Ashwagandha for Sleep
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
Sleep is essential for mental and physical health of your body. It recharges your mind and body. It makes you feel refreshed. Lack of sleep disrupts your normal brain functions and you begin to lose concentration and focus.
Adults need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep daily. If you do not meet this requirement due to any reason such as a tight work schedule, disturbing environment at home, or any medical condition then you might be more vulnerable to cognitive disorders, mood shifts, attention lapses, and other problems.
Lifestyle modification can help you get proper sleep every night. Some people also use medications to get better sleep. But if you are someone who does not want to opt for medicines and is too lazy to bring some changes in his daily routine then ashwagandha can help you achieve your sleep goals with minimum effort.
Ashwagandha is a herbal medicine made from the plant Withania somnifera. It grows mainly in India and Southeast Asia. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It helps your body to fight off stress. And due to its ability to lower stress levels, it has been used in traditional medicine to treat many diseases.
Some of the notable health benefits of ashwagandha are:
- Calms the brain and improves your sleep quality
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Improves immune function
- Decreases anxiety and depression
- Exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- Boosts testosterone levels
- Improves male fertility
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improve cognitive functions
- Increases muscles mass and strength
HOW IS ASHWAGANDHA BENEFICIAL FOR SLEEP?
Ashwagandha helps you fall asleep faster and gives you better sleep quality. It directly affects your sleep and also lowers stress levels which indirectly have a significant effect on your sleep cycle.
Ashwagandha is packed with a compound called triethylene glycol. This compound directly helps you sleep. Ashwagandha also acts on GABA receptors which play a key role in the sleep cycle.
The cortisol-reducing property of ashwagandha helps you cope with stress and in turn, improves your sleep quality. This makes it extremely beneficial for those with anxiety disorder or depression.
HOW TO CONSUME ASHWAGANDHA FOR BETTER SLEEP?
Ashwagandha is available in many forms i.e. pills, powder, tea, tincture, and gummies. Below is a detailed description of how to use different types of ashwagandha and what should be the appropriate dosing for that particular type.
ASHWAGANDHA SLEEPING TABLETS
The most convenient and easy-to-use form of ashwagandha is in the form of tablets. It is easily available and is considered safe to use.
Recommended Dosage: 1 Ashwagandha tablet or capsule daily. You can consume it with water or warm milk or as prescribed by your physician.
Ashwagandha powder is made by crushing the herb Withania somnifera. Drinking ashwagandha powder before going to bed calms your nerves and guarantees you a better sleep experience. It also aids in digestion.
Recommended Dosage: Mix a quarter or half a teaspoon of ashwagandha powder in warm milk or water and drink it before going to sleep.
ASHWAGANDHA WITH GHEE
Consuming ashwagandha with ghee is extremely beneficial for those with anxiety disorders. It will reduce your anxiety levels. And once you cope with anxiety you automatically start sleeping more peacefully.
Recommended Dosage: Mix a small quantity of ghee with a quarter to half a teaspoon of ashwagandha powder and consume it at night.
This delicious and easy-to-make drink is very effective to give you a better sleep experience. It combines ashwagandha with nutmeg which also aids in sleeping.
- One cup milk of your choice (preferably almond milk)
- Half a teaspoon of ashwagandha powder
- Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- One teaspoon of honey
- One teaspoon of coconut oil
- A quarter teaspoon of ginger
Directions to follow:
- Warm the milk for a while, you do not need to boil it.
- Add ashwagandha powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, and ginger in warm milk. Simmer it gently for about four to five minutes.
- Put the coconut oil and pour the milk into a glass.
- Now add honey to sweeten it is as per your taste.
Moon milk is ready to enjoy!
RIGHT TIME TO CONSUME ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha is a safe herbal medicine that can be consumed at any hour of the day. However, you may choose to drink it in the morning or at night depending upon what goals you want to achieve.
ASHWAGANDHA IN MORNING
If you want to add ashwagandha to your routine supplementation for general health then you can consume it in the morning along with your other supplements and vitamins.
Consuming ashwagandha on an empty stomach is not advisable. It can cause mild stomach discomfort. Hence, it is recommended that you take ashwagandha after breakfast or after eating some snacks.
You can also add ashwagandha to your morning tea, smoothie, or oatmeal.
ASHWAGANDHA IN NIGHT
If your goal is to improve your sleep quality and then taking ashwagandha at night is a good choice. Take it before going to bed and it will calm your nerves and you will have a better sleeping experience.
SIDE EFFECTS OF ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha is considered safe to use for three months. Long term safety of ashwagandha has not been studied extensively and therefore not much is known about it. Commonly ashwagandha has mild side effects which include:
- Nasal congestion
- Upset stomach
- Decreased appetite
- Cough and cold
Some less common side effects of ashwagandha include:
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
Ashwagandha can sometimes also cause liver damage. In case you experience any symptoms related to liver diseases like jaundice or itchy skin then immediately seek medical help.
Ashwagandha is considered a harmless remedy for sleep problems but there are some people who should not consume ashwagandha. The list for such individuals include:
- Pregnant and lactating women.
- Someone who has autoimmune diseases i.e. SLE, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Patients who have recently undergone any surgical procedure or are scheduled for surgery.
- People with thyroid disorders.
If you fall into any of the above categories then talk to your doctor about other medicines or supplements that are beneficial for sleep.
INTERACTION OF ASHWAGANDHA WITH OTHER MEDICATIONS
Although ashwagandha is safe to use in general it can interact with certain medicines and cause unpleasant effects. Therefore you must know about these interactions. Some of the important interactions of ashwagandha are described below:
ASHWAGANDHA AND IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS
Immunosuppressants are the medicine that inhibits the activity of your immune system. They are prescribed after transplant or in case of autoimmune disorders. When you consume ashwagandha it increases the activity of your immune system. This might decrease the effect of immunosuppressive medicine and you will not achieve your desired results.
ASHWAGANDHA AND SEDATIVES
Sedatives make you sleep and lower your breathing rate. Ashwagandha has the same effects. So consuming these two together can lead to breathing problems and too much sleepiness.
ASHWAGANDHA AND ANTIHYPERTENSIVES DRUGS
Antihypertensive drugs are used by patients to fight high blood pressure. Ashwagandha also lowers your blood pressure. If you take ashwagandha with antihypertensive drugs it may cause your blood pressure to go down to an unwanted level.
Therefore, it is advised that you regularly monitor your blood pressure if you are taking ashwagandha along with antihypertensives.
ASHWAGANDHA AND THYROID HORMONE
Our body naturally synthesizes thyroid hormone. Ashwagandha can increase that production. Using ashwagandha with thyroid hormone pills can increase the amount of thyroid hormone to undesirable levels. This will increase the effects and side effects of thyroid cancer hormone in your body.
ASHWAGANDHA AND ANTIDIABETIC DRUGS
Antidiabetic drugs are used to avoid high blood sugar levels. Ashwagandha also reduces level of sugar in your body. If you combine ashwagandha with antidiabetic drugs then your blood sugar might drop drastically. Hence, you should monitor your blood sugar closely to avoid hypoglycemia.
A good sleeping pattern is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It affects your metabolism, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and emotional health too. Therefore everyone should sleep for about seven to nine hours daily. Failure to do so might affect your health in various ways.
Some people adopt lifestyle changes to improve their sleep but it is not a piece of cake for everyone. Hence, some people choose to take medicines for getting better sleep and some choose a natural remedy. One such natural and safe to use natural product is ashwagandha. It effectively improves your sleep quality and you begin to feel the difference in just a few weeks.
Ashwagandha is available in different forms. You can either go for an ashwagandha pill or ashwagandha powder. But like everything else ashwagandha also has some limitations. In case you have any medical condition discuss with your doctor about ashwagandha supplements and take necessary precautions.