Find our what I think about taking your electronic devices to bed with you, and the only two things you should be doing in your bedroom on my radio show,
"Your Health is in Your Hands", on www.blogtalkradio.com!
I am asked all the time; Is there anything Natural (Ayurvedic) that can help with insomnia? The answer: Absolutely!
And this is a very important topic.
In Ayurveda, poor nutrition is the mother of all disease and insomnia is the father. Getting enough sleep is extremely important in helping us live a life of health, happiness and vitality and yet insomnia is a problem that affects a large number of people especially in United States. Some of the causes of insomnia include headaches, excess intake of coffee, tea or soda, worries, negative thoughts, pain, stress, drinking alcohol in excess at night, anxiety, depression, unhealthy lifestyle, and illness. Treating the cause of insomnia is obviously the best idea, however, while you are working on that you need to get some sleep.
So... what can you do?
Initiate a meditation practice for overall stress reduction and relaxation. Yoga (especially Shavasana) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) can also be helpful to decompress and unite body, mind and spirit. If you are having trouble falling asleep because your mind is racing, try journaling before bed with an intention to “download” your thoughts and worries. Trust that because these things are in your journal, you no longer need to keep them in your mind, thereby giving yourself permission to rest and fall asleep easily. Additional remedies include regularly drinking a glass of warm milk with ½ teaspoon of honey and/or cardamom or nutmeg before bed, taking a warm bath using aroma therapy oils such as lavender or peace & calming, massaging the bottoms of the feet and ears with a Dosha-balancing oil for Vata or Pitta that is relaxing or soothing. Do not do any invigorating exercise, intense work or reading, or watch violence on TV (including the news!) right before bed as these things are too stimulating to the physiology and not conducive to relaxation and sleep. Create a peaceful, cool, quiet, dark, and calming atmosphere in your bedroom and create a comforting bedtime routine. Herbs like Ashwagandha can also be helpful in relaxing the mind as well as rejuvenating the body. Be sure to eat a diet rich in B-Complex vitamins and including vegetables, cereals and whole grains. Get to bed by no later than 10:30 PM before energizing Pitta time kicks in and be sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night depending upon what is right for you.
Lack of sleep can cause problems in doing every day work and activity and deplete the immune system thus inviting a number of various other symptoms and illnesses. Insomnia is not a problem that should be ignored or written off as minor. Remember, it is easier to treat a little insomnia or any other minor symptom or seed of illness before it becomes an abnormality on a lab report or diagnostic test. So pay attention to your sleep habits and try some of the remedies listed above if you feel you are suffering from insomnia for more than a couple of days. Not only will you feel better and more rested, but you will be doing your body and mind a great benefit in the prevention of illness. Sweet Dreams!
Listen to my radio show, "Your Health is in Your Hands" on www.blogtalkradio.com, to learn more about how Ayurveda can restore radiance to rough, dry skin, even in the fall and winter months.
In Ayurveda, we regard oils, both externally and internally, as a very important part of our daily routine. Particularly in the fall and winter months, our skin can have a tendency for dryness as this is the Vata season and so this quality would prevail now more than at other times of the year. To alleviate this dryness we can do a daily self-massage called an “Abhyanga” where we massage our whole body from head to toe with sesame oil or a dosha-balancing oil prior to showering.
Our skin is the gateway to the inner pharmacy, so this daily practice not only moisturizes, but also provides many benefits to our physiology including relaxation, detoxification, and the release of chemicals that promote a sense of happiness and well-being.
Oils can also be ingested in the forms of olive oil, coconut oil, fish oils, and ghee (pure clarified butter), just to name a few. These fats are the “good” fats and benefit more than just the skin. These suggestions should have your skin looking and feeling softer and smoother within a week with hair and nails becoming stronger and more lustrous as well.
Vata has the qualities of lightness, dryness, roughness, and unpredictability – the qualities of air (wind) and space. To balance these qualities when they are in excess, we would ground or make heavier, lubricate and moisturize to alleviate dryness, and bring routine into our daily activities to promote stability and cohesiveness.
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Dr. of Metaphysics, Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and Founder & CEO of the Kalyana Centre in Narberth, PA