The 3 Ayurvedic constitutional types or Doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – are responsible for homeostasis and health. The doshas determine various functions, including sleep. According to the Ayurvedic texts, sleep is caused by increased kapha and insomnia by increased vata or pitta, which may follow physical or mental exertion, or disease. The present study was carried out to determine whether this relationship could be found using contemporary standardized questionnaires.
In this cross-sectional single-group study, 995 persons participated (646 males; group average age ±S.D., 49.1±15.2 years). Participants were attending a 1-week residential yoga program in northern India. Participants were assessed for dosha scores using a Tridosha questionnaire and the quality of sleep in the preceding week was self-rated using a sleep rating questionnaire.
Multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine if each dosha acted as a predictor of quality and quantity of sleep. Vata scores significantly predicted the time taken to fall asleep [p<0.01], and the feeling of being rested in the morning [p<0.001]; with higher vata scores being associated with a longer time to fall asleep and a lesser feeling of being rested in the morning. Kapha scores significantly predicted day-time somnolence [p<0.05] and the duration of day-time naps in minutes [p<0.05], with higher kapha scores being associated with longer day-time naps.