An Ayurvedic Guide to Sleep Disorders With Herbal Remedies!
Just like any man made machinery needs some rest in between to work properly, so is the case with a human body. While we are continually burning calories and performing various activities like cooking food, walking to our workplace, travelling to some destinations or simply doing some household work, we also need some rest so that the body can recharge its energy levels. This can be done in various ways like sitting ideally for some time or listening to your favorite songs or the best way possible is to get some sleep. The best sleep that is recommended to adults is for 8 hours per day. Any changes in the sleep timings more than or less than 8 hours is not a healthy sign, unless you are indulging in some activities that have been demanding more time recently. For example, if a student is staying late till wee hours, he/she might not be able to sleep for 8 hours per day for a few weeks, but that is not considered a warning sign. But, the problem lies where people have plenty of time to have a sound sleep, but they are busy in their unimportant tasks like watching social media sites, playing video games, chatting with friends late at night causing a lot of problems as they are not having adequate sleep. So, the question arises why is it necessary to have a sleep.
One might think that people with sleep disorders like insomnia (where an individual finds it difficult to fall asleep) also live, and perform their daily routine activities without much difficulty. The answer to this question is that the energy stores are recharged while one sleeps. You might not feel energetic, if you didn’t have a good sound sleep and you might not be able to be as efficient as the individual who is getting sound sleep. The molecule that is used for short term storage and transport of energy, ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), is restored by the brain during sleep, and the brain uses 20 percent of the body’s energy while we are awake. Growth hormone, one of the important hormones responsible for the overall growth is also secreted in bursts during sleep. Sometimes, the pattern of a person’s sleep is to be studied, the process is called Polysomnography which is performed in a specialized sleep laboratory.
General Physiology Of Sleep
If we have to see the physiological changes occurring during sleep, then we need to take the role of the brain into consideration. While we are awake it is the brain which controls our actions, be it walking, jumping, driving vehicles, dancing or reacting to any stimulus in the environment. It is our brain itself, which sends signals to the different parts of the body which further enables the body to react to a particular stimulus. So, the physiological changes in the brain are very remarkable, as it restores the supply of ATP which is a molecule that is used for short storage and transport of energy. Another change that happens while sleeping is release of Prolactin hormone which is responsible for breast development and milk production in mammals, that is why it is suggested in pregnant women to have a sleep in daytime also.
Types Of Sleep
There are mainly two types of sleep
- Non REM Sleep (non-rapid eye movement sleep): It is the first phase of sleep, and during this phase the heart rate and temperature falls considerably and the brain uses less energy.
- REM Sleep (rapid eye movement sleep): It is also known as paradoxical sleep. Dreams and nightmares occur in this very phase of sleep.
As per medical science the average and recommended time for an ideal sleep is 8 hours. Anything less or more than this prescribed time may lead to cardiovascular diseases, obesity and mental illness.
There are various types of sleep disorders, out of which the following are the most common.
- Sleep Apnea
- Restless Legs Syndrome
In this sleep disorder, an individual finds it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can be further divided into 2 main types. First is acute (short term) insomnia and second is chronic (long term) insomnia. Short term or acute insomnia can be there because of some recent change in the life of a patient, like death of some relative, change in location, job stress/job loss, or environmental factors like noise, extreme temperature etc. Whereas, chronic or long term insomnia can be caused by stress, physical ailment that aggravates at night etc.
2. Sleep Apnea
It is a sleep disorder that includes interruption of the breathing of a patient while he/she is sleeping. This sleep disorder can be divided into 2 main types. Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, one has to gasp for air while sleeping followed by daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Snoring is a common symptom. In central sleep apnea also there is gasping for air, but awakening during night is more common.
3. Restless Legs Syndrome
It is a kind of sleep disorder that doesn’t let the patient fall asleep as while in bed, there is an irresistible urge to move the legs. It might be because of some association with daytime sleepiness and irritability.
In this sleep disorder one can not control his urge to sleep during daytime and falls asleep with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Herbs For Healthy Sleep
It is known by its latin name Bacopa monnieri. It helps in maintaining a good and sound sleep. It helps to maintain a healthy mind, memory and intellect. Not only sleep, but Brahmi also helps in attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), irritable bowel syndrome, and hair growth.
The Latin name for the Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. It is a general well being herb, which has a tremendous effect on the central nervous system. It also nourishes tissues and strengthens them to fight infection and calm down anxiety by lowering the stress and hence very useful in acute (short term) insomnia.
The Latin name for Shankhpushpi is Convolvulus pluricaulis. It is used in Ayurveda as an enhancer of brain functioning. It is also very useful in reducing the level of the stress hormone that is cortisol, therefore providing a sweet and peaceful sleep which one desires the most.
Lifestyle changes to have a Better Sleep
- As we reach offices, schools, churches on time. Same should be applied with our sleeping time. We must stick to a fixed and earliest time possible to go to bed leaving behind our gadgets to avoid distraction.
- Tea and coffee or alcoholic drinks with stimulants should not be consumed after 6 pm in the evening, because doing so will keep mind overactive and it will become difficult to fall asleep.
- We should include daily and regular exercise in our regime. It will help in better circulation and sleep.
- Avoid using mobile/tablets or any other source of blue light 30 minutes prior to the bedtime.
- Use the best and the appropriate bed and bedding according to your fit, so that you should not be wandering in your bed the whole night for a soft corner.
- Keep a gap of 2 hours between dinner and bedtime, as it will not cause regurgitation of food while sleeping.
To lead a productive and healthy life, one has to have a healthy body. And to have a healthy body it is required to have a calm and healthy mind which is only possible if we are getting good quality and not just quantity of sleep. For those who are in search of some unanswered questions regarding their sleep disorders, Planet Ayurveda is an answer, where you will get consultation from experts holding years of experience. The Ayurvedic natural health care system is spread worldwide because ayurvedic treatments are very helpful for each and every disease. For more details of our products, you can check our website www.planetayurveda.com. For more queries, you can send your queries to our email id email@example.com.