Sleep affects all the biorhythms of the body. As one of the pillars of health, Ayurveda recognizes that quality of sleep directly affects our health and the quality of our life. Sleep problems range from irregular sleep, difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep throughout the night, insufficient sleep due to life style. When poor sleep patterns persist and continue, insomnia becomes chronic and begins to affect other aspects of our health. Some causes of sleep disorders are narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, psychological disorders, consumption of caffeine, drugs or alcohol, napping during the day, lack of sleep routine, excessive stimulation before bedtime, overeating before bedtime, not enough exercise or too much before bed. Nearly 20% Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems and take pharmaceuticals to help them fall asleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Disorders
Lack of sleep can cause havoc in your life. Increase in psychosomatic symptoms, lower threshold for pain or discomfort, irritability, lack of focus and clarity, weight gain, relationship problems, an increase in anxiety to name a few.
Sleeping during the day ( napping) is recommended for those who are exhausted by such things as singing, sex, running/walking long distance, injured, the elderly and the young. Napping is also recommended for everyone in the summer season as the nights are shorter and the Vata gets aggravated by absorption of fluid in the body caused by the heat of the sun. It is also advised not to sleep after eating.
Try this to Improve Sleep
- Set a time ( ideally before 10pm) each night to go to sleep. More on Time and Sleep
- Make sure the bedroom is dark, cool and you have heavy blanket to use
- Drink a cup of hot milk with nutmeg
- Massage your feet, forehead with warm oil ( use sesame for Vata/kapha, Coconut for Pitta)
- Avoid caffeine, drugs, smoking, alcohol
- Avoid watching stimulating TV, computer screen or conversation before bed.
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