Ashwagandha for sleep: how does it work?

In just a few weeks, ashwagandha can help you fall asleep faster, sleep better through the night, and wake up less often.

Insomnia is a common sleep problem that can significantly affect your physical and mental well-being. Because many insomnia medications can have negative side effects, many people are turning to holistic and herbal remedies for relief.

Certain ingredients found in plants or mushrooms taken in Ayurvedic medicine are called adaptogens. Among them, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L. Dunal) is a well-known adaptogen that stands out for its ability to reduce stress and help you sleep better.

Yes, ashwagandha can help improve sleep quality in a number of ways.

Released in 2021, an 8 week study with 80 participants explored how ashwagandha root extract affected sleep in both individuals with and without insomnia. Notably, it has led to significant improvements in sleep, especially for people with insomnia.

Ashwagandha supplementation has led to improvements in sleep in the following ways:

  • Reduced sleep onset latency: It took less time to fall asleep.
  • Improved Sleep Efficiency: Participants spent more time in restful sleep.
  • Improved total sleep time: Overall sleep duration was improved.
  • Decreased wakefulness after sleep onset: Participants had less time awake after initially falling asleep.

Participants also reported greater mental alertness upon waking up the next day.

In an Indian hospital studio since 2019, 60 participants took ashwagandha capsules or a placebo for 10 weeks. The study used sleep actigraphy (a small device worn on the wrist) and other evaluations to conclude that ashwagandha significantly reduced the time it took to fall asleep and improved sleep efficiency and quality.

Another study since 2020 examined the effects of a standardized ashwagandha extract on sleep in 150 healthy individuals who reported having poor quality sleep. After 6 weeks, the group of participants taking the extract reported a 72% improvement in sleep quality, compared to 29% in the placebo group.

The extract also led to significant improvements in various aspects of sleep, including efficiency, duration, latency, and awakening after sleep onset. Quality of life scores in several domains also improved, and no participants reported adverse side effects.

Ashwagandha it is he believed it worked regulating the body’s stress response through its adaptogenic properties, helping to balance stress hormone levels and reduce anxiety.

It can also modulate neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and GABA, helping improve mood and relaxation.

Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects could contribute to general well-being. More research is needed, however, to verify these findings.

Ashwagandha comes in various forms, including:

  • dust
  • capsules or tablets
  • liquid extract
  • tea (often combined with other calming herbs)

If you’re looking for quick effects, liquid forms or teas might be a better choice. For consistent and managed dosing, capsules or tablets may be preferable.

Keep in mind that most studies highlight the sleep benefits of Ashwagandha for an extended period, often over several weeks. Some individuals may experience an energy boost right after consuming the herb, which could potentially disrupt sleep if taken right before bedtime.

The appropriate ashwagandha dosage for sleep can vary based on factors such as individual response, the form of ashwagandha you’re using, and the concentration of active compounds in the product.

As a general guideline:

  • Dust: Typical doses range from 12 grams of ashwagandha root powder per day, divided into two doses.
  • Capsules or tablets: Standard dosages often range from 225 to 600 milligrams (mg) per day, taken in divided doses.
  • Liquid extract: A common dosage is around 1-2 milliliters (ml) of the extract, taken two to three times a day. This corresponds to approximately 600-1200 mg of ashwagandha per day. Concentrations may vary, so be sure to follow instructions.
  • You: Generally 1-2 cups of ashwagandha tea per day is recommended.

Taking ashwagandha with meals could lead to a more gradual release of the herbs’ active compounds, which can reduce the risk of sudden energy spikes.

Regardless of the type of ashwagandha you take, we recommend talking to a healthcare professional, who can help you determine the right amount for you.

How long does it take for ashwagandha to work for sleep?

How long it takes for ashwagandha to work for sleep can vary from individual to individual.

In general, many studies suggest that after a few weeks of constant use, there may be dramatic improvements in sleep quality and relaxation. However, some individuals may experience more immediate effects.

If you’re taking ashwagandha primarily for sleep, it’s generally recommended that you avoid taking it before bedtime, as some people experience an energy boost after taking it.

The adaptogenic nature of Ashwagandha can gradually improve the quality of sleep, although it could lead to an energy boost if taken too close to bedtime. This makes it more suitable for daytime consumption.

On the other hand, melatonin is a hormone directly linked to sleep-wake cycles and is often taken before bed to promote sleepiness. But melatonin should be used with caution to avoid affecting your natural hormone balance.

Yes, ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when used within the recommended dosages. It has a long history of traditional use and is well tolerated by many individuals.

However, like any supplement or herb, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects:

  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • rare allergic reactions
  • drug interaction (especially drugs that affect blood sugar levels or blood pressure, or sedatives)
  • effect on thyroid function and hormones

Who should avoid Ashwagandha?

Those who should avoid ashwagandha include people who:

  • are pregnant or breastfeeding or breastfeeding
  • have an autoimmune thyroid condition
  • are taking medications that interact with ashwagandha
  • are sensitive to nightshades or have grass allergies
  • have hormone-sensitive prostate cancer

Ashwagandha, a natural adaptogen, shows the potential to improve sleep quality in people with and without insomnia. Studies suggest ashwagandha may help you fall asleep faster, sleep better through the night, and wake up less often.

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before using ashwagandha, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

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