Insomnia refers to a condition where a person has difficulty going to sleep or to stay asleep even though there is adequate opportunity to do so. Many people have insomnia at some or other point in life but some tend to develop it s a constant and long term condition. Often there is any underlying cause for insomnia such as a disease or medication.

As per Ayurveda, Insomnia is called as Anidra and nidranasha. Sleep is natural rejuvenator of body and mind. Lack of adequate sleep (nidra) causes dukha (pain), karshyata (physical weakness), balahani (loss of power or generalized weakness), klaiebya (infertility), agnaayata (lack of consciousness) and even mrityu (death).

It is primarily due to vata vaigunyata (vitiation of vata dosha or imbalance in body) that Anidra (insomnia) occurs in a person.2 Diseases like Unmada and Pshchological factors like Bhaya, shoka Chinta are also responsible for loss of sleep.

Causes Of Insomnia

The cause of insomnia are multifactorial it is difficult to point out one single cause. Although, some common causes of insomnia can be:

  • Due to anxiety and/or Stress.
  • Any types of depressive disorders
  • A physical problem such as chronic pain or need for frequent urination etc
  • Change in a person’s surroundings or schedule.
  • Poor sleeping habits.
  • Some specific medications.
  • High consumption of coffee, smoking and alcohol.

Symptoms Of Insomnia

The symptoms of Insomnia, generally include the following  –

  • Having difficulty in falling asleep at night
  • Sudden awakening during the night
  • Awakening earlier than normal
  • A feeling of fatigue in-spite of sleeping all night
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Unexplained irritability
  • Problems in paying attention or focus
  • Having headaches

Generally, someone with insomnia would take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep and on average get only 6 or lesser hours of sleep for 3 or more nights in a week.

Ayurvedic Treatment For Insomnia

Vata shamak chikitsa is recommended.

Biopurificatory measures like abhyanga, shirodhara and nasya karma may be beneficial. Meditation, chanting mantras may help relax body and mind and induce sleep.

  • Internal medicine
  • Shaman chikitsa
  • Manovaha strotas chikitsa
  • Satwavajay chikitsa
  • Medhya rasayan chikitsa
  • Panchkarma
  • Shirodhara
  • Shiropichu
  • Nasya
  • Abhyangam
  • Utavartan
  • Meditation
  • Yoga and Pranayama

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

A light diet should be planned in accordance with the basic principles according to dosha and prakruti. Last meal should not occur after sunset.

Lifestyle Changes (Vihar)

Proper sleep patterns should be followed. If someone misses sleep, he/she should sleep in the day for half of the time missed but on an empty stomach.

Ayurveda further advocates Nasya (nasal administration of drugs) and Murdhni Chikitsa which includes Shiro-abhyanga (massage of head with medicated oil), Shiriseka (pouring of medicine on head), Shiropichu (placing of oil on the anterior fontanel for the particular time ) and Shirobasti for Mana(mental status) and Indriya vikaras (diseases of eye, ear, head and mental disorders).