How to Manage Vata Type Insomnia

November 30, 2014

Vata dosha is to blame for the type of insomnia that results from waking up in the wee hours of the morning, specifically from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00. a.m. Makes sense, since these are morning Vata times.

Vata dosha is responsible for all movement in the body, including the nervous system and elimination. It’s called the king of the doshas because without Vata, nothing would move and we would die.

Anxiety and fear are signs of unbalanced Vata. So when 2:00 a.m. hits, it makes perfect sense that some of us bolt awake with hearts racing and fearful dreams.

How to Manage Vata Type Insomnia

Here are some tried and true strategies that have worked for me

Before bed

  •  Turn off all electronics (phone, TV, computer) by 8:00 p.m. (ideally!)
    Vata-types are especially sensitive to the energies emitted from these devices.
  • Give yourself a warm oil abhyanga massage before bed with an herbal Vata oil.  
    At the very least, oil your feet, belly, and ears.
  • A glass of warm milk with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
    Add a little ghee if you’d like. Can help you drift into la la land.
  • Aim for a bedtime of 9:30-10:00 p.m.
    Once Pitta hours hit (10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.) and the body begins its repair work,
    it will become harder to fall asleep, especially if Vata anxiety is high.
  • Adaptogenic Ayurvedic herbs such as tulsi and ashwagandha help to give you
    energy during the day and promote restful sleep at the same time.

 If you wake up during the hours of 2 am -6:00 am

  • Sit up in bed and meditate.
    This ALWAYS works for me and 99% of the time I end up falling back into a deliciously deep sleep.
  • If you don’t have a meditation practice (you should!) just do some relaxed deep breathing.
    Focusing on your breath can help you drift back to sleep.

    Avoid looking at your phone or computer for comfort! This will only make it worse.

A good night’s sleep requires a lot of energy. There’s a great deal of healing that goes on in the body during the night. We tend to think that we have too much energy and can’t fall asleep because of it (we’re wired) but in fact, it’s because we’re depleted of energy. And Vata is the dosha of depletion so Vata-types tend to suffer more from this type of insomnia.

There is nothing worse than not getting a good night’s sleep. And a chronic cycle of insomnia leads to all kinds of imbalances in the body. When I had fibromyalgia, I was desperate for a good night’s sleep and my lack of sleep only exacerbated the condition. It was only when I got a handle on my insomnia that I began to heal.

Much love,

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  1. Wonderful information, Barbara! For me, too, meditation has been the key to overcoming the “waking up in the middle of the night”, anxiety-based insomnia!

  2. Oh Barbara, Once again, you come through for me with your Ayurveda tips! As a Vata-Pitta, I can’t begin to describe how much I have been helped by your wise counsel. Thank you!

  3. Hello, Am vata- pitta. Been suffering from insomnia for 5yrs now. Need help, need sleep. Have tried everything.

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