleeplessness itself increases Vata. This creates a vicious cycle in which Vata keeps you from sleeping, and not sleeping increases Vata.

Sticking to a regular daily schedule ie going to bed, waking up, and eating meals at the same time is imperative for balancing Vata. Foods should be predominately warm, well cooked and substantial. Meditation allows a restless mind to settle down, resulting in relaxation and mental peace. Massaging the feet and head with warm sesame oil will assist to overcome anxiety and stress.

Drinking warm milk with freshly grated nutmeg, or adding a tsp of poppy seeds will have a soothing and relaxing effect. Warmth is comforting to Vata so often a warm hot water bottle on the abdomen soothes and relaxes.

Pitta – often an overactive Pitta needs cooling, so make sure the bedroom is cool and not too hot. Use cotton bedding, keep the bedroom dark, and read inspirational literature a few minutes before sleep. Have a journal by the bed, to “download” some of your thoughts and concerns to still your often racing mind.

Kapha – often for Kapha the problem can be too much sleep. Some people want to sleep 9, 10, or more hours every night. In spite of this, they still feel heavy and sleepy when they get up in the morning and show all signs of lack of sleep such as: yawning all day, feeling like taking an afternoon nap, etc.

The solution to excess sleep is simply to follow a Kapha- pacifying diet and daily routine. Eat a light diet, cut down on sweets, dairy, pasta and other wheat products. Ginger tea throughout the day will help curb the appetite. Avoid napping during the day and get out of bed and exercise before sunrise.