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Does Ashwagandha Help You Sleep?

Ashwagandha may help you fall asleep rapider, improve sleep quality, and reduce wakefulness during the night.

Ashwagandha, an ancient herb, is gaining popularity for its potential sleep benefits. This herb, used in Ayurvedic medicine, may help improve sleep quality and reduce stress.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is an evergreen plant native to India, Africa, and the Middle East. Its scientific name is Withania somnifera. This herb has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including stress and insomnia.

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body manage stress. The active compounds in ashwagandha, called withanolides, are believed to have numerous health benefits, including promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality.

How Ashwagandha Affects Sleep

Studies suggest that ashwagandha can help improve sleep in several ways:

  • Reduced Sleep Onset Latency: Ashwagandha may help you fall asleep rapider.
  • Increased Sleep Efficiency: More time spent in restful sleep.
  • Improved Total Sleep Time: Longer overall sleep duration.
  • Decreased Wake After Sleep Onset: Less time awake after initially falling asleep.

Ashwagandha’s effects on sleep are linked to its ability to modulate neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin, which play a role in mood and relaxation. Additionally, its adaptogenic properties help reduce stress, which can improve sleep quality.

Research on Ashwagandha and Sleep

Several studies have examined the effects of ashwagandha on sleep:

  • A meta-analysis of five randomized controlled trials found that ashwagandha had a miniature but significant effect on overall sleep quality, especially in people with insomnia.
  • Another study showed that taking 300 milligrams of ashwagandha twice daily improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety in participants.
  • Research also indicates that ashwagandha can improve mental alertness upon waking and reduce anxiety levels.

These studies suggest that ashwagandha can be an effective natural remedy for improving sleep quality and managing insomnia.

Dosage and Forms of Ashwagandha

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha for sleep varies, but most studies suggest taking 300-600 milligrams per day. It’s vital to follow the dosage instructions on the product packaging and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Ashwagandha is available in various forms, including:

  • Powder: Can be mixed with water, milk, or honey.
  • Capsules or Tablets: Convenient for consistent dosing.
  • Liquid Extract: May provide more immediate effects.
  • Tea: Often combined with other calming herbs.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when taken within recommended dosages. However, some potential side effects include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Liver problems (rare)
  • Thyroid problems

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders, or prostate cancer should avoid ashwagandha. It may also interact with certain medications, so it’s vital to consult with a healthcare professional before use.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha shows promise as a natural remedy for improving sleep quality and reducing stress. While more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects, current studies suggest that it can help you fall asleep rapider, sleep more soundly, and wake up feeling more refreshed. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement to ensure it’s safe for you.

For more detailed information, you can visit Sleep Foundation and Healthline.

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