Easy Insomnia Relief With Ayurveda
Insomnia relief can be a never ending quest. If you’re the one in the 1 in 3 Australians who find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, chances are good that insomnia relief is high on your ‘To Do’ list. And it should be. The impact of lack of sleep on the body and mind should not be underestimated, with studies showing that long- term insomnia dramatically decreases quality of life for sufferers.
In Ayurvedic medicine, sleep is one of the three pillars of life, alongside food (or Ahara) and sexual energy (or Brahmacharya). We put plenty of focus on both food and sex but often neglect the sleep pillar. Sleep often only becomes a concern when we realise that we aren’t getting enough of it! The thing is sleep or Nidra is just as important as the other two pillars. It’s the body’s time to rejuvenate and ‘switch off.’ Without the right quality and quantity of sleep, we can’t function at an optimum level and may find other health concerns springing out of the woodwork.
Mild to moderate insomnia has reached epidemic levels in Australia. We see clients seeking insomnia relief very regularly here at the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre Bondi Junction. When we look at the lifestyles we currently lead, it doesn’t take much to see the correlation. Ayurvedic medicine recognises that our lifestyle choices are the biggest contributor to insomnia as they upset the balance of the Vata ‘dosha’ (or bioenergy). Vata is responsible for movement, activity and thought processes and is light, active and changeable in nature. When Vata is balanced, we feel inspired, energised and clear headed. When our Vata is aggravated or out of balance, we turn into frazzled, muddle headed wrecks who suffer from, you guessed it, insomnia. You know those racing, anxious thoughts that fly through your head and wind you up at bedtime? That’s your out of control Vata.
There are plenty of things that can aggravate Vata but some of the most common include:
- A heavy reliance on caffeine and other stimulants, especially when consumed in the afternoon and evening.
- Lack of proper rest paired with high levels of physical and emotional stress and fatigue.
- An inconsistent routine that flies in the face of the body’s natural rhythms.
- Long periods of time spent in air conditioning or artificially cooled environments or prolonged exposure to cold or wind.
Vata doesn’t like being over-exposed and under-nourished. A frenetically paced life packed with inconsistency and a lack of self-care is a recipe for a very unhappy Vata dosha and in turn, a distinct lack of sleep.
Fortunately, Ayurveda has some insomnia relief solutions for you. As the holistic science of life, Ayurvedic medicine is all about gently restoring your body and mind to optimum function through food and lifestyle routines. An Ayurvedic approach to insomnia relief takes into consideration Dosha imbalance and generally includes the use of herbs, diet, massage, smell, sound, yoga and meditation to remove toxins, lower stress levels, support the immune system and strengthen the body’s ability to heal and rest.
Here at the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre in Bondi Junction, we treat people who may be struggling to find insomnia relief on a very regular basis. We often make the following suggestions for helping to relieve the torture of sleeplessness.
1. Meditation – Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques for quieting the mind. You can come to a meditation session with a buzzing head of thoughts and leave having achieved a greater sense of calm. Ideally you should try and meditate in the morning and evening for best results. The sessions don’t need to be long and there are plenty of free guided meditations available online.
2. Adding oils to your day – A daily self-massage with a Vata calming oil is one of the best ways to soothe aggravation and give your skin a natural boost. Warmed sesame, almond and olive oil are all great choices. You can find instructions on how to carry out a Vata pacifying, sleep promoting massage here
3. Herbs – Avoiding caffeine may be obvious but adding herbal teas and tonics to your daily routine can be hugely beneficial and an easy way to restore balance and calm. Chamomile, lemon balm and valerian root are well known for their soothing properties and can be found in tea leaf and tea bag form at most supermarkets and health food shops. The Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha is also excellent for promoting sleep. Our experienced Ayurvedic Doctors can prescribe the perfect herbal regime for your specific body type and needs. Click here to find out more about a consultation.
4. Create a sleep inducing nightly routine – If you’re really struggling with sleep, try thinking about it as the end point of a long distance race. You need to do some preparation before you cross the finish line. Tweaks to your daily routine can help. From an Ayurvedic perspective, 10pm is the ideal time for bed. Work towards hitting the pillow by this time. Try having your heaviest meal in the middle of the day and eating lightly of an evening. Avoid spicy, stimulating food and activities. A warm bath and massage followed by a cup of herbal tea or warm milk can help relax and body and encourage the mind to ‘switch off.’ Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature and that you are dressed comfortably for bed as temperature fluctuations can aggravate your Vata further.
5. Massage – At the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre, we offer massage treatments specifically tailored to treat insomnia. An Ayurvedic massage is a very different experience to your standard body treatment and works on the body and mind at a deeper level to promote relaxation and rejuvenation. To treat insomnia, Abhyanga is often recommended. This form of hot oil massage helps pacify the three doshas, encouraging the release of toxins from deep within the tissue and the GI tract while relaxing the body and mind. The Shirodhara treatment is also recommended. This unique experience combines Abhyanga with Shirodhara, where 2 litres of specially formulated liquid (usually herb infused oils or buttermilk) is poured over the forehead and ‘third eye’ in a constant, gentle stream. This has a balancing effect on the brain while soothing the nervous system and connecting the body and mind at a deeper level. You can find out more about both of these treatments here.
To find out more about how we can help you successfully remove insomnia from your life, please give us a call at the centre today on 02 9389 2581. Our friendly and experienced staff can help answer all your questions and direct you towards a consultation or treatment to best meet your needs.