Episode 023 Insomnia

Episode 023 Insomnia

Episode 023 Insomnia

Today's topic comes from a listener question and tons of conversations and observations of my fellow performers. 

We are tackling Insomnia. I would almost say that insomnia and/or lack of sleep is an epidemic. Now I know that sounds dramatic but almost everyone I know (performers and muggles) have some sort of issue with sleep. 

In Ayurveda insomnia tends to come from an imbalance in the vata or pitta dosha. Today I will explain the difference and also walk you through some useful tips on how to heal your relationship with sleep. 

So that we are all on the same page lets talk about the benefits of sleep and the dangers of sleeplessness

Benefits

  • Mood Boosting
  • Beauty Enhancing
  • Balances Hormones
  • Provide Energy
  • Adds to mental clarity 
  • Stabilizes binge eating

Dangers

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Added stress
  • Mood Swings
  • Mental Fog
  • Overeating 
  • Lethargy

Vata Dosha has light and air qualities so if you are out of balance in your vata dosha you are probably experiencing short sleep cycles. Likely you are able to fall asleep but you aren't likely to stay asleep very long. You are waking multiple times a night and often with worry or anxiety on the brain. 

When vata is out of balance it is hard for the mind to still long enough for your body to stay asleep. For vata dominant people the energy is constantly moving upward and if you are out of balance that means you are having trouble moving the energy back down to a grounded place.

Don't succumb to the fact that you just aren't a good sleeper, or that this will always be this way for you. 

Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. 

Take a look at your day and see how often you are activating your vata dosha. 

  • How often are you creating?
  • How often are you learning?
  • How often are you reading?
  • How often are you worrying?
  • Are you often cold?
  • Are you dehydrated?
  • Do you have a low appetite?

These qualities further activate vata and may be causing you sleep issues. 

Find balance in the opposite qualities. Spend less time creating, studying, and worrying. Try instead to eat warm foods, meditate to calm the mind, and keep your body warm; these practices will lower the vata dosha and bring you more into balance. 

Pitta dosha is a highly active dosha that has a ton of energy and stamina. If you are having trouble even falling asleep you are probably experiencing a pitta imbalance. 

Likely you are the one staring at the ceiling, tossing & turning, and wishing yourself to sleep. You often can't get the energy to leave your body. 

When pitta dosha is out of balance you often experience extreme amounts of energy, rapid movements, life of the party mode. For pitta dominant people the energy is constantly burning and available to you; and when you don't have an outlet to get rid of it you often find yourself wide awake at 3 am. 

Again do not succumb to the fact that you don't sleep, or only need 3 hours of sleep. 

Look at the ways in which you are over stimulating yourself, especially in the second half of your day. 

  • How much caffeine are you having? Do you actually even need it?
  • Are you working out late in your day?
  • Are you out with friends into the wee hours of the night?

Again find ways to balance yourself and get rid of excess energy.

Now I am not going to forget my kapha people. Your issue with sleep tends to lend towards sleep never being enough! If you are out of balance you are often wanting to take 2 or more naps a day. You feel sluggish and have no energy, yet you sleep like a rock the night before.

Again look at the ways which you can lighten up and bring more energetic qualities into your day. Add some bright essential oils, put your gym clothes out and ready the night before. Remember that kapha dosha is heavier and you need to fight that feeling of wanting to pull the covers up and go back to sleep. 

Now with all of that being said, and you have identified which sleep issues you are dealing with; here are my best tips on how to get better sleep:

  1. Start looking at your daily routine.

    • Write down your daily activities and identify which ones are vata, pitta, and kapha. If you are confused just ask me?
    • Take a look at the results and see how in balance your day is. 
    • See if there are opportunities for adjustments in your weekly schedule. Seeing too much pitta? Find more relaxing activities. Seeing too much vata? Find some grounding practices
  2. Begin a bedtime ritual that is non-negotiable.

    • No matter when you get home from work begin to find ways that help you wind down. Reading? Hot Shower? Yoga? Meditation?
  3. No caffeine after 2 pm

    • You have heard this before I am sure but caffeine late in your day will affect your sleep. 
    • Now I know our culture is obsessed with coffee. I get it, but if you are having sleep issues, kick the nighttime habit
  4. No phones before bed. 

    • Yes social media is fun, but rarely is there something I NEED to see right before bed. It can wait for the morning. 
    • I know it's hard because phone time can be so mindless, but your eyes concentrating on your screen signals to your brain that it is time to learn and not to sleep. 
    • Put it away 
  5. Make a sleepy time drink. 

    • This one really does help!
    • I suggest chamomile tea if you are on the road. Yogi tea has a great bed time tea.
    • If you are at home I suggest making a spiced almond or coconut milk tonic. Add some cardamom, and nutmeg to add with falling asleep. Sweeten with honey

One last thing...If you are pitta/vata or vata/pitta these practices are your life blood. You are likely always have a struggle with sleeping when you are out of balance so make your sleep ritual your #1 focus!

Having a healthy relationship with sleep is a priority. Lose the labels you have attached to your sleeping patterns and begin to heal your relationship to sleep. This might not happen overnight, but stay with it to find a better night's rest. 

I would love to hear the 1 thing you are committed to to sleeping well this year. Send me a message on Instagram and I will gift you are 30 minute sleep consultation.

Sleep well friends!

Peace

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