Insomnia

Definition

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. People living with insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. This could result in getting little or poor-quality sleep. Such persons may not feel refreshed when they wake up. Insomnia can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute insomnia is common, and it is brought about by situations such as family pressures, stress, or a trauma.

On the other hand, chronic insomnia lasts longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, meaning they are either symptoms or side effects of some other problems. Certain conditions such as medicines and sleep disorders can cause secondary insomnia.

Insomnia can be classed as being primary or secondary:

Primary insomnia It’s its own distinct disorder. Factors such as long-lasting stress or emotional upset, travelling, work schedules that disrupt sleep routine, may trigger primary insomnia.

Secondary insomnia is a side effect of another problem such as emotional, neurological, or other medical and sleep disorders. Certain asthma medicines, such as theophylline, and some allergy medicines can cause insomnia.

Causes:

  • Emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress disorder.
  • Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Use of caffeinated beverages
  • Smoking
  • Asthma
  • Heath failure
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn
  • Menopause and hot flashes
  • Restless leg syndrome

Ayurveda treatment for Insomnia:

In Ayurveda, Insomnia is called Anidra / Nidra nasha, an imbalance in Tarpaka Kapha, Sadhaka Pitta and Prana Vata, but the ultimate goal of an ayurvedic approach to Anidra is to fabricate the ojas (a substance produced from the most subtle level of proper digestion, and it brings energy, clarity of thinking, strong immunity, happiness, and contentment). It has been proven from research that, only the deepest and most restful sleep, which is called the Stage Four sleep, fabricates ojas.

The level of sleep required to maintain a good state of health solely depends on the person’s mind-body constitution or prakruti. Ayurveda pinpoints three different sleeping disorders which are;

Vata Imbalance, Pitta Imbalance, and Kapha Imbalance.

  • Vata imbalance is often associated with difficulties in falling asleep. It correlates with hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, anxiety, worry. People with such imbalance require 6-7 hours of sleep.
  • Pitta imbalance is often associated with sporadic awakening (difficulty in maintaining an unperturbed sleep). It’s often correlated with emotional trauma, anger, sadness. People with such imbalance have fragmented sleeps almost every 90minutes. Such people require 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • Kapha imbalance causes an uncurbed sleep associated with waking up un-refreshed. Persons with such disorders, tend to feel sluggish, tired, and completely exhausted regardless of the long night rest such person had. People with such imbalance need 8-9hours of rest.

Line of treatment:

Ayurveda treatment for Insomnia Balances the Tridoshas and Rasayana

Treatments:

The treatment modalities include panchakarma, external therapies, internal medications, Activities, Advice of food and lifestyle changes.

  • Panchakarma – Virechana, Basti, Nasya
  • External Therapies – Shiro Abhyanga Shiro Dhara, Shiro Basti, Shiro Pichu, Pada Abhyanga, Abhyanga, SSPS
  • Internal medications –Tridosha Balancing herbs which nourish the ojas – combination of herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Brahmi (bacopa monneri), Jatamamsi (Nardostachys jatamansi)

Activities:

  • Specific asana techniques, pranayama, meditation

Diet:

  • Tridosha balancing diet
  • A cup of warm milk with cardamom, cinnamon is a good bedtime drink.
  • Lifestyle: specific to the individual’s constitution, nature of work and geographical conditions.