Discover the benefits of Ashwagandha to help sleep.
Derived from the root of the Withania somnifera plant, organic ashwagandha powder, also called Indian ginseng, is used in Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, for its many health benefits, especially to help sleep.
Many people use it for sleep, not knowing why it improves sleepiness, or how to use it to promote sleep. So let’s develop the subject together!
Ashwagandha comes from the root of the Withania somnifera plant: somnifera (sleeping pill), there is already a clue! It is central in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Indian medicine, for many benefits, including making it easier to fall asleep.
In Ayurveda, the plant is attributed an adaptogenic action. The concept of the adaptogenic plant comes from a Russian toxicologist, Nicolai Lazarev, to defines the type of action of plants that increases the resistance of the organism to various stresses that affect it in general, while having a normalizing action on many organs or physiological functions.
Thus, ashwagandha helps stabilize and regulate body temperature, blood pressure, weight (see ” how to use ashwagandha to lose weight “), the nervous system, the hormonal system, the immune system, to balance the cycles sleep, etc.
It is attributed to a beneficial effect on stress that helps soothing, relaxation, and relaxation, which allows to bring about a state favorable to quality sleep and to help fight against insomnia and anxiety states.
Thanks to its adaptogenic effect, ashwagandha has relaxing and calming properties, ideal in times of stress and anxiety, acting as a mood stabilizer.
Indeed, studies have shown that the plant reduces the levels of tribulin (a marker of anxiety) in the brain, and blood cortisol (a marker of stress).
Indirectly, it, therefore, helps fight against insomnia caused by stress, promotes sleep, restful sleep, and relaxation. We owe this beneficial property to sleep in particular to 2 alkaloids contained in the root: someone and somniferous.
A promising study on ashwagandha and sleep
A pharmacological study in mice showed amazing results. A group of researchers, led by Makesh K. Kaushik and Yoshihiro Urade of the University of Tsukuba, specializing in sleep, investigated whether the plant had an active ingredient that promotes sleep and, if so, which one.
Several extracts of the plant were tested, with electroencephalogram measurements of brain activity, and electromyograms of muscle activity during sleep in mice.
Result: the researchers demonstrated an active sleeping pill with a soporific effect, which caused sleep similar to natural, with the absence of eye movements in deep sleep and rapid eye movements in REM sleep (REM sleep or Rapid Eyes Movement).
Surprise: the extract that was shown to be effective was not the extract with withanolides, which showed no effect on sleep, but the one with trimethylene glycol (TEG).
Only ashwagandha root or powder is effective in promoting sleep, extracts concentrated in withanolides, molecules of the family of steroids specific to the plant, are, according to this study, ineffective.
This shows once again that a plant cannot be reduced to a single active principle, it is the interaction between all of its components that make the plant interesting and effective.
Of course, withanolides provide many benefits, but nature is right, consuming the whole plant, with its alkaloids (piperidine, pyrazole, pyrrolidine, etc.), its steroidal alkaloids (somnine, somniferous, anserine, withanolides, etc. ), its phytosterols (withanolides, β-sitosterol, etc.), its amino acids (L-tryptophan, aspartic acid, glycine, tyrosine, alanine, proline, glutamic acid, and cystine), will be more complete.
Ashwagandha can be used in many different ways, detailed in the article how to consume ashwagandha, with different dosages and strengths as needed.
It is generally advisable to consume 3 to 5 g of ashwagandha powder per day, regardless of the way: in a glass of water, fruit juice, compote, etc.
A preventive cure generally lasts 30 to 40 days, followed by a 10-day break before possibly renewing it, without however exceeding 4 cures per year.
The Ayurvedic method is to mix Ashwagandha powder into whole milk and sweeten it with honey. Try our recipe for ashwagandha moon milk, a comforting Ayurvedic drink that helps sleep.
For people who don’t like the flavor of Indian ginseng, it is possible to buy neutral capsules and fill them with powder.
Consumption of ashwagandha powder is safe and does not cause side effects or addiction.
On the contrary, chemical sleeping pills lead to addiction, often side effects, and do not lead to restful sleep.
It is therefore wise to try natural solutions such as ashwagandha powder against sleep disorders, and if this fails, possibly go to medication.
Stick to the recommended dosages, so ashwagandha has very few unwanted side effects. We wrote an article on the adverse effects of ashwagandha, which lists all the adverse effects of the plant. If in doubt, consult a doctor. If in doubt, consult a doctor.
An overdose of ashwagandha can increase the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that can lengthen the reflex time and transiently decrease the motor and intellectual faculties. It can also cause some mild digestive upset.
As a precautionary principle, its use is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under 16 years of age.