insomnia ayurvedic treatments

In the fast-paced world we live in, quality sleep has become a luxury for many. Insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, affects millions worldwide. While modern medicine offers symptomatic solutions, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, provides unique perspectives on the root causes of insomnia and holistic remedies for a rejuvenating sleep experience.

Introduction to Ayurveda

Ayurveda, often referred to as the “science of life,” is a holistic approach to well-being that originated in ancient India. It encompasses a profound understanding of the body, mind, and spirit, emphasizing balance and harmony. Insomnia is known as Anidra or Nidranash in Ayurved. 

Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia is more than just a lack of sleep; it’s a complex imbalance that Ayurveda delves into with a keen eye on individual constitution or dosha. In Ayurveda, sleep is considered one of the pillars of a healthy life. It is intricately linked with the doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – which govern various physiological and psychological functions in the body. An imbalance in these doshas can disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia.

Doshas and Sleep Patterns

1. Vata Dosha and its Role

Vata, associated with movement, governs the nervous system. An aggravated Vata can lead to restlessness and sleeplessness.

2. Pitta Dosha and Sleep Disturbances

Pitta, linked to fire, can manifest as overheating and activeness, making it challenging to stay asleep.

3. Kapha Dosha and Deep Sleep

A balanced Kapha promotes deep, uninterrupted sleep, but excess Kapha may result in excessive daytime sleepiness.

Causes of Insomnia 

Ayurveda identifies several root causes of insomnia, attributing sleep disturbances to imbalances in the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Here are key Ayurvedic insights into the causes of insomnia:

  • Vata ImbalanceRestlessness, anxiety, and an overactive mind are often associated with an aggravated Vata dosha. Factors such as irregular routines, excessive stimulation, and insufficient grounding practices can contribute to Vata-related insomnia.
  • Pitta AggravationPitta dosha, when imbalanced, can manifest as heightened mental activity, irritability, and internal heat. Intense emotions, excessive screen time, and consumption of spicy or stimulating foods can provoke Pitta and disturb sleep.
  • Kapha DisturbanceAn imbalance in Kapha dosha may lead to excessive sleep or a feeling of heaviness upon waking. Factors such as sedentary lifestyles, overindulgence in heavy foods, and a lack of physical activity can contribute to Kapha-related insomnia.
  • Stress and AnxietyEmotional factors, often linked to elevated Vata and Pitta, play a significant role in insomnia. Stress, unresolved emotions, and an overactive mind can disrupt the balance of doshas and hinder restful sleep.
  • Poor DigestionAyurveda emphasizes the connection between digestive health and sleep. Impaired digestion, resulting from irregular eating habits or consuming incompatible foods, can disturb the equilibrium of doshas and contribute to insomnia.
  • Environmental InfluencesExternal factors such as excessive noise, irregular sleep routines, and exposure to bright screens before bedtime can disrupt the natural circadian rhythm, affecting the balance of doshas and triggering insomnia.
  • Lifestyle ChoicesUnhealthy lifestyle practices, including irregular sleep schedules, lack of physical activity, and excessive consumption of stimulants like caffeine or alcohol, can disturb the delicate harmony of doshas and contribute to sleep disturbances.
  • Other factors – Mental Trauma, Frequent intake of unsuitable food, Vaat Prakruti, Underlying diseases, Increased vaat and pitta dosha 

Diet, Lifestyle and Sleep Harmony

A. Dietary recommendation for Insomnia 

  • Warm Milk with SpicesA bedtime ritual of warm milk infused with calming spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, or cinnamon helps soothe the nervous system and induces relaxation.
  • Warm and Light DinnersOpt for warm, light dinners that are easy to digest. Heavy or spicy foods close to bedtime can disturb digestion, aggravate doshas, and interfere with sleep.
  • Inclusion of GheeConsuming a small amount of ghee (clarified butter) in the evening aids in grounding Vata dosha, promoting a sense of stability and calmness conducive to restful sleep.
  • Avoiding StimulantsLimit or avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and overly spicy or greasy foods, particularly in the evening. These can agitate the doshas and disrupt the natural sleep cycle.
  • Hydrating with Warm WaterStaying adequately hydrated is essential, but opt for warm water instead of cold. Warm water supports digestion and helps maintain the balance of doshas, fostering better sleep.
  • Incorporating Ashwagandha in FoodsAdding Ashwagandha powder to warm beverages or foods can provide adaptogenic support, helping the body manage stress and promoting a sense of calm conducive to sleep.
  • Balanced and Sattvic DietEmbrace a balanced and Sattvic (pure) diet with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. This supports overall well-being and contributes to a harmonious doshic balance.
  • Mindful Eating PracticesCultivate mindfulness during meals by eating slowly, savoring each bite, and avoiding distractions. Mindful eating contributes to optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Avoiding Late-Night SnackingRefrain from late-night snacking, allowing the digestive system to rest during the night. Late meals can disrupt digestion and contribute to sleep disturbances.

B. Lifestyle modification for healthy sleep

In Ayurveda, lifestyle choices play a crucial role in fostering optimal sleep patterns. Here are Ayurvedic lifestyle modifications to promote a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep:

  • Consistent Sleep Schedule: Establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This helps synchronize the body’s internal clock, promoting a balanced sleep-wake cycle.
  • Mindful Evening Rituals: Engage in calming activities in the evening, such as gentle yoga, meditation, or reading. Avoid stimulating activities or intense screen time close to bedtime to ease the transition into sleep.
  • Create a Tranquil Sleep Environment: Design your sleep space to be conducive to relaxation. Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using blackout curtains, comfortable bedding, and minimizing electronic devices.
  • Daily Exercise: Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, preferably in the morning or early evening. Exercise promotes circulation, helps balance doshas, and contributes to overall well-being.
  • Warm Evening Baths: Enjoy a warm bath in the evening to relax the muscles and soothe the nervous system. Adding calming essential oils such as lavender or chamomile can enhance the relaxation effect.
  • Ayurvedic Self-Massage (Abhyanga): Practice self-massage with warm oil, known as Abhyanga, before bedtime. This Ayurvedic ritual nurtures the body, calms the mind, and supports the balance of doshas.
  • Digital Detox: Implement a digital detox before bedtime by minimizing screen time. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep.
  • Breathing Exercises (Pranayama): Practice calming Pranayama techniques, such as Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) or Sheetali Pranayama, to promote relaxation and balance the nervous system.
  • Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Cultivate mindfulness through practices like meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction. These techniques help manage stress and create mental calmness conducive to sleep.

5. Ayurvedic Herbs for Sound Sleep

A. Ashwagandha: The Stress Buster

Known for its adaptogenic properties, Ashwagandha helps manage stress, a common contributor to insomnia.

B. Brahmi for Mind Relaxation

Brahmi acts as a brain tonic, supporting relaxation and mental calmness.

C. Jatamansi and its Calming Effect

Jatamansi is valued for its calming influence on the nervous system, aiding in sleep.

D. Tagara – Its effect on Sleep

Tagara is known for its calming and sleeping effect. It is widely used in Ayurveda for mild cases of Insomnia. 


6. Ayurvedic Practices for a Tranquil Night

A. Abhyanga: The Healing Touch

Self-massage with warm oil, or Abhyanga, soothes the body and mind, promoting relaxation.

B. Shirodhara: Calming the Mind

Shirodhara involves a steady stream of warm oil on the forehead, inducing a state of deep calmness.

C. Pranayama for Deep Relaxation

Breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing promote relaxation.


8. Yoga Nidra: The Yogic Sleep

Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation and relaxation technique that induces a state of conscious awareness between wakefulness and sleep. Originating from ancient yogic practices, it aims to bring about a deep sense of relaxation while maintaining mental clarity.

The Practice:

Comfortable Position:

  • Practitioners lie down in a comfortable position, usually on their backs, with arms and legs slightly apart. The goal is to find a position that allows for physical ease and mental alertness.

Guided Meditation:

  • The session begins with a facilitator guiding participants through a series of verbal instructions. These instructions typically involve bringing awareness to different parts of the body, the breath, and various sensations.


  • Participants engage in guided visualizations, exploring images or sensations that promote relaxation. This might include imagining a serene landscape or focusing on the breath’s rhythm.

Body Scan:

  • A key element of Yoga Nidra is the systematic body scan. Attention is directed to each part of the body, promoting relaxation and release of tension.

Awareness of Breath:

  • Conscious awareness is maintained on the breath, allowing for a sense of inner stillness. This aids in calming the nervous system and quieting the mind.

Sankalpa (Intention Setting):

  • A Sankalpa, or positive affirmation, is often introduced during the practice. This serves as a seed planted in the subconscious mind, promoting positive change.

10. Ayurvedic Teas and Decoctions

A. Chamomile and Lavender Infusion

Calming herbs like chamomile and lavender can be brewed into a soothing bedtime tea.

B. Ashwagandha Tea for Calmness

A warm cup of Ashwagandha tea before bedtime promotes relaxation.

C. Triphala Decoction for Detoxification

Triphala, a blend of three herbs, aids in detoxification, supporting overall health.


Ayurveda offers personalized approaches, making it adaptable for various individuals. Consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner ensures a tailored approach.

    • Results vary, but consistent practice of Ayurvedic recommendations can lead to noticeable improvements in sleep quality over time.
    • Ayurveda suggests avoiding stimulating foods and embracing a Sattvic diet for improved sleep.
    • Yes, Ayurvedic practices can complement other treatments. It’s advisable to consult healthcare providers for a comprehensive approach.
    • Ayurvedic herbs can be adapted for children, but consulting with a pediatric Ayurvedic practitioner is recommended.

Uniqueness of our therapies  

At Arogya Mandir – Shri Siddhanath Ayurvedic Hospital, Miraj, we delve deeply into the ayurvedic examination of each patient. Utilizing noninvasive Ayurvedic diagnostic tools such as Ashtavidha Parikshan and Nadi Parikshan, we precisely determine the pathogenesis of the disease and then prescribe therapies tailored to the specific condition. This approach leads to expedited results.

Our therapies boast the following distinctive features:
– Tranquil and hygienic therapy rooms staffed with trained therapists in a positive environment.
– Selection of appropriate massage oil based on the patient’s Prakruti and the condition of the disease.
– Complimentary Prakruti and Dhatu Sarata examinations before the commencement of therapies.
– Authenticated procedures for each therapy.
– Judicious use of herbal medicines and instruments during the therapy sessions.
– Specialized rooms equipped with all facilities for inpatient care.

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