In Ayurveda, Yoga’s sister science of wellbeing from ancient India, proper sleep is considered one of the three Upastambhas (pillars) of health - with the other two being proper food and balanced sexuality.
Natural sleep at night is called Bhutadhatri, a Sanskrit term derived of the words Bhuta, meaning the physical body, and Dhatri, which means mother. In other words, sleep nourishes the body just as a mother nurtures her baby.
Charaka Samhita, one of the core Ayurvedic texts, outlines several other benefits of sound sleep. According to Chapter 21, Verses 36-38 of Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana, sleep imbues us with happiness, strength, physical prowess, fertility, knowledge, and life itself. Healthy digestion, psychological, neurological, and physiological functioning all depend on proper sleep.
3 Practical Insomnia Solutions from Ayurveda
Ever since learning Ayurveda, which I truly believe is a divine science, I have transformed my night owl tendencies. I now strive to wake up at 4am each morning – the same time I had once gone to sleep in what now feels like my past life in New York City.
These three amazing solutions to insomnia have worked wonders for me, and I am thus delighted to share with you:
1. Go to sleep by 10pm and wake up by 6am.
In Ayurveda psychology, we learn about certain gunas, or qualities, that pervade the entire universe outside, as well as within.
One of these gunas is called Tamas – it is essentially the quality of inertia, which is absolutely necessary to sleep at night. Tamas is present at night between 6-10pm, making between 8:30-10pm the ideal time period to go to sleep, if possible. The Tamas quality is also present between 6-10am, which is why it is so hard to wake up during this time of the morning.
Too much Tamas in the mind and body, which excess and untimely sleep can cause, also contributes to depression and other psychological problems over time.
Those of us seeking true health and happiness would be wise to wake up between 4-6am, as this time is ruled by the quality of Sattva, which is synonymous with mental peace, clarity, balance, and universal love. Beyond the myriad mental health benefits of waking up during the Sattva-charged time of day, doing so is also easiest, as the Sattva quality wakes us up naturally.
2. Avoid stimulating activities and conversations for at least 2-3 hours prior to bed.
One of the main causes of insomnia is mental stress – this is why we want to avoid the causes of stress to ensure quality sleep. Therefore, turn off the TV, computer, and loud music before bed. Resort, instead, to more relaxing activities, like a gentle walk, meditation, prayer, journaling, or listening to soothing music.
Your mind, body, and sleep will all appreciate you for this, and your capacity to take on the stresses of modern work and life will increase overall, due to your ability to sleep soundly.
3. Oil your feet, head, and ears with warm sesame oil before bed.
Oiling the soles of the feet, the top of the head, and the backs of the ears promotes sound sleep, and even counteracts the aging process. It also helps combat stress.
Following Ayurveda’s sleep recommendations has greatly transformed the quality of sleep I now experience. Try these timeless solutions to insomnia and you, too, will start to sleep like a baby, thanks to Ayurveda.