Insomnia is defined as a sleep disorder. It is a condition of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number of factors, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep. Many sources also add the presence of associated daytime impairments, such as fatigue, irritability, decreased memory, concentration, and pervasive malaise affecting many aspects of daytime functioning.
Although it is generally believed that 10% to 15% of the adult population suffers from the condition of insomnia. People over the age of 65 are affected more often than younger people and it has been shown that females are more often affected than males. Insomnia can be triggered by your behaviors and sleep patterns.
What are the Causes of Insomnia?
Physical and psychological factors play an important role in the occurrence of insomnia. Sometimes a severe medical condition causes chronic insomnia. Transient insomnia may be due to a recent event or occurrence. Insomnia is commonly caused by
- Psychological issues– bipolar disorder, depression, an anxiety disorder.
- Medical conditions – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperthyroidism, tumors, stroke, chronic pain, angina, fatigue, etc.
- Hormones – estrogen, hormone shifts during menstruation.
- Disruptions in Cardiac rhythm – job shift changes, extreme hot or cold, high altitudes, jet lag, etc.
- Environmental factors – like excessive noise, light or extreme temperatures.
- Medications –Glucosamine, ACE inhibitors, SSRI antidepressants, Beta blockers, Statins, etc.
- Excessive intake of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc.
- Other factors – parasites, genetic conditions, pregnancy, overactive mind, etc.
How many Types of Insomnia are?
They are two types of insomnia: Primary insomnia and Secondary insomnia but the other two types are also mentioned below
- Primary insomnia – In this, the person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problems.
- Secondary insomnia–In this, the person is having sleep problems because of health conditions like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer or heartburn.
- Acute insomnia – It is a very common type and lasts for a few days or weeks. It may be due to stress or life events and most of the people recover naturally.
- Chronic insomnia – It lasts for a month or more and is likely to cause problems like fatigue, concentration or mood changes.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia?
Insomnia can cause a range of problems that can occur during the day, and make it difficult to function normally. Signs & symptoms may include
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Difficulty in paying attention or focusing
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Difficulty in personal relationships, family, friends, and caregivers
- Mood disturbance, such as irritability
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Fatigue or low energy
- Behavior problems, such as feeling impulsive or aggressive.
What is an Ayurvedic View on Insomnia?
‘Nidranasha’ or ‘Anidra’ is a term of Ayurveda used for loss of sleep. Nidranasha is the difficulty in maintaining sound sleep or waking up early without complete sleep and unable to sleep again, or waking up with a feeling of tiredness and exhaustion. According to the Ayurvedic perspective, the disease is responsible due to Tarpak kapha, Sadhak Pitta or Prana vata.
Tarpak kapha is a sub-dosha of kapha; it nourishes the brain cells and facilitates a good sleep at night time. Imbalance of Tarpak kapha dosha causes poor nourishment of brain cells, leading to insomnia. Sadhak pitta is a sub-dosha of Pitta and controls the emotions, desires, spirituality. Prana vata is a subtype of vata and is linked to insomnia, worry, anxiety, etc. Prana vata causes the nervous system sensitive, this sensitive nervous system coupled with an aggravated Prana vata leading to insomnia.
What is the Ayurvedic Treatment for Insomnia?
Chandigarh Ayurved Centre introduces “Insomnia Go Kit’’, which contains all the natural supplements that maintain healthy sleep patterns and also supports the health of an insomnia patient. This kit includes – Brodley syrup, Tagaradi churna, Brahmi capsules, and Detox Standard powder.
1. Brodley Syrup
The herbal syrup contains a mixture of natural herbs which are very beneficial in the condition of insomnia. Ingredients in this syrup are – Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricalis), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Yashti madhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Dhania (Coriandrum sativum), Saunf (Foeniculum vulgare), etc. It mainly acts as an anti-depressant and reduces the stress level. This syrup has the best results in mental fatigue, aggressive behavior, learning disorder, mental retardation, etc.
Recommended Dosage–Take 2 teaspoonful twice a day.
2. Tagaradi Churna
This churna is very beneficial in neurological, psychological and digestive disorders. It improves the strength of the heart muscles and reduces high blood pressure. This is the best vata and kapha pacifier churna. Tagaradi churna improves the quality of sleep and induces the sound sleep. It elevates the mood and helps the patients in reducing stress and mood disorders.
Recommended Dosage – Take 1 teaspoonful twice a day with normal water.
3. Brahmi Capsule
This capsule contains a pure extract of the herb Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri). It is used as a natural brain tonic, relaxes the central nervous system, and mental relaxation. The capsules relieve the fatigue & provide a good sleep to insomnia patients.
Recommended Dosage – Take 2 capsules twice a day with normal water.
4. Detox Standard Powder
This formulation act at the level of the nervous system and facilitate proper conduction of signal impulse from the nerves to the muscles. The powder contains ingredients like– Moti pishti, Parwal pishti, Shukta pishti, Giloy satva, Kamdudha ras, Jahar mohra pishti, Akik pishti, Gandhak rasayan, Tal sindoor, etc. These ingredients balance all the Tridosha. It provides relief in psychosis, helps in mental weakness like short temper, decreased the ability to think, improves the memory power, and reduces the calcium level that hampers the brain functions. This powder is good for insomnia patients.
Recommended Dosage – Take 1 sachet twice a day with normal water.
What is the Panchakarma Treatment for Insomnia?
There are a number of specific therapies that are very effective for insomnia patients. These therapies help to restore the imbalance of doshas and are popular among Ayurveda specialists. Chandigarh Ayurved Centre facilitates the best panchakarma therapies which are done by well-trained therapists under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
The Therapies for insomnia patients include
- Shirodhara – It is a specialist and therapeutic head massage to treat psychological or mental problems. The medicinal oils are used which can work well on the head during the massage on scalp and hair. This reduces anxiety, depression, fatigue, behavior problems and induces proper sleep.
- Abhyanga – This is a full body massage done by using medicated oils that relaxes the body, remove tensions and promote the sound sleep.
- Pada-Abhyanga – A foot massage that promotes mind and body relaxation and encourages a good sleep at night time.
- Pichu – Pichu is an Ayurvedic treatment where medicated oil is mixed with herbal powder and then applied to the center part of the head. This is a wonderful treatment for conditions such as stress, insomnia, tension, and mental conditions.
Healthy Tips and Diet in Insomnia
- Use whole-wheat flour and brown rice instead of refined varieties.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and aerated drinks after dusk.
- Avoid watching television or working on the computer late at night.
- Drink buffalo milk as it contains rich amounts of an amino-acid, L-tryptophan, which induces sleep.
- Make your bedroom comfortable. Create a quiet, dark atmosphere. Use clean, fresh sheets and pillow. Keep the room temperature comfortable.
- Tryptophan is an amino acid that when ingested gets turned into the neurotransmitter serotonin and then converted into the hormone melatonin which induces the sleep. Some of the best food loaded with tryptophan are – Diary products (milk, low-fat yoghurt, cheese), Poultry (turkey, chicken), Seafood (salmon, sardines, cod).
- Tomatoes, Grapes, Cherries, Chickpeas, Mushrooms, Bell peppers, Banana, Walnuts are very beneficial for improving sleep quality.
- Reduce salt intake in the diet, it can cause high blood pressure which also affects the sleep.
- Exercise regularly to control stress levels both physical and mental.
- Shavasana, Supta mastsyendrasana, Surya bhedna, Supta baddha konasana, Viparti karani, Halasana are some of the yoga asana which helps to reduce the stress, keep the mind calm, and induces the sleep.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh