What Does Ayurveda Say About Sleep And Dream


Sleep is one of the most important part to maintain the normal physiology which provides rest and relaxation to the body, mind and senses which gets tired and exhausted due to the wear and tear. process occurring in due course of daily schedules.


Hence So the Nidra (sleep) is said to be one of the essential component of life. In all Samhitas Ahara, Nidra and Brahmacharya are given prime importance under the name of “Trayopastambha” these are the sub pillars of life.

The strength complexion and compactness of the individual body depends on these three factors.

Acharya Sushruta says that “Nidra is a state when the sense organs of a human body disconnect themselves from their objects of grasping (Vishaya), and enters into a state of trans”.


Acharya Vagbhata says that Nidra is caused due to Tama Guna which is due to Avarana of Kapha and is composed of Tama Guna as well and generally it occurs in night.

Acharya Vagbhata quoted that When Nidra taken properly in terms of quality bestows Sukha(Pleasure), Dukha(Sadness), Pushti(Nourishment and growth), Karsya(Thinness) Bala(Strength and immunity), Vrushhata(Potency and Sexual Vigor), Kleebta(infertility or impotency), Gyanam (Knowledge and intellect), Agyanam(illiteracy) and Jeevitam(Good life span or longevity of life)

And now Dreams can be something we want to achieve in our life, sort of goals. We have often heard other say ‘he has put lot of efforts to convert his dreams into beautiful realities’.

Swapna or dreams are succession of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The purpose of dream is not fully understood though they have been a topic of scientific research. In Ayurveda there are many concepts like Tridosha, Triguna, Panchmahabhuta, Lok Purusha Saamya etc. One such concept is Swapna (dreams). Dream is present in both physiological and pathological condition of body. In physiological condition dream signifies physical costitutution (Doshaja Prakriti) and mental status. In pathological condition it denotes diseases and Arista.

What is sleep??

“Nindyate iti nidra”(Sabdakalpadrumam)

Nidra Utpatti

When Mind gets tired, when sense and motor organs get

exhausted they can‘t perceive their objects more and

these remains nothing to feed the mind for the sake of

conveying to soul, in this status sleep occurs.

Types of Nidra

According to Charaka

  1. Tamobhava
  2. Shleshmosamudbhava
  3. Manashramasambhava
  4. Shareeashrama sambhava
  5. Aaguntaki
  6. Vyadinuvartini
  7. Ratriswabhava Prabhavaa

Types of Sleep

Sleep is of two types:”

1. REM sleep or Rapid eye movement sleep

2. Non-REM sleep. Non-rapid eye movement sleep, NREM sleep

Rapid Eye Movement SleepRem Sleep

Rapid eye movement sleep is one of the sleep associated with rapid conjugate movements of the eyeballs, which occurs more often. Though the eyehalls move, the sleep is deep. So, it is also called paradoxical sleep. It occupies about 20-30% of sleeping period. Functionally REM sleep is so important because it plays a very important role in consolidation of memory. Dream’s only occur during this period.

  • NonRapid Eye Movement SleepNrem Or Non Rem Sleep

Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is the type of sleep without the movements of eyeballs. It is also called slow-wave sleep. Dreams do not occur in this type of sleep and it occupies about 70% to 80% of total sleeping period. Non-REM sleep is followed by REM sleep.

International classification of sleep disorders

Six major categories:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep related breathing disorders
  • Hypersomnias
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorder
  • Parasomnia
  • Sleep related movement disorders


  • Hard time initiating sleep.
  • Struggle to maintain sleep.
  • Waking up frequently during the night.
  • Tend to wake up too early.
  • Sleep is non restorative or of poor quality.

Types of insomnia

Two types of insomnia

  1. Primary- Drug abuse or medications.
  2. Secondary- Primary medical illness, mental disorders or other sleep disorders

Types of Insomnia

  • Adjustment insomnia
  • Behavioural insomnia
  • Idiopathic insomnia
  • Inadequate sleep hygiene
  • Paradoxical insomnia
  • Psychophysiological insomnia


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Hypnotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Zolpidem
  • Benzodiazepines (rapid onset, short t1/2)
  • Anxiolytics
  • Benzodiazepines (acute)
  • Antidepressants (chronic)


a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.


Most dreaming in period the period of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which we cycle through periodically during the night. Sleep studies show our brainwaves are almost as active during REM cycles as they are when we’re awake. Experts believe the brainstem generates REM sleep and the forebrain generates dreams


The sleep cycle comprises of four stages and lasts for about 90-120 minutes. THE STAGES OF SLEEP

Stage 1: you enter into sleep.

Stage 2: you are completely asleep.

Stage 3: still deeper sleep.

Stage 4: rapid eye movement sleep. Dreams help in overcoming…

Dreams help in overcoming

  • Symptoms of irritability and anxiety.
  • Disoriented and depressed. Crabby and quick tempered.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Memory loss
  • Over sensitivity.


5 minutes after the end of dream, half the content is forgotten. After 10 minutes, 90% is lost.


  • The source and content of the dream,
  • The efficacy of the dream,
  • The effect of the dream,
  • According to the person, who sees the


  • Their utility in the Ayurvedic

Chikitsasastra &

  • The doshika dominance of the dream.


  1. Drista,
  2. Sruta ,
  3. Anubhuta,
  4. Prarthita,
  5. Kalpita,
  6. Bhabik &
  7. Doshaja


  • Aphala – those which do not have

any impact on the person’s health or


  • Phala – those which definitely has

a impact to the person’s health or



  • Subha
  • Asubha

CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO THE PERSON WHO SEES THE DREAM These dreams can also be divided into those seen by the person himself Dreams seen by another person who may be associated to that person will get affected by the dream; e.g.The dreams of the mother heralding Subha and Asubha for the child as described in Kasyapa Samhita

Classification According To the Utility of the Swapna in Ayurvedic Chikitsasastra

  • Swapna denoting the Prakriti: they are again divided into Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja types.
  • Swapna heralding the sex of the unborn child: They can be again divided into those Swapna signifying a male child and those signifying a female child. Just as described by Susrutacarya
  • Swapna specific for the Arista of each Vyadhi and those explained due to Skandhagraha, Naigamesa, etc. Graha Badha, according to Kasyapa Samhita

Duration of Result of Swapna

Acharya Harita has given the duration of the result after seeing a dream:

Time of Seeing Swapna Duration of Result

First part of night One year

Second part of night Six months

Third part of night. Three months

Fourth part of night or early morning Ten days

During day time/ Rainy season Six months

Why will a person see such dreadful dreams which suggest impending death?

When person is about to lose his life( die) or very near to his death, channels of mind will be occupy by all three vitiated doshas.As a result of affliction of mind and its channels by vitiated doshas, person will get dreadful dreams which are pointers of impending death.

When person is not completely asleep, he will get many types of fruitful or unfruitful dreams with the involvement of mind which is controller of all sense organs and sensory perceptions.


  • Timely sleep offers appropriate weight gain, better complexion, desire to work, fresh and alert status of sensory organs. It is also responsible for balanced status of the body entities gaining or loosing weight is directly dependent on their principle factors in physiology of living being namely Ahara, Nidra, Brahmacharya. Thus these proved Trayopasthambha
  • Swapna is a physiological process occurring in every individual.
  • In the ancient time when no advanced tools and technologies were available, the concept of Swapna was very popular in clinical practice for the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases as well as for the maintenance of health.
  • All the four components of the Ayu (Atma, Manas, Indriya and Sarira) play an equal part and have their own functions in the genesis of Swapna.
  • It requires attention for exploration, interpretation, and application, sincerely with patience and devotion.
7 posts

About author
Nicky is a dietitian and blogger with a passion for nutrition and online entrepreneurship. She shares nutrition articles and helps wellness professionals with an authentic knowledge. She recommends ayurveda in first place.
Related posts

Ways To Begin A Sattvik Lifestyle

4 Mins read
SATTVIK LIFESTYLE If we want to become healthy or to maintain good health using an Ayurvedic approach, moving towards a sattvic lifestyle is a…

Rheumatiod Arthritis: Causes , Symptoms And Treatment According To Ayurveda

4 Mins read
RHEUMATIOD ARTHRITIS (RA) is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease which leads to inflammation and pain in the joints. Now frst understand what…

5 Ways To Help Kids To Practice Mindfulness..

5 Mins read
  Introduction: Mindfulness. It suggests that the mind is fully focusing on what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re…
Subscribe with Ayurvedic Jeevan

To get regular updates of new posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.