Insomnia can cause cholinergic-aminergic imbalance, hormonal changes and abnormal activity of neo-cortical structures, which can modulate behavior and emotions. These changes also occur during the preliminary stages of depression. Practice deep breathing, meditation, massage your body with sesame oil and have a hot water shower to induce sleep.
Curejoy Expert Dipti Mothay Explains:
Sleep is a critical contributor to our health and well being. Sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health. Depression and insomnia are closely connected; difficulty in sleeping is sometimes the first symptom of depression.
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. According to studies, 15 to 20 percent of people diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression .
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia can be caused by psychiatric conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances and/or certain biological factors. There are many medical conditions like nasal/sinus allergies, gastrointestinal problems such as reflux, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease etc. that can lead to insomnia .
Relationship between Depression and Insomnia
The relationship likely works in both directions. Studies have found that the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences such as depression .
The inability to get a sufficient amount of rest can result in neurotransmitter changes (cholinergic-aminergic imbalance), circadian phase advance and hormonal changes that perpetuate the cycle of depression .
Insomnia may also lead to abnormal activity in neo-cortical structures that control executive function and are responsible for modulating behavior related to basic arousal and emotions. This activity has been associated with depression .
Ayurveda Sleep-Inducing Tips
According to Ayurveda insomnia is caused due to excess Vata. That’s why Ayurveda recommends Vata-calming suggestions like:
- Oiling your body daily, especially before bed. Use sesame oil, brahmi oil, jasmine oil or coconut oil and massage gently for a few minutes. Slightly warm the oil before applying.
- Practice breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Have a vata-pacifying dinner which includes foods that are warm, moist, and grounding. Avoid eating dry or raw foods and drinking ice-cold beverages.
- Take herbs that calm and nourish the nervous system.
Ayurveda also encourages conventional practices for improving sleep hygiene such as: establishing a bedtime routine, waking up and going to bed at the same time every day, avoiding stimulants (like caffeine) or eating a large meal before bedtime, avoiding napping close to bedtime and getting adequate exposure to natural light .
Insomnia may act as a risk factor and a manifestation for depression. The striking association between depression and insomnia in so many studies suggests that insomnia is also an early marker for the onset of depression. Hence effective treatment of insomnia can help prevent or alleviate depression.