• Sleep (निद्रा) is natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of body are restored.
  • Physical and mental fatigue is the main cause of sleep. When mind (manas) and sense organs get exhausted, then sense organs cannot conjugate with their objects ( असात्म्य इन्द्रियार्थ संयोग ) and this fatigue of mind and sense organs induces sleep.
  • Just as additional pillars near to the main pillar lend support to the building in the same way three supportive pillars are also present in human body.
  • The three supportive pillars of life are called Trayah Upstambha (त्रयः उपस्तम्भ ) . The Trayah Upsthambha are:-
  1. Aahar (food)
  2. Nidra (sleep) and
  3. Brahamcharya (celibacy).

त्रय उपस्तम्भा इति – आहारः,स्वप्नो, ब्रह्मचर्यमिति ।

(च. सू. -11/33)


Hence, Nidra is one among the Trayah- Upstambha.


  • Sleep/Nidra is a natural recurrent convergence of relatively sensitive sensory and operational activity, which is characterised by the inactivity of almost all voluntary actions.
  • According to Acharya Charak :-

यदा तु मनसि क्लान्ते कर्मात्मानः क्लमान्विताः।

विषयेभ्यो निवर्तन्ते तदा स्वपिति मानवः ।। (च. सू. – 21/35)

  • When manas (antahkaran or manoyukta atma) along with atma become tired (klanta) and karmatmanaha i.e. Indriyas are withdrawn from their visayas (objects of sense organs) then man gets sleep.
  • Sleep was born at the time of commencement of the creation of universe only, out of tamas.
  • According to Acharya Sushrut :-

हृदयं चेतनास्थानमुक्तं सुश्रुत ; देहिनाम्।

तमोSभिभूते तस्मिंस्तु निद्रा विशति देहिनम्।।

निद्राहेतुस्तमः सत्त्वं बोधने हेतुरुच्यते।। (सु. शा. – 4 /35 )

  • Elevation of Tamas quality and fatigue induce sleep. Heart and brain is the seat of mind.
  • Sattva, rajas and tamas are qualities of mind. Tamas quality induces sleep while sattva guna is responsible for awakening stage.
  • Kapha will stirs up with the food substances and which obstructs the internal channels causes unable to perform normal functions of the sense organs due to exhaustion and there by manifests sleep.


Nidra has been classified in to different types by the different Acharyas.

  1. According to Acharya Charak :-

तमोभवा श्लेष्मसमुद्भवा च मनःशरीरश्रमसंभवा च।

आगन्तुकी व्याध्यनुवर्तिनी च रात्रिस्वभावप्रभवा च निद्रा।। (च. सू. -21/58 )

Type of Nidra Cause of Nidra
1. तमोभवा Due to excess of Tamas quality
2. श्लेष्मसमुद्भवा Due to excess of kapha dosha
3. मनःशरीरश्रमसंभवा Due to mental and physical fatigue
4. आगन्तुकी It means fatal sign or Occurring due to other reason like alcohol consumption etc.
5. व्याध्यनुवर्तिनी It means which appears in many diseases as symptom
6. रात्रिस्वभावप्रभवा

Sleep produced due nature of night i.e. due to excess of Tamoguna.

2 . According to Acharya Vagbhat :-

कालस्वभावाSSमयचित्तड़ेहखेदैः काफागंतुतमोभवा च।

निद्रा बिभर्ति प्रथमा शरीरं पापमात्मिका व्यधिनिमित्तमन्या।। (अ सं सू -9 /68 )

Type of Nidra Cause of Nidra
1. कालस्वभाव Routine sleep induced with effect of time.
2. मयखेद प्रभा Due to somatic disease.
3. चित्तखेद प्रभा Due to mental exertion.
4. देहखेद प्रभा Due to physical exertion.
5. कफ प्रभा Due to effect of kapha.
6. आगन्तु Indicative of bad prognosis leading to imminent death.
7. तमोभा Due to effect of Tamo guna.

Benefits of Sleep :-

निद्रयातं सुखं दुःखं पुष्टिः कार्श्यं बलाबलम्।

वृषता क्लीवता ज्ञानमज्ञानं जीवितं न च।। (च. सू. – 21/36 )

  • Happiness or misery (सुखं दुःखं)
  • nourishment or malnourishment (पुष्टिः कार्श्यं),
  • strength or weakness (बल-अबलम्),
  • potency or impotency and sexual urge (वृषता क्लीवता) ,
  • life or death (जीवितं)
  • orientations of surroundings, activeness of brain or disorientation and sluggished senses depend on sleep (ज्ञानम-अज्ञानं).

These are the things that depend on sleep. Hence one should take proper sleep at proper time.

Factors producing sleep :- (च. सू. – 21/52-54)

Oil anointing, massage, bath, ingestion of soup of animals of marshy lands, cooked sali along with curd, applying tarpana ………………etc.

Causes for loss of Sleep (Insomnia) :- (च. सू. – 21/55-57)

  • Purgation, Head evacuation, emesis, fear, anxiety anger and smoking.
  • Raktamokshana, Upwasa, krodha, dhuma , vyayama etc.
  • Predominance of satwa and overcoming tamas.
  • Overwork, Vriddha awastha, vatika prakriti person and aggravation of vata.

Contraindications (Divanidra anuchita) and effect of day-sleep :-

(च. सू. – 21/44-49)

  • Except summer season, in all other seasons day sleeping aggravates sleshma and pitta.
  • Sleshma- prakriti person, Person suffering from dushi vish (artificial- poison), person having obesity etc.
  • Person who take excess sleep during day time suffer from halimaka (advanced stage of jaundice) , headache, body-ache, heaviness in body parts , hemicrania, itching, drowsiness , throat disorder etc.

Importance of sleep :-

देहवृत्तौ यथाSSहारस्तथा स्वप्न: सुखो मत:।

स्वप्नहरस्मुत्थे च स्थौल्यकार्श्ये विशेषत: ।।(च. सू. – 21/51)

For proper maintenance of body the diet and proper sleep both are equally important. Corpulence and scraggyness of body depend upon diet and sleep both. Just as food is either beneficial or unbeneficial for the working of the body so also is sleep ; obesity and emaciation is produced by sleep and food especially.

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