Updated at: 05-01-2022 - By: Jane Brody

In order to maintain excellent health, adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, but more than one-third of the population claims to get less than that.

Many people in the United States rely on alternative medicine to address a wide range of problems, including sleep difficulties, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds. Ashwagandha, a plant that is thought to have sleep-inducing properties, is a natural remedy for insomnia.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Indian ginseng or winter cherry, ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry) is a common Ayurvedic herbal medication. Originally from India and Southeast Asia, Withania somnifera is a tiny evergreen shrub. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine employs ashwagandha to treat a wide range of ailments, but further research is needed to determine whether or not it is useful and safe.

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Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

As a type of adaptogen, ashwagandha is supposed to protect the body against oxidative stress. Ashwagandha’s effects and processes are unknown, although preliminary research suggests that it may help alleviate stress.

Some believe that ashwagandha can benefit the health of the endocrine, neurological, and respiratory systems as well. In addition to being useful in treating many forms of breast cancer, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and diabetes, it is reported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In order to back up these claims, further research is needed, and experts are currently trying to figure out exactly how the plant works and whether there are any unforeseen negative effects.

Ashwagandha as a Sleep Aid

Ashwagandha, according to a preliminary study, may improve sleep quality and quantity by helping people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more rested. Participants in an actigraphy-based study who took ashwagandha for six weeks reported an improvement in sleep quality of 72 percent on average.

The sleep-inducing properties of ashwagandha may be due to a variety of different chemicals found in the herb. Triethylene glycol, which is naturally contained in the herb, is thought by some to be a sedative. Some researchers believe that ashwagandha has an effect on the sleep-wake cycle via GABA receptors. Ashwagandha’s apparent therapeutic properties may be the result of additional, as-yet-unidentified substances.

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Withanolides, the primary active constituents in ashwagandha, are thought to provide a wide range of health advantages, including the capacity to reduce stress. Poor sleep quality and daytime drowsiness have been linked to stress. Ashwagandha may help you sleep better if you take it before bed to help you relax.

How to Use Ashwagandha for Sleep

It is possible to buy Ashwagandha in a variety of ways. It’s available in powder, tea, tablet, tincture, or gummy form. In terms of price, the quality and quantity of a product might have an impact. Other herbs or vitamins might be added to ashwagandha preparations.

Ashwagandha can be used to help you sleep if you follow the directions on the supplement you purchase. We’re not sure yet what the ideal ashwagandha dosage should be, and it could vary amongst supplements. The typical dosage ranges from 250 milligrams to 600 mg to aid sleep. Ashwagandha should not be taken for more than three months at a time.

Ashwagandha is classified as a dietary supplement by the FDA, which does not inspect supplements for quality and safety before they are put on the market. There is a chance that some ashwagandha products may contain additional components that are not specified on the packaging. As a result, it is imperative that you only purchase your goods from reputable shops. It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor for recommendations on trustworthy stores.

How Ashwagandha Compares to Other Sleep Aids

Ashwagandha’s effectiveness as a sleep aid has not been adequately studied in comparison to another natural, prescribed, or over-the-counter options. Valerian, passionflower, and ashwagandha were shown to be the most promising herbal therapies for insomnia in a study examining 23 medicines. The absence of solid research on ashwagandha, like many other natural sleep aids, makes it impossible to assess its efficacy.

Prescription sleep medicines, on the other hand, are regulated by the FDA and require a prescription from a doctor or other medical practitioner to be obtained by the patient.

For those who can’t afford prescription sleep aids, over-the-counter options may be an option. For all sleep aids (natural or otherwise), there is a risk of side effects.

It may take some trial and error to find out what works best for you. Consult your doctor if you’re having difficulties falling and staying asleep at night. Their advice on sleep hygiene, treatment of underlying sleeping disorders such as insomnia or the recommendation of an effective treatment plan that incorporates natural, alternative, or pharmacological sleep aids may be of assistance to you in your battle against insomnia.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha

The long-term safety profile of ashwagandha has not been properly explored, however it may be safe to take for up to three months when taken as prescribed. There are few, if any, Ashwagandha adverse effects.

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

Less common symptoms that some people may experience are the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Vertigo
  • Hallucinations
  • Cough and congestion
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Weight gain

Ashwagandha pills may induce liver damage, according to some studies. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any side effects, especially if they are associated with liver damage, such as jaundice or itching skin.

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How to Decide if Ashwagandha Is Right for You

The herbal supplement Ashwagandha may be a viable option for those who want to experiment with different sleep aids. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, should be avoided by certain individuals. These are the groups:

  • pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Individuals having auto-immune conditions.
  • People who have recently undergone or are preparing to have surgery.
  • Individuals that suffer from thyroid problems.

Ask your doctor about sleep aids you can safely use if you fall into one of these categories. Ashwagandha can interact with other medications, so you should check with your doctor before taking it.

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