Insomnia is a common sleep disorder which is basically facing difficulty falling asleep or having trouble staying asleep. Common symptoms associated with it include having trouble going to sleep, waking up frequently in the middle of the night, waking up earlier than usual and feeling exhausted in the morning.
Our fast-paced lifestyle, high levels of stress related to work, emotional disturbances, unhealthy diet and fitness regime, certain medical conditions and substance abuse are the usual culprits causing insomnia.
In Ayurvedic terms, insomnia is known as 'anidra' and is believed to be caused because of the imbalance of the Tarpak Kapha, Sadhak Pitta or Prana Vata.
The good news is that insomnia can be largely overcome by certain precautions and lifestyle changes. Here are a few recommendations to help you deal with it:
- Practice mindfulness daily, even is for only a few minutes. If you find it difficult to meditate for more than a minute or so, do three to four such sessions in a day.
- Incorporate a healthy fitness regime into your daily life. Try and workout at least four to five times a week and it can be anything that you are comfortable with - gym, yoga, group workouts, jogging. The important thing is to tire yourself out in a healthy way. But remember, don't opt for a very strenuous workout late in the evening since you won't be able to sleep if you are too exhausted.
- Gently massage your feet with warm extra virgin coconut oil just before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine - tea, coffee, green tea, energy drinks, colas and other aerated beverages. If it is very difficult to do so, at least try and avoid them after sunset.
- Add a few drops of aromatherapy oil like lavender or sandalwood to extra virgin coconut oil and massage it in to the forehead and head.
A lot of people also have trouble sleeping if they don't have an alcoholic beverage before bedtime. Nothing can be more dangerous, and this could even be considered borderline substance abuse. Get professional help if you too are one of these people.
At Naad, some of the therapies we administer to overcome insomnia include Shirodhara, Shiroabhyanga, Padabhyanga, Reflexology, Acupuncture and Acupressure to name a few. Yoga Nidra, asanas like Shashankasana (rabbit pose) and Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) Pranayama are also part of the fitness regime here, which help induce restful sleep.
If you or any one in your family are suffering from insomnia and have any questions on how to get over it, please feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author: Dr. Hrishikesh is an MS in ShalyaTantra (Ayurvedic Surgery) from S SR Ayurveda Medical College & Hospital and is a graduate of JSS Ayurveda Medical College & Hospital. He also holds a post graduate diploma in Yoga from Annamalai University. A fifth generation Ayurvedic doctor, his family owns and runs an Ayurvedic Hospital in Kerala which specialises in creating their own in-house medicines. Dr. Hrishikesh brings with him a clinical experience of nearly ten years and specialises in Panchakarma and sports rehabilitation.