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Deep Sleep Tonic

Cup of sleep tea on blanket


An Ayurvedic fix for a better night’s sleep—great for calming Vata, or any flighty, fractured, anxious, can’t settle down sort of energy.

How did you sleep last night? If you are one of the majority of people in our modern times who doesn’t sleep well, you know how uncomfortable it is, and the stress it produces. But are you aware that how you sleep any night is a prime determinant in depression, weight loss, chronic illness and longevity?

Ayurveda observes that Autumn is the season of sleeplessness. Not for everyone, of course, but Autumn is considered Vata season, and Vata is restless, scattered, ungrounded and wide awake.  

What we all need in the season of Vata is more Ojas. Ojas is the Ayurvedic word for deep nourishment, our underlying reserves of energy. Ojas gives patience, contentment, longevity, stamina, strength and stability. It’s lubricating, grounding and is said to live in the heart.

So how do we boost our Ojas? It comes from wholesome foods, well digested, and rejuvenating rest. In the Autumn, when Vata dominates, Ojas is available to us through seasonal foods like root vegetables, grains, ghee, nuts and seeds, dates, raisins and sweet Autumn fruits. Above all, Ojas arises from deep sleep, where healthy digested foods are metabolized into strong tissue and balanced energy.

If you could use a little help sleeping, try this simple “Deep Sleep Tonic.” Resoundingly delicious and potent, it is great for calming Vata, or any flighty, fractured, anxious, can’t settle down sort of energy.

Enjoy it an hour before bed for a night of sweet dreams and deep slumber.

Deep Sleep Tonic

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Put the dates in a blender with half a cup of water. Blend until the dates are completely liquefied. Pour into a saucepan with the milk, turmeric and nutmeg. Whisk the milk gently while bringing to a gentle boil. Serve and drink warm.

Wear an apron. Turmeric stains!

You can make it vegan by replacing the dairy with homemade coconut, almond or rice milk, and a teaspoon of coconut oil.

For Vata: Stir in a hearty pinch of ginger and a dash of cardamom.

For Pitta: Can double the quantity of turmeric

For Kapha: Add generous pinches of cinnamon and black pepper.

Laura Plumb

Laura Plumb is a practitioner and teacher of Ayurveda, Yoga and Jyotish. She is the writer of the book, Ayurveda Cooking for Beginners, and the writer and host of the international 58-part TV series VedaCleanse, with recipes and daily practices for seasonal wellness. She is also the writer and host of the 12-part series Divine Yoga. Laura leads trainings and retreats internationally, and offers online seasonal cleanses and courses. You can learn more about her at and get more Ayurvedically inspired recipes on her blog:

Learn with Laura! 

Register now for Laura's new online course, Introduction to Ayurvedic Cooking, complete with videos, quizzes, and informative PDFs with beautiful photographs.


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