March 23, 2014

15 Natural Remedies for Insomnia & the Sleep-Challenged.

Allot Occurs Whilst You Sleep

In Ayurveda—the ancient and timeless science of life—sleep is considered one of the three pillars, or necessities, of life, along with food and sex.

The role of ahara, or wholesome and compatible food, is fairly obvious; without it we waste away. Brahmacharya, or sex, is a bit more obscure. It refers to the proper use of one’s energy, sexual and otherwise; without which immunity diminishes. And without nidra, or sleep, the body and mind cease to properly function. Sleep is the body’s time to relax and recharge. During sleep, the mind withdraws from the senses for much needed rest.

Without a good night’s sleep you not only feel like crap the next day because you’re tired, but your body and mind have missed out on their time for rejuvenation. The importance of sleep cannot be underestimated.

 A solid night’s rest doesn’t come easily to all, unfortunately.

For insomniacs, the sleep-challenged, and anyone who wants quality rest, Ayurveda offers many pill-free and natural approaches.

1. Start winding down a couple of hours before bedtime. Avoid TV, the computer, loud music, and looking at your smartphone screen; all of which are too stimulating for the mind before bed.

2. Finish your dinner three hours before bedtime so that the process of digestion doesn’t interrupt your sleep.

3. Create a bedtime routine; whether that be a bath, meditation, or your own form of quiet time. This will put your body in the sleeping mindset.

4. Take a warm bath with a few drops of calming lavender oil in the evenings.

5. To induce sleep, before bed drink either: a warm glass of milk (cow, or almond) with a pinch of nutmeg; or a warm glass of milk with infused with 10 strands of saffron.

6. Massage your temples, hands and feet with warm almond or sesame oil just before going to sleep. Or try massaging the soles of your feet with castor oil.

7. Do this simple breathing exercise before bed: with each inhale, mentally repeat I breathe in peace; with each exhale, mentally repeat I breathe out stress.

8. Be in bed by 10 pm, which will make it easier to fall asleep and promote a sounder night of sleep in general. This keeps you in harmony with the natural rhythms of the day—explained here.

9. Avoid sleeping on your belly, which can obstruct deep and healthy breathing. Instead, sleep on your right side to encourage left nostril breathing. This activates the body’s cooling, relaxing moon energy.

10. Sleep with your head facing facing east and your feet facing west, which encourages restful sleep. The second best direction is to sleep with your head facing south, which improves health. Do not sleep with your head facing north, which disturbs both sleep and health.

11. Remove clutter from your bedroom. Physical clutter causes mental clutter, and a clean, peaceful space encourages the same for the mind.

12. Establish a regular sleep cycle. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.

13. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine, and should avoid coffee, caffeinated tea and ginseng after morning time or all together.

14. Avoid exercising too late at night, which can be invigorating rather than relaxing. If you do practice yoga in the evenings, use calming sequences and omit stimulating pranayama exercises such as kapalabhati.

15. Unless you’re making up for lost sleep, try to resist napping. Sleep is meant for nighttime. There are a few exceptions: naps are ok for the elderly, pregnant, and ill—and power (short) naps are fine in the hot summer months.




Relephant Links:

Can’t Sleep? Natural Remedies to Fight Insomnia.

No Pills: 6 Yoga Poses for Insomnia.

The Dharma of Insomnia.



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Editorial Assistant: Sarvasmarana Ma Nithya / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: elephant archives

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BXavier Puvinel Mar 25, 2014 2:13am

4. is a classic misunderstanding. Sorry.
Warm water elevate your body temperature while physiology of the body during sleep is known to lower it.
So if you need to take a bath or a shower before going to sleep the best option is a cold (or tepid-cold) one.
Do not make this classic mistake, your sleep would be interrupt

Heather Mar 24, 2014 7:18am

Also there is a lot of research that says that two short sleep sessions in the night are beneficial. I've lived in Spain and Africa where one, or two siestas are completely normal and that seems far more healthy, so saying that "napping" is unhealthy I feel is deeply counterproductive. There's no law to say you have to be in bed by 10 and that's that. I'm a professional musician so rarely get home from work till after midnight. What about healthcare workers and other people? This is based on no factual information at all and I think will cause more harm than good.

Heather Mar 24, 2014 7:15am

Wasn't there an article here recently saying why sleeping on your left side is beneficial?!

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Julie Bernier

Julie Bernier teaches women the art of self-care so that they feel their healthiest and happiest in their own unique bodies. This holistic approach to individualized wellness is rooted in the ancient Indian knowledge of ayurveda: a complete medical science and way of life which explains that our wellbeing blossoms when we align ourselves with nature. Julie is a registered ayurvedic practitioner with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, a Certified Massage Therapist, and a classical hatha yoga teacher. She studied each of these modalities in the US and straight from their source in India. Connect with Julie at trueayurveda.com and check out her upcoming events in LA: ayurvedic cooking basics and ayurvedic skin care.