The Only Tip You Need to Overcome Insomnia + Ayurvedic Remedies
By Jennifer Eddinger
Interrupted or insufficient sleep is challenging. I know this on many personal levels.
If you’re not sleeping well, you’re probably physically drained, depleted of nutrients and dehydrated. Your memory may not be functioning top-notch and your emotional health, relationships and work life are also likely suffering.
Simply put, the energy in your system is imbalanced.
Ayurveda – the ancient natural medicine of India and the sister science to yoga – recognizes that the 5 elements of the earth (Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) act and dwell within us as 3 doshas, or mind-body principles.
When these 5 elements – or doshas – are imbalanced, either in excess or in lack, the disease process sets in and you’re put off balance.
The Different Doshas
You’ll have some combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha within you. We all do, just in different ratios.
1. Vata Dosha is formed of Air and Space. It’s movement, creativity and agility.
2. Pitta Dosha is formed of Fire and Water. Pitta is the intelligence, metabolism and temperature of the body.
3. Kapha Dosha is formed of Water and Earth. It’s the structure and glue of our bodies and expresses as love, compassion and solidity.
There are different types of insomnia in Ayurveda, depending on which dosha is out. Vata and pitta dosha are the usual culprits, but you can find your vikruti (doshic imbalance) by consulting a qualified practitioner.
Do you also experience some digestive complaints? Do you feel like you’re heating up all over? If sleep problems are left untreated, more serious health conditions may arise down the road. So, isn’t it time you take care of this?
You’ve probably tried some natural remedies. There are so many great ones for insomnia, which are effective and don’t have side effects. I’ve probably tried them all, but before I get to my personal favorites, I want to share with you the secret to overcoming insomnia.
What is it? You MUST keep a regular routine.
Go to bed early, before 10pm. Arise early and keep the times consistent (whatever they may be for you).
A regular routine does many things:
- It establishes harmony in the body and mind.
- It regulates your daily bodily functions – digestion, elimination, mentality and mood all benefit from a regular routine.
- It establishes a rhythm with the natural cycles of the earth. When there’s light, we rise and do good work. When it’s dark, we close our eyes and rest. Simple.
If you’re taking supplements and other protocols for insomnia, but aren’t establishing a daily routine, you’re going to miss the boat. So get this down. And while you’re getting that routine in place, try one of these natural remedies for insomnia.
4 Ayurvedic Remedies For Insomnia
1. Shirodhara Oil Therapy
Shirodhara is the most loved of the Ayurvedic body therapies. During shirodhara, a stream of warm herbal oil flows continuously over the forehead or third-eye, stimulating the pineal gland, the regulator of the wake/sleep cycle. The gentle pressure of the oil causes the mind to go into a state of rest. It’s heavenly, soothing and nourishing. I do not know of another body therapy, apart from meditation, that nourishes the nervous system so well. If you have anxiety, insomnia or fatigue, you will love shirodhara.
2. Oil The Head & Feet
Second best to shirodhara is simply applying some oil to the top of the head and souls of the feet at night before bed. To avoid any oil stains, put an old towel on your pillow or wear an old hat and old socks. Castor oil is wonderful on the feet; it draws toxins and calms the nerves. Don’t put it in the hair though – it’s too dense and will be hard to remove. Sunflower oil, sesame oil and shea butter are all great oils to try.
3. Warm Milk With Spices & Herbs
Warm milk calms vata and pitta dosha. Choose organic if you can and raw if it’s available (just be sure to warm it first). Try it with a pinch of nutmeg or the scrape of a vanilla bean. If you’re feeling more adventurous, this recipe is ultra soothing.
4. Jatamansi Essential Oil
Jatamansi or Himalayan spikenard is in the valerian family. It’s deeply calming and smells a little woodsy and earthy. Jatamansi is well regarded in Ayurveda for calming the mind. Try a drop on the top of the head or the forehead for sound sleep. It works wonderfully.
Jen Eddinger is an Artist, Shirodhara Therapist and the creator of AyurvedaNextDoor.com, a place to discover the Ayurveda community around you. Her multi-author blog and directory of Ayurvedic practitioners, centers and schools is a leading resource for Ayurveda.
Jen is passionate about Ayurvedic panchakarma cleanses, Ayurvedic herbs, medicinal body oils for therapeutic self-massage and kitchari. She helps people better understand the Ayurvedic lifestyle and locate the practitioners, services and schools they are seeking.
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