The Deadly Effects of Chronic Insomnia from Dr. John Douillard
When the body is chronically denied sleep, stress hormones, like cortisol, steadily rise. We evolved to boost stress when being chased by a lion, tiger, or bear, which hopefully ended quickly when one found safety.
Today’s stress levels are 24/7, with little end in sight for many folks. Such chronic stress has a direct impact on sleep. According to a 2001 scientific poll, 38% of Americans received a solid 8 hours of sleep. In 2009, that number was reduced to just 28%.
Sleep is so important for good health that one landmark study linked getting 7-8 hours of regular sleep each night to a reduction in mortality from all causes.
What’s worse is that people suffering from chronic insomnia were also shown to be at risk for numerous health disorders such as:
Anxiety and depression
Impaired cognitive function
Impaired insulin action
Impaired glucose control
Increased body mass index
Elevated C-reactive protein
Elevated cortisol levels
Elevated blood pressure
Ayurveda’s Super Sleep Recipe
Drinking hot milk before bed has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for benefits that reached well beyond sleep. Albeit much different from today’s chronic stress levels, stress was still a health issue even back then.
According to Ayurveda, chronic or excessive stress would deplete a precious substance in the body called ojas. Ojas is said to be the physiological expression of consciousness, in charge of immunity, reproduction, beauty, and the overall health and wellbeing of the individual.
Ojas takes 30 days to be manufactured in the body, and is the result of numerous enzymatic actions that start with the digesting of food into the body’s lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve and reproductive tissues. Once these tissues are successfully made and deemed healthy by the body, the final product, or essence, of all these tissues—ojas—is produced.
When ojas is depleted, either from stress, lack of sleep, bad food, poor digestion, excessive activity or inactivity, the body breaks down fast. Folks with depleted ojas are exhausted, can’t sleep, have no sexual desire, have dry wrinkled skin, stiff joints and accelerated aging, and are pre-disposed to disease.
In Ayurveda, there are certain foods and herbs that are specific to building ojas, and it all starts with milk. Now, I realize milk is a controversial issue, but nonetheless, it has well-documented properties to mitigate numerous stress markers, support sleep, and build what Ayurveda calls ojas.
The major problem with today’s milk is that it is very difficult to digest. Here’s why:
Added hormones, chemicals and antibiotics
The wrong type of pasteurization
Most healthy grocery stores sell non-homogenized, vat pasteurized, chemical-, antibiotic-, and hormone-free milk. While raw milk may be the best, vat pasteurization is a slow and safe heating process of the milk at lower temperatures (135 degrees for 20 minutes) that doesn’t damage the milk proteins.
Many folks who consider themselves lactose intolerant can enjoy milk once again if the milk is not commercially processed and the digestion is strong.
Read more about healthy milk in my article called, Stop Eating Dairy Until You Read This Report.
Enhance the Benefits of Milk with Ojas-Building Foods and Herbs
To boost ojas and gain the predicted benefits of sleep, ojas-producing foods and herbs were cooked into the milk before bed. This is about as yummy of a drink as you will ever have:
1. Add small amounts of these to one cup of milk as you slowly bring it to a boil:
Chopped dates (1 tbsp)Dates and Walnuts
Chopped almonds (2 tsp)
Coconut meat or flakes (1 tbsp)
Saffron (1/2 tsp)
Ghee (1-2 tsp)
Cardamom (1/8 tsp)
2. Add Ojas building herbs to the milk (1/8 tsp or one 500mg capsule of each):
Shatavari (Strength of 100 Husbands, sometimes spelled Shatawari)
Ashwagandha (Strength of Ten Horses, sometimes spelled Ashwaganda)
3. Once the milk, herbs, and ojas-building foods and spices are cooked and off the flame, add 1 tsp of ojas-building raw honey.
Drink one cup of the ojas-building hot milk each night for 3 months to rebuild ojas levels and support sleep patterns.
Don’t drink milk? You may substitute a non-dairy milk such as rice or almond, warmed and with the ojas-building foods and herbs cooked in. Though you won’t get the benefits of the milk peptides, you’ll have a vehicle for the ojas-building foods and herbs, and some calming benefits from the warmth of the milk.
For best results, both men and women may consider supplementing with Shatavari and Ashwagandha (500mg of each 3x/day for 3 months).