Exactly what percentage of the population in the contemporary world suffers from sleeplessness would be hard to state but, quite certainly, a very large number of persons are afflicted with this disease. The causes of insomnia are many – a nervous temperament, a nagging pain, uncomfortable surroundings, digestive disorders, emotional disturbance like worry or grief or other serious illness. These are all the known and established causes of insomnia. To the extent these known causes in individual patients can be removed it is fine. There are some seemingly very trivial causes leading to insomnia which are often overlooked. These are all related to diet, eating and general living habits. In practical life some of the inciting causes can be overcome though many others may be difficult to remove. But for the benefit of the readers, it would be expedient to list out some of these points of prevention. These are briefly mentioned below.
- Avoidance of vata vitiating diet for vata prakriti persons
- Avoidance of pitta vitiating diet for dominant pitta prakriti persons
- Avoidance of overwork, late night study and excessively noisy surroundings.
Obsessive worry, grief or melancholia has often somatic rather than mental causes. According to Ayurveda mental ailments result from the flow of vitiated doshas upwards towards the brain. Dietetic errors are very important factors behind vitiation of doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Thus the diet plays an important role in the pathology of mental ailments. In case of Insomnia, vitiated vata and pitta play a dominant role. Therefore if only one could keep that ‘vata’ and ‘pitta’ in check in line with his prakriti of vata or pitta, one would prevent that obstinate type of insomnia which affects apparently healthy and cheerful persons. Keeping awake till 11 p.m. or midnight and also taking late night dinner appear to have become habits with many people. These have a significant role in the etiology of insomnia. Partial insomnia or disturbed keep is a problem with great many people. If they correct their diet and time of sleep, much of their problem can be overcome. Along with it they can rid themselves of the need of sleeping pills which are habit forming and carry adverse side effects.
A few home remedies for insomnia are given below.
- Drink a cup of cow’s milk (hot) before going to bed
- If milk is not taken, then take one or two spoonfuls of honey with plain water at room temperature at bed time.
- Gently massage the soles of your feet with mustard oil or almond oil before going to sleep.