Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. Many people have experienced it many times in their life time. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep. As a result, they may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. They may not feel refreshed after awakening in the morning.
Insomnia includes a wide range of sleeping disorders, from lack of quality of sleep to lack of quantity of sleep.
Insomnia is commonly separated into three types
• Transient insomnia – occurs when symptoms lasts from a few days to some weeks.
• Acute insomnia – also called short-term insomnia. Symptoms persist for several weeks.
• Chronic insomnia – this type lasts for at least months, and sometimes years. Most of the time chronic insomnia cases are secondary, means from the side effects or symptoms of some other problem. Certain medical conditions, medicines, sleep disorders, and substances can cause secondary insomnia.
Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset and many times primary insomnia can converts into secondary insomnia if the causative factors remains there for long time.
Insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness and a lack of energy. It also can make you feel anxious, depressed or irritable. Insomnia can cause problem in performing tasks, in concentrating, paying attention, learning, and remembering.
Although insomnia can affect people at any age, it is more common in adult females than adult males.
Insomnia has also been associated with a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.
Causes of Insomnia
• Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, moving)
• Emotional or physical discomfort
• Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that interfere with sleep
• Some medications (for example those used to treat colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma) may interfere with sleep
• Interferences in normal sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to night shift, for example)
Causes of chronic insomnia include:
• Depression and/or anxiety
• Chronic stress
• Pain or discomfort at night
Symptoms of Insomnia
• Sleepiness during the day
• General tiredness
• Problems with concentration or memory
According to ayurveda, the cause of insomnia or anidra is the vitiation of doshas due to their vitiating causative factors. Among three doshas mainly the vata dosha gets increased along with the pitta dosha and causes the problem. On the second hand due to vata pitta vitiation, kapha dosha get diminished. Both the situation leads to the weakness in the manas or in the mind. This causes the symptoms of insomnia.
According to ayurveda the treatment for insomnia includes:
• Panchakarma therapy
• Shamana or oral medication
In panchakarma mainly, Sirodhana therapy is specially designed to eliminate mental exhaustion and toxins. In this therapy oil is poured on patient’s forehead from specific distance and for specific time. Even though, oil is traditionally use for treatment of insomnia but other fluids like buttermilk or even milk can also be used. It brings relief to most of the associated factors of insomnia such as anxiety, stress and relaxes nervous system.
Ayurveda also suggests relaxing therapies such as abhyanga ( whole body massage), swedana ( whole body steaming), meditation and yoga to cure insomnia.
Ayurvedic Medicines for Insomia
• Pipplomool churna
• Swamamakhshik Bhasma
• Brahmi vati
• Ashwagandha choorna
• Ashwagandha taila
• Shatavari choorna
• Sarpagandha vati
• Maha kalyana ghrita
• Manasmitra vatakam
• Take a glassful of celery juice and mix a teaspoonful of honey in it. Have this every night before going to bed. It will assure a restful sleep throughout the night.
• Grind some fried cumin seed to a fine powder. Mix them with the pulp of a ripe banana. Eating this at night induces sleep.
• Celery juice has a calming effect on the nervous system. Mix a teaspoon of honey in a glass of celery juice. Drink this every night before going to bed.
• According to ayurveda, the best way to treat insomnia is to maintain a healthy and stress free lifestyle. This will keep you also help you to avoid several other diseases and infections.
Treating the underlying cause of secondary insomnia may resolve or improve the sleep problem, especially if you can correct the problem soon after it starts. For example, if caffeine is causing your insomnia, stopping or limiting your intake of the substance might make the insomnia go away.
Lifestyle changes, including better sleep habits, often help relieve acute insomnia. For chronic insomnia, your doctor may recommend medicines or cognitive-behavioral therapy.