Insomnia: insomnia causes, insomnia treatment, home remedies for insomnia

Insomnia: insomnia causes, insomnia treatment, home remedies for insomnia

List Of Articles >> Insomnia (Anidra)

Written and Reviewed By :
Dr. Suma Jambli, MD Kayachikitsa,
Assistant Professor (Roga Nidana Dept),
Sanjeevini Ayurveda Medical College and Hospital,
Hubli, Karnataka, India.


Ayurveda essentially sees every disease as a psychosomatic manifestation and views the Mind and Body as two aspects of one unit. The three Stambha of Ayurveda are Vata, Pitta and Kapha which control all vital functions of the body, to support these Tristambha there are three Upastambha namely Ahara, Nidra and Brahmacharya which increases the strength of Tristambhas.

According charakacharya sukha, dukha, pusti, karsya, bala, abala, vrishata, klibata, gynam, janana and marana all these depends on nidra. In context to the relation between body and mind, Ayurveda emphasizes mind and body achieve proper relaxation through nidra. The man in this techno world is trying to get overcome such harmonious features by elaborating his mental dimensions.

Sleep appears necessary for our nervous system to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate on the next day. Sleep is influenced by the circadian cycle or biological cycle. It has been observed that.

  • Persons sleeping for 7-9 hrs per day have significantly lower rates of illness.

  • There is a decrease in the metabolic rate during night sleep and [5-25%] energy is conserved.

  • Neuronal activity is high during REM sleep.

  • the brain uses higher oxygen during REM sleep compared to awake.

  • Sleep serves a restorative function for the whole body [NREM] and brain [REM] sleep i.e. cognitive function.

  • Muscles are relaxed.

  • The high percentage of REM sleep in infants and children is thought to be important for the maturation of the brain.

  • An infant has an overall greater total sleep time than any other age group, In deep sleep, there is a release of Growth Hormone, many of the body cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins as they are building blocks for cell growth and repair of damage.

  • That's why Ayurveda stresses sleep and described it as one among the primary tripod of life. However, man is mentally disturbed - this ultimately disturbs the psycho-neuro-biological rhythm of sleep, which is broadly discussed under sleep disorders. Words such as Anidra, Nidranasha, Alpanidraand Asvapna are used for sleeplessness in Ayurvedic literature and modern it is termed as Insomnia. Charaka included the Anidra in 80 Nanatmaja Vata Vyadi and one among the Adharaneeya vega. Studies have shown that the risk of Strokes, Hypertension, Arteriosclerosis, Obesity, Diabetics, and Depression are much higher in patients suffering from Insomnia.

    A new study showed that men who underwent a period of sleep deprivation at least for 6 months had an impaired insulin response leading to diabetes. This confirms that lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on insulin sensitivity.

    Some people suffer from Sunday night Insomnia, on Sunday evening people start anticipating the week ahead and thinking about how to perform at work in next day. This can lead to anxiety and sleep difficulties.

    Manu smriti Explains, the Surya (Sun) divides the Ahoratra (whole day of human beings and God) into two different parts. Out of which the Ratri (night) is reserved for the Nidra(sleep) and the day period is for doing Karma (work). This quote highlights the basic theory of Nidra (sleep) which can be correlated biological clock. Decreased light exposure stimulates the pineal gland to produce a hormone named melatonin which is secreted into the bloodstream. This hormone of darkness causes drowsiness and a drop in body temperature which lets us know that time to sleep. Amounts of melatonin peak around the middle of the night and then start to drop and Sunlight again resets our circadian rhythm. The prime factor in the causation of Nidranasha is Vata Pitta and Rajo guna, the Mana is provoked by these factors and they keep it engaged in its activities to prevent one from falling asleep. Erratic lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise could contribute to developing Insomnia. According to Acharya Charaka following are some symptoms which appear due to nidra vegdharana (suppression of urge) of sleep.[ 7/23 ].

  • Jrumbha (Yawing).

  • Angamarda (Bodychae).

  • Tandra (Drowsiness).

  • Shiroroga (Disorders related to head).

  • Akshigaurva (Heaviness in eyes).

  • Treatment

    The role of Yuktivyapashraya and Satwavajaya needs to be understood in the context of Nidranasha which are almost similar to modern medicine as psychotherapy[counscelling] and pharmacotherapy to induce sleep.

    Yuktivyapashraya chitiksa- Abhyanga (doing massage), utsadana (applying the medicated powder over the body), snana(bath), consuming diet like mamsarasa (soup) of the animals from the jaliya (aquatic), anupa(hydrotic), gramya (wild) etc. These are some measures for chikitsa of nidranasha.

    The diet like Sali (old rice) with curd, consuming milk, ghee, alcohol, hearing the word which gives pleasure to the mind. Doing certain measures as like savahana (pressing the body), akshi tarpana (application of the medicated drops in the eyes), siro lepa (application of the medicated paste over the head), vadana lepa (application of the medicated paste over the face) and to take the sleep on the well prepared and clean bed. Along with this sleeping at the time, to which the person get habituated to it. [ cha.chi 21/52-54] .

    According to susruta Abhyanga (anointing the body), siroabhyanga (massaging or rubbing the oil on the head) and Shirodhara. Shirodhara has a profound impact on the nervous system, which means the treatment directly and immediately calms, relaxes and has a cleansing effect on the mind and nerves and also relieves tension, stress, fatigue, worry fear and headache. It regulates the mood and gives a feeling of pleasure and relaxation. According to modern stress or anxiety is the main cause of Insomnia, and in the condition of Anidra (insomnia) the main vitiated dosha is Vata, so the balance of Vata Dosha and increment of Kapha Dosha enhances the Tama, which counteracts the Raja Dosha.

    Internally Saraswata churna, Ashwagandha rista, Chintamani chaturmukha rasa, Nidrodaya vati, Vatakulantaka rasa, Sarpagandha vati, Indumarichadi vati, Swarna makshika bhasma, Mukta bhasma, Yashada bhasma. Drakshasavam Ghrita bharjita nagara, Shri khandadi churna.

    Acharya sushruta says.

    'manasanam tu shabdadi ishto varga: sukhavaha:'means chikitsa for manasika rogas are getting ishta[favorable] things through shabda, sparsha, roopa, rasa, gandha.[ 1/35].

    So in Nidranasha some of the manasika upacharas is also done. Diet consisting of the cakes made up of sali rice and wheat prepared with sugar or other derivatives of the sugar cane or soothing articles with milk or meat juice, the flesh of animals of biskira or vilesaya, eating grapes, sugar or sugar cane at night, are some beneficial measures for the nidranasha. Along with these, the soft and pleasant bed and easy convenient seat and means of locomotion are also said to be useful in the treatment of nidranasha.


    In context to the relation between body and mind, Ayurveda emphasizes that both shareera and satwa interact with one another in all spheres of life. So Ayurvedic approach to the Disease is psychosomatic and ANIDRA is one among them. The treatment Mentioned above shows encouraging results with sleep factors. Ayurveda can be a promising alternative in Insomnia.

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