Traditional Ayurveda remedies for sleep contain wisdom for people who suffer from insomnia. These remedies include herbs, practices and meditations for increasing health and balancing the body humors, or Doshas. In Ayurvedic medicine, health is not seen as the absence of disease, but a state of well-being. This perspective has found support in the West, and is known as complementary and alternative medicine.
Ayurvedic herbs have been used for treating insomnia for centuries. In case you are suffering from sleep disorders, it is good to sip some tulsi and coriander tea, or some warm milk with cardamom. Herbs like bhringaraj, passion flower, skullcap, Guduchi and chamomile also helps one to sleep better.
For insomnia occurring in the middle of the night, or after 2:00pm, the issue may be due to an imbalance of the vata, the humor historically associated with the elements ether and air. In the Ayurvedic tradition, vata-based insomnia involves restless sleeping as well as nights disrupted by emotions like anxiety and fear. This can be solved by rubbing the head and feet with warm sesame oil before bed, or drawing a bath infused with fennel, orange, and tulsi oil.
Strategies for Good Sleep
Taking herbs can help insomnia, but there are other simple things one should do around the house to prepare for bed and a good night’s sleep. Turning off the computer and the TV in the evening is very important for a good sleep because these electronic devises disturb one’s sleep/wake cycle, or in the Ayurvedic tradition, the Doshas. Evening should be a time for relaxing and not for any heavy work. Also, all work-related material should be kept out of the bedroom so the room maintains its sanctuary function. Instead of watching television before bed, or even worse, in bed, it is good to read a good book.
In the Ayurvedic worldview, herbs and other tactics are worthless if a person is not completely engaged in healthful mental practices. By cultivating a healthy mind and nurturing a positive demeanor, health comes back into balance. A few minutes of meditation can help overcome sleeplessness of all types. For insomnia of the pitta type, yoga postures such as Sarvangasana is helpful. If restless insomnia in the middle of the night is the problem, yoga nidra practices may sooth anxiety and help induce calm. In fact, yoga nidra is used by some medical care teams in U.S. veteran hospitals to help overcome insomnia and other symptoms associated with trauma, depression and anxiety.