Sleep deprivation is as common as the common cold and can disrupt one’s daily functioning severely. Here are some ayurvedic remedies to deal with problematic sleep patterns.
In a modern day lifestyle where people are short of time, sleep becomes more and more evasive. Most doctors prescribe a minimum of eight hours of sleep for adults to lead a healthy life but many people struggle to achieve this. Ayurveda, a traditional Hindu system of medicine, offers remedies that over the years have helped those looking for a calm and better sleep. In general, the advice remains to maintain a proper diet and lifestyle, because the ayurvedic beliefs point to imbalanced forces in the body as a reason for sleep related issues. However, there are some specific remedies that could ease one’s sleeplessness.
Warm turmeric milk, plain milk with cardamom, or milk mixed with some other herbs are an age old remedy for a sound sleep. Among suggestions for mixing herbs or spices with milk, turmeric milk is among the most recommended. Taking one-two teaspoons of ground turmeric with one glass of warm milk at night, before one retires to bed should do the trick. Besides aiding better sleep, turmeric milk also relieves throat pain and builds stronger immunity.
Taking a hot oil head and feet massage with certain oils is another recommended activity just before sleep time to induce a sound sleep. Slightly warmed sesame, lavender, jasmine, coconut or brahmi (Waterhyssop) oils may be used for the massage. Among these, lavender has been recognised particularly for a calming effect and can also help those with anxiety. Massage your scalp in particular as well as the soles of the feet with the oil of your choice just before going to bed.
Herbs are a major part of ayurvedic medicine and thus it must come as no surprise that certain herbs are recommend to help sleep better. Though herbs are not particularly recommended as a method of inducing sleep, they calm and clear the mind so that it can consequently result in better sleep. Ashwagandha (rennet) and brahmi are the two most recommended herbs for this purpose – one teaspoon of both in a powdered form, boiled in two cups of water. This water can be consumed early in the day, preferably the morning.
A warm wash
Not necessarily an ayurvedic remedy, but Ayurveda suggests a wash as a way to relax, specifically by adding some essential oils to your water. These oils are similar to the ingredients of the techniques that people have been practising since ages, with most popular being lavender and brahmi. Taking a relaxing warm bath before bed has been practiced across cultures. However, because taking a bath in the evening is not a common practice in India where people generally bathe in the morning, a warm bathe at night usually comes with purpose.
As ayurveda bases itself on balance of forces in the body, breathing techniques are often prescribed to attain this balance temporarily, or for a lasting time through practice. One such pattern for a better sleep is alternative breathing, which must be practiced on or before going to bed. Alternative breathing, as the name suggests, involves breathing through either nostril. This can be done by closing your right nostril to inhale through your left, then closing the left nostril to exhale through the right. This breathing pattern may be repeated for five to ten minutes.