Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion Made Easy

Symptoms | Mind Stress Sleep | Sleep Patterns | Insomnia
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Written by John Immel, Asheville, NC
Insomnia is generally associated with dry Vata constitution. When fluids are depleted, the heart, which houses the mind in Chinese Medicine, becomes deficient and beats rapidly. It can no longer ground the mind and thus the mind "wanders homeless at night".

Among the many reasons people report insomnia include racing thoughts, waking up to go to the bathroom, depleted electrolytes, digestive disturbance, and pain. Are there any physical sensations accompanying night time restlessness? The location and nature of these physical sensations will tell you which organs are disturbing your slumber.

Trying to fall asleep makes your nervous system hypersensitive to stimuli. Praying for others can help redirect your mind towards others, which calms the psyche. Repetitive type prayer also helps relax the mind. Avoid empty bowl meditation or other practices which lift your attention to the mind.

When you have insomnia, stay in bed. Do not watch TV, use the computer, or do other mentally stimulating or eye straining activities like reading. Keep the lights off. Gentle stretching is okay.

After a night of poor sleep, sunbathe for at least ten minutes to restore liver strength. Soothe prana vayu with aromatic herbs like cumin, coriander, and fennel tea. Massage your digestive tract and eat easy to digest foods only. Apple sauce will gently cleanse as well as strengthen your liver. Take a nap in the afternoon during kidney time (3pm-5pm).

Aggravated Doshas & Qualities

Symptoms Tell A Story

The first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms. Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances, showing you where your body is weak. Specifically, they reveal the doshas & qualities that may have become aggravated. If you notice a quality or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms, it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.

One or more of the following doshas and qualities may be aggravated.If you have a systemic imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda would generally recommend avoiding foods and lifestyle habits with that quality.

Vata aggravatingDigestive Effects Help

Key: V = Vata, P = Pitta, K = Kapha. A slash through a dosha means it an aggravated dosha. To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.

Correct Imbalance

Food and lifestyle habite with the following effects may reduce imbalances associated with 'Insomnia'.
About Pharmacological Effects
The list of actions below have not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.

Stage of Disease: 2 - Affecting Blood

If you have symptoms in this category it means that imbalance is weakening your system but hasn't yet become systemic.

ayurvedic notes

Avoid activities an hour before sleep, especially those that engage the eyes such as reading or watching TV. Try to go to be before 10pm. After 10pm our energy ramps up for nightly organ cleansing and repair activities. This 'second wind' last until 2am. If we are awake during that time, the brain steals the energy and our organs lose their chance to repair.
  • Do you have trouble falling asleep?
  • What wakes you up? heart racing, mind ruminating, restless leg, night-time urination, indigestion, noise, pets, children, etc.?
  • Do you feel too exhausted, frustrated, anxious, irritated to fall asleep?
  • When you wake up can you feel your pulse more strongly in the abdomen, chest, head or anywhere else in your body?
  • Are you in pain anywhere in the body?
  • Do you have a regular meal and bed time schedule/routine?
  • What are your stress levels?
  • Do you get cold or hot easily? Neither?
  • Do you often have indigestion, gas, or bloating at night?

You can't control when you fall asleep but you can control when you go to bed. Here are some other tips when you can't fall asleep:

  • Avoid using eyes. Make tiny, relaxing circles with the eyes to relax them.
  • Pull down butt cheeks. This brings the contact point with the mattress to the upper sacrum instead of tip of the tail-bone.
  • Pray for others redirects the focus away from your body and the concerns of the day. Also, a person needs lees sleep when focused on spiritual growth.
  • Create loving, tender thoughts for whatever wakes you up.
  • Repetitive prayers calm the mind and bring on a meditative state.
  • Exercise during the day helps.
What to do after a long night of insomnia:
  • Oil the skin (Abhyanga)
  • Sit in the sunlight for ten minutes. This helps the liver.
  • Eat easy to digest food only such as soups.
  • Include ingredients with beta-carotene such as carrots to help the liver.
  • Cilantro Juice / Amalaki
  • Establish a routine time for going to bed. Routine is required for stability.
  • Touch the toes then reach for the sky. Then gentle twisting poses in the chair to reset the circulatory system.
  • While meditation wakes up the mind, alternate nostril breathing can clear and relax the mind.
1/4tsp of salt in warm water or a magnesium supplement before bed encourages sleep. 5-10 drops of Bhringaraj Oil on the top of the head helps soothe the mind before sleep. A warm glass of milk with a 1/8tsp nutmeg, 1/4tsp Ashwagandha and 1/4tsp Dashamoola will encourage sleep. If milk is too difficult to digest, try almond milk instead.
  • Ashwagandha http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/products/Ashwagandha/88
  • Bhringaraj Oil http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/products/Bhringaraj-Oil/104
  • Dashamoola http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/products/Dashamoola/67

Educational Resources

Browse these educational resources for 'insomnia'.
Balance Your Vata Diet in a Week - eCourse
Gain deeper wisdom and insight as you balance your Vata diet in a week with this eCourse. Gracefully heal your body.

Ayurvedic Herbs & Natural Products for Insomnia

Please review these herbs & products below to determine which ones might be helpful for Insomnia.

Vata Massage Oil
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha aggravating
$24.95 $22.45
Experience the deep calm encouraged by Vata Massage Oil. Nourishing, grounding, calming herbs are infused into a sweetly warm blend of sesame and sunflower oil.

Vata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifying
Calms the nerves while rebuilding strength and stability. Energy all day long and sound sleep are benefits of ashwagandha.

Dashamoola Powder
Vata pacifyingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying
Ayurveda's classic warming, relaxing tea. Dashamula calms your mind, tones your colon, and supports your bones. Commonly used in enemas as well.

Brahmi - Gotu Kola
Vata aggravatingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifying
$8.50 $7.65
Feel calm and clear! Famous mental rejuvenative that supports healthy brain and nervous system function.

Sleep Ease
Vata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravating
A gentle get-thee-to-bed remedy. Sleep Ease is an relieving remedy for insomnia, light sleepers, and racing thoughts. Get a good night's sleep and the rest you need!

Diet for Insomnia

A diet rich in these foods & nutritional supplements may help re-balance the aggravated qualities and doshas in insomnia.
Almond MilkVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravatingApple (cooked)Vata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifying
BlueberryVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravatingCarrotVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravating
ChamomileVata aggravatingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifyingHoneyVata aggravatingPitta aggravatingKapha pacifying
Poppy SeedVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravatingPumpkinVata aggravatingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravating
RaisinsVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravatingRomaine LettuceVata aggravatingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifying
StrawberriesVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha pacifyingWhole Wheat FlourVata pacifyingPitta pacifyingKapha aggravating

About the Author

John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.

John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.

John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.

Comments & Personal Experiences

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Browse recipes and hundreds of other ingredients on this extensive educational website. Joyful Belly helps people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow, using the ancient technique of Ayurveda. Our extensive collection of online recipes, ingredients, and articles makes health easy. To get started, take the free dosha quiz to find your Ayurvedic body type.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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