Ayurvedic Treatment for Insomnia
Sleep is the best way to provide rest to our body and mind and is a natural way to restore both body and mind. Many people face a lot of difficulties in sleeping whenever they go to bed. some find it hard to fall asleep while some unwantedly wake up at night and didn’t resume to sleep.
Insomnia may be defined as a sleep disorder when you are unable to fall asleep at night for several hours or when you are unable to have a sound sleep. Insomnia steals your natural rest and affects your activities during the day. It is also known as the condition of sleeplessness and when it continues for a longer period, it can have adverse effects on your health. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it hard for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. Moreover, you may not feel fresh after waking up from sleep either.
Insomnia in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, insomnia is not just an illness but is a sign of certain another chronic physical, mental, behavioral, and cognitive issues that may appear in the future if not addressed well in time. Improper diet and unhealthy lifestyle results in aggravation of Vata dosha. The aggravation in Vata dosha reduces the Kapha dosha ( which helps in sound sleep and rest) and causes insomnia.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), insomnia is the most common of all sleep disorders and about one-third of all adults have symptoms of insomnia. Moreover, the symptoms in between 6 to 10 percent of all adults are severe and are enough to diagnose insomnia among them.
Characteristics of Insomnia
- Falling asleep initially.
- Waking up during the night.
- Waking earlier than desired.
What are the symptoms of insomnia?
- Trouble in falling asleep.
- Waking up in the middle of the night.
- Difficulty returning to sleep.
- Tiredness /fatigue during the daytime.
- Irritability or depressed mood.
- Difficulty in concentration or memory.
Causes of insomnia
Certain physical and psychological factors cause insomnia. Normally, short-term stress forms the temporary cause of the problem while in some cases; insomnia takes place due to an underlying medical condition.
Common causes include:
- Issues in a relationship, stress at the workplace, financial difficulties, and more.
- Anxiety or depression disorders or any other mental health problems.
- Chronic diseases like cancer.
- Uncomfortable bed or too hot, cold, or noisy room.
- Physical inactivity
- Bad dream or horrors at night.
- Consuming cocaine or other recreational drugs.
- Regular pain in joints or due to other conditions
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn.
What are the types of insomnia?
- Short-term insomnia: – It lasts for a few days or weeks and is often triggered by stress.
- Chronic insomnia: – In this type of insomnia, sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or longer.
Risk factors of Insomnia
Insomnia can affect anyone at any stage and it affects mostly women than men. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) states that factors that increase the risk of developing insomnia among people include:
- Increased levels of stress
- Emotional disorders.
- Financial problems or low income
- Traveling to different time zones
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Rotational work hours or working night shifts.
However, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, or menopause are some other medical conditions that increase the risk of developing insomnia.
There is no known test to diagnose insomnia but evaluating the sleep history with your healthcare provider is vital. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam, talk about your symptoms and seek your medical and sleep history to check if they are affecting your sleep. The healthcare provider will also recommend
- A blood test to rule out certain other medical conditions.
- Keep a sleep diary to note down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks.
- To complete a sleep study.
What are the complications of insomnia?
Not being able to sleep or having poor quality of sleep can have adverse effects on your physical and mental health and may cause:
- Driving accidents, injuries, and falls.
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings.
- Weight gain and obesity.
Lifestyle modifications, improving the bedtime routine and improvised bedroom setup can help you to have a sound sleep. Consider the following things that can help you to prevent insomnia.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
- Perform regular exercises during the day.
- Avoid caffeine, coffee, soda, and chocolates especially at night.
- Turn off all your electronic gadgets at least an hour before going to bed.
- Quit smoking.
- Make a comfortable environment for sleep.
- Listen a soothing music, or read a good book, or relax with meditation.
Treatment for Insomnia
Usually, short-term insomnia fades on its own but to treat chronic insomnia, your healthcare provider may recommend:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: Therapy (CBT-I): It helps you to identify the thoughts and behaviors that affect your sleep and replace these with the habits that help in sound sleep. It also helps you to overcome the basic causes of your sleep problems.
- Medications: Changes in behavior and lifestyle are the factors that can help you to improve your sleep in the longer run. The healthcare providers may recommend you to take sleep medicines only for a short period. However, for chronic insomnia, sleep medicines are not the first choice.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Insomnia
To manage insomnia naturally, Ayurvedic medicines or remedies are worth considering. Ayurvedic treatment for insomnia mainly focuses on balancing the doshas in the body and restoring your natural sleep-wake cycle. In Ayurveda, there are several natural herbs like Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Jatamansi, etc are helpful to deal with insomnia and reduce its symptoms.
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Insomnia is a disorder that can cause a wide range of physical and mental issues. Rotational shifts, workplace stress, family issues, financial problems, etc are certain factors that cause insomnia. If you are experiencing insomnia that is affecting your sleep and daily life, reach out to our doctors for free consultations who will not only provide a solution but will also address the root cause of the problem.