Is Ashwagandha a Natural Sleep Aid or Just a Myth?

You’re staring at the ceiling, and it’s 2 a.m. Again. Your mind is racing faster than a caffeinated squirrel, and you’re just lying there, begging for some shut-eye.

Didn’t a friend suggest Ashwagandha today—a trendy go-to for dealing with stress, fatigue, and—you guessed it—sleep issues? But does Ashwagandha make you sleepy?

In most cases, Ashwagandha doesn’t make you sleepy directly, but it may cause temporary drowsiness in some. On the contrary, Ashwagandha may improve your sleep quality and quantity by reducing stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels. Thus, you fall asleep faster and sleep soundly for a sufficient time.

Let’s learn more about Ashwagandha and its effects on sleep and sleepiness.

Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy Or Awake?

The effect of Ashwagandha on sleep and wakefulness may vary among individuals. Dosing, timing, and individual response can influence whether one experiences increased drowsiness or heightened alertness after taking Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha is not a stimulant or sedative but an adaptogen, an ancient herb used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It offers various health benefits, such as enhancing energy, reducing stress, improving immunity, and balancing hormones.

As a result, you may experience better sleep quality and increased alertness during the day.

Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy During the Day?

Ashwagandha usually doesn’t make you sleepy during the day unless you take a very high dose or have a very sensitive reaction to it. According to several studies, Ashwagandha may make you more relaxed, calm, and focused during the day. It can help you cope with stress and perform better at work or school.

However, some may experience drowsiness, fatigue, or headache as side effects. It usually happens if you take Ashwagandha on an empty stomach or with other medications or supplements.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should lower your dose, change your timing, or stop taking ashwagandha altogether. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how ashwagandha affects you.

The best thing to do is to consult your doctor for the right dosage and to manage the side effects.

Can ashwagandha aid insomnia?

According to several sources, ashwagandha may aid insomnia and improve sleep quality. Ashwagandha contains compounds that may help people sleep better, such as trimethylene glycol, which may trigger drowsiness. On the other hand, withanolides may influence the body’s ability to cope with stress.

However, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of ashwagandha for insomnia.

The Science Behind Ashwagandha And Sleep

Lack of quality sleep is a common problem caused by stress, anxiety, depression, pain, hormonal imbalance, and other factors. According to several studies, ashwagandha may help increase sleep quality and quantity.

Here are some main findings and explanations of how ashwagandha may work as a natural sleep aid.

Ashwagandha and stress

Stress and anxiety are two common causes of poor sleep that can activate your sympathetic nervous system. When you experience a stressful situation, your body activates the fight-or-flight response. It can prevent you from falling asleep and disturb your sleep at night.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic to help your body cope better with stress. It does this by regulating your cortisol levels, a hormone that manages stress in your body. Too much or too little cortisol can impact your health and sleep negatively. It can disrupt the circadian rhythm, keep you alert, and make sleeping harder.

Studies show ashwagandha can lower cortisol, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote better sleep by restoring circadian rhythm.

Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy Or Awake?

Ashwagandha and GABA

Ashwagandha may improve sleep by affecting GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits nerve cell activity, inducing calming and sleep regulation effects.

Ashwagandha contains compounds that mimic GABA’s action, increasing its levels in the brain. It can reduce anxiety, relax muscles, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and improve sleep quality and duration.

Ashwagandha And Triethylene Glycol

Triethylene Glycol, aka TEG, is a substance in ashwagandha roots and leaves that can induce sleep in animals.

Studies conducted on mice have shown that it can induce sleep by promoting non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in a dose-dependent manner.

Also, TEG boosts adenosine levels, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep by inhibiting wake-promoting neurotransmitters. It may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Ashwagandha and melatonin

Ashwagandha may also affect melatonin levels in the body, either directly or indirectly. Melatonin regulates sleep-wake cycles by increasing at night and decreasing during the day.

Studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase melatonin production and enhance the effects of melatonin supplements by increasing their absorption and bioavailability in the pineal gland. Thus, Ashwagandha helps us sleep better and wake up more easily.

How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take For Sleep?

Studies have demonstrated that consuming Ashwagandha root extract in doses ranging from 120 to 600 milligrams (mg) daily for a few weeks can enhance sleep quality.

Lower doses (120mg/day) reduce stress and anxiety and indirectly improve sleep. Higher doses (250-500mg/day) directly impact sleep by increasing GABA, TEG, and melatonin levels.

Besides, splitting the dosage into two equal parts is recommended, one to be taken in the morning and the other in the evening.

How Long Does Ashwagandha Take To Work For Sleep?

According to some studies, ashwagandha may help improve sleep quality and duration when taken regularly for a few weeks. The effects of this herb may be more noticeable in individuals with insomnia who take higher doses (≥600 mg/day) and use it for longer periods (≥8 weeks).

However, depending on your dose, timing, and individual response, it may take different amounts of time to work for sleep.

Remember, don’t use ashwagandha for more than three consecutive months without consulting your doctor.

How To Use Ashwagandha For Better Sleep?

Here are some ways to use ashwagandha for better sleep.

  • Choose ashwagandha supplements with standardized withanolides percentages, measured through HPLC analysis, a reliable method.
  • Consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha if you have any medical conditions or allergies or are taking any medications or supplements. It may interact with some drugs, such as antidepressants, blood thinners, thyroid hormones, and immunosuppressants.
  • Besides taking ashwagandha, practice good sleep hygiene habits such as sleeping regularly, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.

Is Ashwagandha Better At Night Or Morning?

The timing of ashwagandha intake depends on personal preferences and goals. Some people take it in the morning to promote calmness and clarity of mind, while others prefer it in the evening to help them unwind and sleep better.

According to some sources, taking ashwagandha before bed might be better for people who experience stomach discomfort. On the other hand, some suggest taking it in the morning to help manage stress throughout the day.

Ultimately, the preferred time for taking ashwagandha depends on your requirements and tastes.

The Science Behind Ashwagandha And Sleep

Alternatives to ashwagandha For Better Sleep

Several alternatives to ashwagandha may help improve sleep quality. Here are some examples.

  • Valerian root: promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality
  • Magnesium: regulates the sleep-wake cycle and improves sleep quality and quantity
  • Chamomile: promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality
  • Lavender: It has a calming and relaxing effect on the body
  • Melatonin: helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promotes better sleep.

Bottom Line

Does Ashwagandha make you sleepy? Ashwagandha doesn’t make you sleep but improves sleep quality and quantity. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression and promotes better sleep. It can also be your insomnia aid.

So, if sleep is your issue, Ashwagandha can be your best friend.

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