Sleep is a luxury. Why do we say so? Well, how many of you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up fresh the next morning? Quite a few. The hectic lifestyle of today has made it almost impossible for people to catch a few hours of rest. Increased work pressure and stress accompanied by irregular sleeping patterns lead to sleeplessness.
Lately, there has been an alarming increase in the cases of insomnia (the inability to sleep), sleep apnea and many other sleeping disorders that gravely affect your health and mental well-being.
Many of you suffering from sleeplessness would be popping up sleep-inducing pills at night, but you must know that these medicines have an addictive effect and harm your vital organs. Instead, you should try using natural remedies. Ashwagandha is one such gem of nature that can help you get a sound sleep.
Ashwagandha for Sound Sleep
About the Magical herb Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a herb which is well known for its sleep-inducing properties. Also known as Indian Ginseng or winter cherry, the Latin name of the herb, Withania Somnifera that translates to “sleep-inducing.” It is widely used in Ayurveda for its miraculous properties that calm your brain, relax the soring muscles and relieve anxiety, thus helping you sleep better.
How does Ashwagandha help to induce sleep?
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb known to induce sleep. According to a research, the water extract from the leaf of this herb contains high amounts of Triethylene Glycol or TEG which stimulates non-rapid eye movement (NREM) during your sleep and slightly affected the rapid eye movement (REM). TEG is known to induce normal sleep.
Thus, those who do not wish to take in synthetic drugs that are addictive and want to get some sound sleep or improve the quality of their sleep can take in Ashwagandha crude powder.
Is Ashwagandha actually useful for Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder caused due to a disruption in your body’s sleep-wake cycle due to chronic stress. Sleeplessness or irregular sleep patterns are a cause of worry as these not only result in a lousy mood or low energy the next day but can lead to severe conditions like depression, anxiety and health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and even cancer.
Your sleep hygiene gets regulated by your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock that aligns to your day and night cycle, as well as Sleep-wake Homeostasis (a process that controls the levels of a sleep-inducing substance such as adenosine).
Under normal conditions, your body can regulate its sleep cycles; however when stressed out, the circadian rhythm gets disturbed, there is hormonal imbalance, disruption in the production of neurotransmitters, depletion in body’s energy which all result in sleep deprivation.
While one may believe that high energy levels disrupt sleep, the fact is that low energy levels are known to affect your sleep. Hence, the best way to combat sleeplessness or insomnia is to make your body active. Thus, those sedatives that you have been popping on for quite some time are not helping you out in treating the condition, they might have a temporary effect in causing you to sleep, and in the long run, these medicines are building on your insomnia.
The Ayurvedic way to treat insomnia is to replenish the exhausted energy levels rather than sedating the body. This herb addresses the need of your tired body. It is an adaptogen that can help regulate your adrenal system which balances your body’s hormones and support it in coping with stress.
7 Beneficial Effects of Ashwagandha for Inducing Sleep
- Lowers The Stress Hormones
- Keeps Your Blood Sugar Level Under Check
- Helps in Calming your Mind
- Helps In Fat Metabolism
- Helps In Reducing Brain Damage
- Prevent Infections
- Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
It is ideal for treating anxiety and stress that contribute to sleep disorders. Following are how it can help towards reducing stress and promoting sound sleep.
1. Lowers the stress hormones in your body
Chronic stress leads to a constant rise in the Cortisol levels (stress hormone) levels in your body. However, for a balanced circadian cycle, the cortisol level in your body should reduce by early evening preparing your body to sleep.
But due to increased stress, the cortisol level remains high even into the night causing your body to stay active when it should unwind itself thus disrupting your sleep pattern. To cut it short, increased cortisol in your body affects your sleep. Ashwagandha which is an adaptogen can control it.
The amazing herb is known to put a cap on the production of stress hormone keeping it under check. The decreased levels of cortisol do not affect your circadian rhythm, and you can sleep much better.
2. Keeps your blood sugar level under check
Fluctuation in blood sugar level is another cause of improper sleep. The sudden crashing of blood sugar may cause you to awake abruptly thus affecting the quality of your sleep. During the night, when you are asleep your body works to burn fats stored in the body.
However, if your blood sugar is unstable and fat burning improper, then it might hamper the quality of your sleep awakening you several times through the night. Studies show that Ashwagandha has a positive effect on your blood sugar and lipid levels. It keeps them within the normal range and also ensures proper burning of fats. Thus, it normalizes your body functioning so that you can sleep properly.
[Read: Ashwagandha Benefits for Weight Loss]
3. Helps in calming your mind and body
The hectic lifestyle and so many tasks through the day leave you exhausted at night. These lesser energy levels do not only hamper your sleep but also result in increased worry. Your body is not able to relax or calm down which results in more stress.
This herb is known to have a rejuvenating effect on your mind and body. It helps in regulating the GABA levels in your body that are essential for settling your mind by reducing the neuronal excitability. Consuming Ashwagandha positively impacts your neuroreceptors that receive GABA, thus reducing the excitement levels and calming your mind.
4. Helps in fat metabolism and maintaining a healthy weight
Contains Potent Anti-Inflammatory
Increased levels of cortisol result in comfort eating which leads to increased weight. Unhealthy weight gain can affect your body’s metabolism process and affect your sleep. Fats are known to be digested slowly by your body. These break slowly and act as a constant source of energy for your body.
Thus, for you to sleep soundly, it is necessary for your body to get endless energy which is possible by fat metabolism. However, when your body is not able to burn the fat naturally, the energy depletes causing you to wake up many times. Studies show that Ashwagandha can stimulate your body’s metabolism. It aids your body in burning fat. Besides, it also helps in reducing your food cravings thus helping you in maintaining a healthy weight.
5. Helps in reducing brain damage and repairs the damaged brain cells
We live in a polluted environment, and numerous toxins enter our body through the day. The food you eat, the air around you, everything contains toxic substances that get accumulate inside your body. Some toxins entering your body are fat-soluble and make their way to the brain. When in brain these toxins congest the brain lymphatics which drain toxins while you are asleep.
Poor brain lymph drainage is linked to poor sleep, i.e., it affects the quality of your sleep which invariably results in poor lymphatic brain drainage. It means the less you sleep; the less your brain drains and the less efficiently it drains, more reduced is the quality of your sleep. Ashwagandha is known to prevent such brain damage and improve the quality of your sleep.
It is because the herb contains a bioactive component known as glycowithanolide that has a potent antioxidant effect and effectively removes all the toxic substances present there. The element affects your brain and liver wherein it produces a protective effect against the damage by heavy metal and helps in cleansing your blood and lymph system of the toxins.
6. Possesses antibacterial properties that prevent infections
Infections may also result in poor sleep. To keep them at bay, consume Ashwagandha which is known to have antibacterial properties which help fight the microbes causing the disease and relieve you of its symptoms. Also, the immune modulating property of the herb aids in faster recovery.
7. Contains potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Ashwagandha is known to have anti-inflammatory that keeps your blood vessels and nerves clear of any inflammation. Further, being a potent antioxidant, it eliminates the free radicals present n your body that causes damage to the vital organs of your body and hampering their functioning. By killing free radicals, it ensures that all the organs work at their optimal best so that you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep.
What is the apt Ashwagandha Dosage for sleep?
Ashwagandha is a magical remedy for insomnia. Those who wish to enjoy sound sleep and fight insomnia must take it every day to see results. You can take its extract measuring 300 mg, two times a day. Alternatively, you can take it as a tonic. Consume one to two teaspoons of the root extract every day to improve the quality of your sleep. You will get useful results over a period of time.
How long does it take for Ashwagandha to start working?
You might not feel any instant improvement in the quality of your sleep. You will have to patient and persistent to get results. Ashwagandha is known to have a cumulative effect as such it might take at least three to four weeks to see any improvement in your sleeping pattern. It works naturally and gives you results over time. However, it may not be before a couple of months that you can see the full-fledged benefits of the herb. Some physicians recommend that you must take after two months than continuous consumption of it for better results.
Can Ashwagandha be harmful?
This herb is generally safe for most people, and there are no side-effects. However, some people should avoid taking the remedy.
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid taking this herb as there is not much research done on its effects on the baby. Hence, one must inhibit from taking it to be on the safer side.
Also, people suffering from autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, and Hashimoto disease must avoid it. It is because Ashwagandha might interact with the medications for thyroid, blood pressure and blood sugar causing severe complications. If you wish to replace the medicines with an herbal supplement, then you must consult your doctor.
Sleeplessness is a common issue and has become an innate part of the modern lifestyle. The hectic schedules have led to increased stress and anxiety which disrupts your sleep patterns. Sound sleep is vital for physical and mental well-being.
Though there are sleep-inducing medicines available, these need to get avoided for their damaging effect in the long run. As such, one should look for natural ways to induce sleep. Daily consumption of the herb combined with practicing good sleep hygiene can help you in improving the quality of sleep and treat insomnia.