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Alternative and Integral Therapies

Ayurvedic Treatment of Insomnia

Using Nature's Rhythms to Get a More Restful Sleep

According to ayurveda, one of the causes of insomnia is being out of synch with the nature. In the good old days, people lived in harmony with Mother Nature and her rhythms. Darkness meant settling down to sleep; waking came automatically with the dawn - the singing of birds and the crowing of the rooster. 

But these days, we operate on a 24 hour clock. Many people work at night. Many stay awake to catch on the late night entertainment.

If we go against the laws of nature operating within us, we will have to pay the penalty.

Every day the earth passes twice through Vata, Pitta, and Kapha phases.

First Cycle 
6 A.M. to 10 A.M.= Kapha 
10 A.M. to 2 P.m. = Pitta 
2 P.m. to 6 P.m. = Vata

Second Cycle 
6 P.m. to 10 P.m. = Kapha 
10 P.m. to 2 A.M. = Pitta
2 A.M. to 6 A.M. = Vata

According to Ayurveda, it is easiest to fall asleep and the quality of rest is deeper if we go to bed in Kapha time, ie., before 10 P.M. Kapha has a natural property of heaviness, which will facilitate sleep. Many people start feeling sleepy at around 9 P.M., at the height of Kapha time. (This is particularly true of people with a Kapha body type.) Usually we fight that sleepiness, feeling that there's too much left to do. But if we went to bed early and got some deep sleep, we could do most of it much better in the morning with a fresh mind and energetic body.

Once the clock hits about 10 P.M., the Pitta cycle begins. The lively qualities of Pitta kick in, including mental alertness. Now you begin to think of all the things you need to finish. As the clock approaches midnight, we start feeling hungry. (This is typical of Pitta time.) Finally, with a full stomach we hit the bed. And then we wonder why we cannot go to sleep fast!

From about 2 A.M. to 6 A.M. it is the Vata phase. Vata is light and airy. We sleep light during the last several hours of sleep in the morning, drifting in and out between sleep, dreaming, and wakefulness. This is not the kind of sleep that will leave us refreshed in the morning.

This explains why Ayurveda puts so much emphasis on our daily routine and why it is important to be in harmony with nature to get a healthy, relaxing sleep.

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