Sleep Medicine: What Can Ayurveda Contribute to the Contemporary Health Care?
Sleep is so much important to human beings that it comprises almost 1/3 of one’s whole life span. It has a restorative, regenerative, and reparative potential, and hence any compromise to this eventually affects all these functions. Sleep disturbances are debilitating and are being linked to many diseases either as their cause or as manifestations. A global steep rise in noncommunicable diseases is also supposed to be linked with the aberrations in sleep architecture and quality. There are a number of approaches to deal with sleep disturbances including pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. Ayurveda, the ancient health-care wisdom of the Orient, gives a deep insight into clinical implications of sleep and also suggests various remedies to cope with sleep disorders. It further proposes many simple home remedies and sleep hygiene propositions which seem promising, are in folklore practice, and have indirect evidences of their effectiveness. Simple remedies like milk, head and foot massage, and shirodhara seem promising in the effective management of a variety of sleep disorders and hence require a thorough review for their possible integration with mainstream medicine. Present chapter outlines the concepts of sleep as are proposed in Ayurveda and tries to look at them in light of current evidences. Finally it proposes the translational possibilities of such propositions for their possible application in clinical practice.
KeywordsSleep Circadian rhythm Biological clock Natural clock
Kind help from Prof. M. Singaravel, Ph.D., Chronobiology Lab, Department of Zoology, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, is deeply acknowledged for reviewing the manuscript and for his valuable suggestions.
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