It’s 9 pm. You’re lying in your bed. It’s dark in the room, but you are wide awake. No matter what you do, nothing is helping you fall asleep. You look at your phone to check the time. Only 3 minutes have gone by, even though it feels like an hour.
Let’s look at another scenario. You did everything you needed to ensure a perfect night’s sleep. You went to bed early, your room is comfortable. But, here you are 2 hours later tossing and turning. You’ve managed to wake up completely without an ounce of ability to go back to sleep. You have a long day ahead of you, and desperately want to get as much rest as possible. But it’s just not happening.
Do either of these situations sound familiar to you? Maybe they happen more often than you would like in a week.
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common condition that plagues many people in the United States and around the world. Unfortunately, the numbers are growing year after year. As of 2016, 1 out of every 3 adults doesn’t get enough sleep. The NIH recommends on average that every adult gets anywhere from 7-8 hours of continuous sleep each night. But, this just isn’t happening.
What are the leading causes of insomnia? Poor bedtime routines/sleep habits and high levels of stress.
In Ayurveda, poor sleep is correlated to high vata. Vata is the combination of ether and air—both of which have very light qualities. The inability to sleep is an increase in light quality. You need to have the heavy quality in order to sleep. So, think grounding activities. Whatever increases the heaviness in your body is going to be great for sleep. The other thing you want to look at is creating a strong routine. Having structure around certain times of the day are a great way to get your vata in line. Vata needs to be grounded down with routine and structure. Whatever you want to do at night, do the same things at the same time every night.
How to Cure Insomnia with The Best Bedtime Routine According to Ayurveda
Try incorporating these tips for better sleep. Keep in mind, it might take a few nights for your body to adjust, depending on how deep and how long insomnia has been going on. Even if you don’t have sleep issues, try these out, as a good night’s sleep is crucial to any healthy lifestyle.
Turn off all screens 1.5 hours ahead of bedtime. If you can handle it, try for 2 hours. The blue light that is emitted from any screens (including phones, TV, tablets, etc.) interrupts your deep sleep brain waves, which ultimately inhibit your sleep patterns.
Eat your dinner at least 2.5 hours prior to bedtime. You want your food to be somewhat settled before bedtime. If your body is too involved in trying to digest your food, it won’t be ready to decompress and do what it needs to do to rejuvenate you and get you ready for the next day.
Avoid over-stimulating activities. Remember, the key is to decompress and get your body ready to relax and calm down. This includes excess work, rigorous forms of exercise, etc.
Drink a warm glass of spiced milk or non-dairy milk alternative. This has a lot of earthy and grounding qualities. It is unctuous and super nourishing. Boil a cup on the stove and add in any of the following spices to help warm and soothe you: cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, or ashwagandha. Sweeten with just a touch raw honey.
Start a simple meditation routine before bed. This doesn’t have to be very long or structured. Try just sitting in a place that centers you and quiets your mind. The act of sitting on the ground and just being still and silent has a tremendously positive effect on our nervous system.
Take time to reflect and journal. Going internal allows us to end our day on a high note. Journaling is a great way to do this. Again, it doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out journaling session. Taking just a few moments in bed, reflect and show gratitude to the great things that happened that day.
Listen to natural sounds in your while you are completing your bedtime routine. Earth is very grounding to vata, so listening to music of the Earth is a great way to allow for vata to calm down.
Finally, while you are laying in bed, go into savasana or corpse pose. This is another great way to ground down and allow for sleep to take over. Allow yourself to drift into a deep sleep while lying in savasana. What sounds better? Not much I don’t think…
Enjoy your time to yourself winding down and relaxing. Your night routine plays a huge role in your overall well-being and health. Don’t underestimate this time. It is super nourishing.