Sleep is the most important part of our lives, without it surviving would be hard. Sleep heals our body, mind and soul. A disorder that causes sleep deprivation due to factors such as stress, anxiety and depression, irregular sleep schedule and poor sleeping habits is known as insomnia.
In Insomnia, an individual faces problems with falling asleep, remaining asleep or does not get enough restful slumber.
In Ayurveda, there are three pillars of living a healthy life which are a balanced Doshas, regular exercise and sufficient sound sleep.
Let us first see how many types of insomnia are there.
Insomnia can either be short-term or long-term, commonly known as acute insomnia or chronic insomnia, respectively.
Acute Insomnia: It may last for a few days or even weeks. This type of insomnia is often triggered by stress.
Chronic insomnia: A type of insomnia in which sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or more than that.
Insomnia is known as Anidra or Nidranasha in Ayurveda. It is caused by a specific imbalance in the three Doshas or aggravation in any one of them:
Tarpaka Kapha (Kapha Dosha): The Kapha Dosha nourishes cells of the brain which result in a restful sleep. When Kapha is imbalanced the cells would go unnourished causing insomnia. A Kapha insomniac might wake up too early in the morning (around 6 am) and feel sluggish even after a full night’s sleep.
Prana Vayu (Vata Dosha): Vata Dosha is linked to depression, anxiety and worrying. It creates a sensitive nervous system; as a result of such mixed mental issues insomnia occurs. A Vata insomniac usually experiences restless nights with tossing and turning.
Sadhaka Pitta (Pitta Dosha): Pitta Dosha is found in the heart controlling our emotions, decisiveness, spirituality and desires. In this Dosha, an imbalance disrupts resting functions of the body and causes insomnia. Pitta insomniacs are usually irritated. They might have disturbing dreams about fighting, in case they do not get any sleep. Pitta insomnia can also be related to acid reflux.
Sugarcane, known as Ikshu in Ayurveda naturally has a sweet taste called Madhura Rasa. It is considered to be a magical tonic for sleep problem of insomnia. Sugarcane juice has high amino acid, tryptophan which in turn forms serotonin. Serotonin is a key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. These functions of serotonin help in reducing stress to a great extent, hence it promotes sleeping peacefully. Medical studies have also found that the whitish layer of sugarcane has Octacosanol which helps in reducing stress. A research study by the Japanese Sleep Institute revealed that sugarcane contains natural ingredients that can effectively reduce stress and help in inducing sleep. Consumption of sugarcane or Ikshu juice on regular basis rules out the possibility of taking medicines or sleeping pills for sleep disorders.
Studies have found sugarcane or Ikshu useful for curing insomnia. While more studies are being held continuously, Ayurveda promises improvement in sleep which is affected by insomnia. Some other ways to improve sleep cycle are exercising or yoga, eating at a fixed time and at regular intervals. Going early to bed and waking up early maintains the sleep cycle and nourishes the body, mind and soul.
There are several benefits of treating insomnia naturally and intaking foods like Ikshu. First and foremost, these natural foods cause no side effects. It is researched as a promising therapeutic cure for insomnia. Such foods also ensure that you have sound mental health. You can consume sugarcane as a sweetener in your daily meals, with morning green tea or before going to sleep. It will relax your mind.