We have probably all experienced a situation similar to this: after a long day, you’re nodding off at dinner and you think you'll for sure have no issues going straight to sleep that night. You get into bed, and then… sleep doesn't come. Time passes, maybe even hours go by, and your mind is racing through all the things you wanted to do but weren't able to finish and all the things you did do but didn't do "good enough." You maybe fall asleep an hour or two just before the sun comes up, but the next morning you wake up tired... and the whole cycle starts all over again.
Vata In Excess
The cycle of insomnia can be a challenging one to escape. If experiencing sleeplessness, Vata Dosha almost always plays a prominent role in our inability to calm the mind long enough to fall asleep, and actually stay asleep for 6 to 8 hours. Vata is comprised of gunas (qualities) similar to those wakeful hours of the night: ungrounded, mobile and cold. If we physically, mentally or emotionally push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion during the day, or if Vata is prominent in our constitution, we are inevitably going to experience more of these qualities within our daily life. With the uprising in these gunas, sleep can be hard to come by. As both the body and mind get less and less sleep, Vata increases in the body - and so the cycle continues!
Deep Sleep Calls for New Lifestyle & Diet
Sleep is one of three essential pillars of health. Fresh food and healthy relationships make up the rest. Ayurveda recognized the importance of sleep, food and relationships thousands of years ago, so there are many and detailed practices and herbal remedies for finding balance in this part of your routine.
If you make all the changes to your diet and lifestyle that Ayurveda recommends and you’re still unable to enjoy deep, uninterrupted sleep, the Doshas may be in excess to the point that you need herbal remedies to effectively supplement your efforts. Sometimes diet and lifestyle changes are too little, too late. For when you need this extra support, we have compiled a list of classical Ayurveda medicines that can significantly alter your health for the better.
Herbs For Better Sleep
For internal support, Brahmi Capsules and Brahmi Ghritam are typically taken a 1/2 hour before bed. Ingesting it at least 30 minutes before bed gives your digestion a chance to start breaking down the tablet and circulate the herbs through the body. They also have powerful antidiabetic, antioxidant and antiaging properties.
Saraswata Ghritam is another powerful Ayurvedic remedy to aid in deep sleep. It is an herbal ghee infusion used to improve memory and the ability to concentrate as well. It is especially effective when used to support restful sleep in children if the little ones are suffering from insomnia or anxiety.
One of the most powerful and relaxing ways to relieve insomnia and sleep well is the practice of abhyanga. Abhyanga is self-massage with warmed herbal oil, and it's an ideal daily practice, especially during the colder winter months where Vata and Kapha can easily tip into excess. Abhyanga supports the elimination of toxins through the skin and is incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating, as anyone who has practiced it will tell you! It is deeply supporting for a good night's rest. It is grounding and encourages a peaceful state of mind, ideal for trying to sleep.
Try Prasarani Oil, Karpuradi Oil, Kadaliphaladi Oil and Pinda Oil when you start (or want to enhance) your abhyanga practice. These oils are made in the traditional way in the south of India with all of the legitimate herbs called for in the classical texts.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep or you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, consider the herbal support of the remedies we talked about above. Whether internally or externally, our classical products can be a great way to help you fall asleep and keep you there throughout the night. Please contact us to set up a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner if you want to find out what the best practices and remedies for your unique constitution.
The purpose of this article is to provide information about Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have serious acute or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional or physician. If you are seeking the health advice of a certified Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, please call us at (800) 215 – 9934 or email us. We will provide you with the contact information of our affiliated Ayurvedic professionals. Check with your physician before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.