Ayurveda agrees with many conventional practices for improving sleep hygiene: establish a bedtime routine; wake up and go to bed at the same time every day; avoid taking stimulants (like caffeine) or eating a large meal before bedtime; exercise vigorously earlier in the day; avoid napping and get adequate exposure to natural light.
But Ayurveda also says that one of the culprits of insomnia is excess vata. one of the three doshas, or subtle energies, that govern our bodies and minds. That’s why Ayurveda also recommends Vata-calming suggestions like these:
—Oil your body daily, especially before bed
—Soak in warm tub
—Practice breathing and relaxation more often than just before bed
—Eat a whole foods diet that emphasizes warm , cooked food with plenty of protein and ample amounts of healthy oil.
—Take herbs that calm and nourish the nervous system
Most health food stores carry natural sleep aids with nerviness—herbs that nourish the brain and nervous system, which are mildly sedating, grounding and stabilizing. Gentle and non-toxic, these herbs usually take effect after 4-6 weeks of use.
Jatamamsi (Indian valerian)
author credit: Carrie Demers on Yoga International article link