Nourish - 3 Ayurvedic Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Using Ghee
Hello and welcome to today’s blog post on 3 Ayurvedic Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Using Ghee.
If Ayurvedic medicine is new to you, then let me explain a little. Ayurveda is a natural system of medicine that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and is considered one of the oldest systems of natural medicines.
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.”
Ayurveda is based on the idea that disease is caused by an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness. With that in mind, Ayurveda encourages certain natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind and spirit.
One of its core principles is that health stems from balance. We’re all made up of three elements, or doshas:
Pitta – the heat of fire.
Vata – the motion of wind and air.
Kapha – the solidity of earth and water.
Naturally, everyone has a unique combination of these three doshas and they determine a multitude of things about us. I encourage you to try taking an online quiz to learn more about yourself.
What has this got to do with sleep, you may ask.
Well, when one of our elements goes out of balance, we notice a whole range of ailments within our bodies. For example, when we have excess Vata, in Ayurveda, this is linked to sleep problems. Too much wind energy and motion causes an imbalance in the system, often caused by stress. Our minds may have become hyperactive with too many thoughts making it impossible to relax.
Naturally, the obvious solution to this problem is to relieve the stress, but we all know that’s easier said than done!
In order to balance ourselves out, we need to do things that are grounding, calming and overall nourishing to the body and mind.
That’s where this blog post comes in! Here are..
3 Ayurvedic Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Using Ghee
No. 1 – Massage Your Feet with Ghee
This little foot massage before bed is a little nugget of wisdom commonly used in Ayurveda to help set you up for a restful sleep. Ghee holds a special place in Ayurveda. In fact, it’s so much so that there are even several Ayurvedic texts that devote entire chapters to it and its therapeutic uses. You can learn more about Ghee here in my blog:
Ghee is a healthy fat commonly used in place of butter, but it is also a marvellous external treatment too. Indeed, in Ayurveda, ghee is traditionally massaged onto the feet to help promote deep sleep and clear excess mental chatter from the mind. This chatter is often what’s causing our sleep to be interrupted in the first place. Ghee is used to help ground the body and pull your energy downwards towards the earth.
How to do it:
Use about 1 tablespoon of ghee and massage this into the soles of your feet just before you go to bed. Take your time and use slow gentle strokes to bring warmth and circulation to every toe.
Once you’re done, cover your feet with some thick socks to keep your feet warm and protect your sheets from getting all oily and leave them on overnight.
In the winter, up your game by preparing a hot water bottle and placing it beneath your feet in bed.
(Do not do this if you’re pregnant – it’s advised in Ayurveda to keep the energy in the pelvic region).
No. 2 – Make a Ghee Infused Sleep Tonic
Another Ayurvedic practice using ghee that is surprisingly effective for preparing the body for bedtime is making a sleep tonic. And no, I don’t mean a hot toddy. I mean a ghee infused spicey milk beverage.
Why Drink a Sleep Tonic?
If stress is the reason behind your sleepless nights, it is likely that you also have blood sugar control issues. During the day, your stress response may be anxiety, anger or even hanger. During the night that same stress response may look like inability to fall asleep. Or perhaps you can fall asleep but wake up in the middle of the night. This is accompanied by anxiety, racing thoughts, rapid heart rate etc. In this case, you’re probably in a state of blood sugar dysregulation.
How we manage our blood sugar during the day has a direct impact on how well we sleep. That’s why it’s so important to eat a well balanced diet, exercise and so on.
A sleep tonic is an excellent way to help stablise your blood sugar levels pre-sleep. Before you hit the hay, try making a sleep tonic to help balance your blood sugars and calm your nerves.
Why Add Ghee?
Not only will the ghee help to balance the excessive vata and encourage sleep, but it will also be grounding. Furthmore, adding ghee helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable overnight while also adding flavour, texture, and creaminess. It’s also healing to the gut, which helps decrease systemic inflammation.
Why Add Spice?
Spices are another important aspect of Ayurveda.
- Nutmeg is warm, sweet and comforting and acts as another natural sleep aid.
- Cinnamon is also considered a warming spice in ayurvedic medicine and helps to soothe vata exacerbation. Furthermore, cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar and ease anxiety.
- Cardamon is another popular herb of choice, as is vanilla. But on the whole, the combination of warm milk and spices will relax you and put you right to sleep.
You could also use a caffeine-free chai blend in place if that’s easier. I love Yogi Classic Indian Spice.
Another important note is temperature. In Ayurveda, cold milk is a no-no, but warm milk on the other hand is considered healing and soothing. Dairy is very important in Ayurvedic medicine, and when talking sleep, dairy milk is highly praised because it contains L-tryptophan. This is an amino acid that’s a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, which are both know to induce sleep.
Ghee Infused Sleep Tonic
- 1 cup dairy/coconut/rice/oat/almond milk
- ¼- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch cardamom
- Or caffeine-free chai
- 1-2 tsp. Ghee
- 1 tsp. honey to taste
- Optional: Collagen (the protein helps with blood sugar balancing)
Add your ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer on the stove for a few minutes. Personally I like to blend it in a blender to make it frothy, or I use a milk foaming wand.
Sip your sleepy tonic 30 minutes to an hour before bed and allow yourself to wind down. You’ll feel grounded, calm, and ready to sleep.
No. 3 – Give Yourself a Facial Before Bed
One final tip for an Ayurdevic approach to unblocking the mind and laying the path for restful sleep is a facial. Of course you don’t need to do this every day. Try it out a couple of times a week, and for the rest of the days just do step 3.
Here’s how to do one at home:
Step One: Steam
Herbal Facial Steam:
To a bowl or pot of hot water, add a 2-3 drops of lavender, rose or jasmine essential oil.
Then hold your face over the pot and drape a towel over your head. Close your eyes and beathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for at least 5 minutes.
Step Two: Vata Face Mask
- 1 tbsp. chickpea flour
- a pinch of turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup rose water or yogurt
- Mix together the ingredients to make a paste.
- Apply to the face and leave on for 10–15 minutes, or just before it dries.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
- Massage ghee (or sesame seed oil) into your skin.
Step Three: Massage Your Temples and Scalp With Ghee
In Ayurveda, ghee is very popular for self-massage. As we covered in my blog What’s the Scoop on: Ghee and How to Use it, ghee is very nourishing, hydrating, rejuvenative, balancing and calming to the body. Alongside these benefits, the actual act of massage is also marvellous at helping you to relax. Making slow and mindful circular movements on your temples and scalp is a lovely way to bring your attention to the now and decrease the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, it actually helps to increase the feel food hormone serotonin which is linked to stress relief, reduced anxiety and what do you know, improved sleep!
The practice of massaging your temples and scalp is very grounding and supports downward moving energy and helps to soothe the mind.
As with your feet, don’t forget to put a towel under your pillow if you massage your scalp. Having to wash your pillow from the oil is noones idea of relaxing!
And that’s it for 3 Ayurvedic Tips on How to Improve Your Sleep Using Ghee.
I hope that these 3 practices when combined with a healthy sleep routine can work wonders. If you struggle with sleep, check out my blog post here for some more tips on how to get your zzz’s.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.