Ask the Ayurvedic Expert: Sleep


Sleep

Question:
I'd like tips for better sleep during the winter months.

Answer:
Poor sleep is common during the winter. The cold, windy weather increases Vata which regulates the nervous system. If there is too much Vata, the mind and body may not calm down at bedtime.

Diet and lifestyle tips:

  • It is easier to fall asleep if you retire early — during the Kapha hours of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • A daily ayurvedic oil massage (abhyanga) is very soothing for Vata.
  • Add poppy seeds to your diet.
  • Favor peaceful, calming activities before bed.
  • Organic Vata Tea in warm milk has a calming effect. Or try the Slumber Time Tea.
  • Both the Blissful Sleep herbal supplement and the Worry Free herbal supplement nourish Prana Vata, which regulates mental activity.

Waking Up Early

Question:
I have no trouble falling asleep, but I wake up every morning around 3:00 a.m. and can't fall back asleep. I'm too tired to begin the day so early. I've already tried a number of ayurvedic tips, including going to bed by 10 p.m., hot milk, oil massage, Gandharva music and aromatherapy. What do you advise?

Answer:
Waking up at 3:00 to 4:00 a.m. is a typical symptom of emotional stress. The person can't fall back to sleep until after sunrise, when the heavier Kapha time of day begins.

This type of insomnia is usually related to a Pitta imbalance rather than Vata. Try making the following adjustments in your routine:

Diet and lifestyle tips:

  • Instead of hot milk before bed, take warm milk and blend it with a few dates and some banana. This will increase your Kapha before bed and help you stay asleep.
  • Take Worry Free herbal tablets morning and evening, and take a Blissful Joy tablet around 6:00 p.m.
  • Your oil massage (abhyanga) should be in the morning. Doing an oil massage before bed could increase Pitta.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.