By Maddie Santiago
Insomnia, or consistent trouble falling and staying asleep, is very common. About 60 million people in the U.S. are affected by it. It’s usually self-diagnosable and can possibly be caused by poor sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness, or some medications. While sleeping pills are an option, there are risks involved including many side effects, difficulty waking up, building up a tolerance, and even becoming dependent. It’s best for the body to be on as little medications as possible, the more natural the better! Luckily, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of healthy living, has a few natural techniques that can help treat insomnia.
Set (and Keep!) a Schedule
Getting up at the same time every day is very helpful to our bodies. Try waking up at or before 6:00 A.M. and going to sleep before 10:00 P.M. It sounds like an early start, but if you’re going to sleep by 10:00 P.M. every night, you’re still getting that needed eight hours of sleep. Also make sure that you have at least 3 hours between dinner and your bedtime. Keep this schedule every day, no slacking on the weekends! Our bodies have no semblance of “making up lost sleep”, so sleeping in on those days isn’t actually helping. To learn more about the Ayurvedic sleep cycle read our article here.
Make Your Bedroom a Restful and Relaxing Area
Take care when decorating your bedroom; make it a peaceful retreat according to your personal tastes. Place items with intention and decorate with things that make you relaxed. These could be naturally scented candles, incense, an essential oil diffuser, crystals, soft blankets and pillows, or artwork. Plant nice-smelling flowers outside of your window; so that during nice weather, opening the window will let in fresh air and pleasing aromatics. If you have a desk or tend to work in your bedroom, tidy this area before bedtime and put away or shut off all electronic devices. The idea is that come bed time, your room is a place of serenity that easily facilitates sleep.
In order to fall asleep, your mind needs to be calm and relaxed. We all know that the worst thing is trying to fall asleep when your mind is racing! Avoid watching TV, listening to loud music, exercising, or interacting with social media right before bed. These actions will stimulate the mind when you want to be settling it. A short meditation at night can help relax your mind. Yoga does help with insomnia, but don’t do it before bed. Instead practice yoga in the morning or daytime, since yoga can be very stimulating for the body and mind.
Eat Certain Foods
During bedtime you want to embrace your Kapha, the dosha (Click here to discover your dosha!) type associated with being calm, gentle, and relaxed. An easy way to do this is to eat kapha enhancing foods. Moist and naturally fatty or oily foods work best. Dairy, avocado, banana, nuts, fish, and sweet fruits are some examples. Naturally sweet or organic cane sugar-sweetened foods also help induce Kapha. Warm (cow’s) milk spiced with nutmeg, turmeric, cane sugar, or cardamom, is particularly effective for treating insomnia. Avoid pungent or spicy foods, dry foods like cereal and bread, and salads as well as other raw foods, since these enhance the Pitta and Vata doshas and may keep you up.
Don’t go on suffering from insomnia because you don’t want the negative risks and effects of sleeping pills! Medications are not the only answer to insomnia relief. Try any or all of these natural Ayurvedic tips for a better night’s sleep. Getting good sleep will help you live a happier and healthier life!
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- Women's Health
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- Ayuerveda techniques for restful sleep
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