Insomnia and decreased sleep quality are both major issues in the modern world, with more people experiencing these issues daily. The problem with these issues is that a lack of quality sleep can lower one's overall health. Without quality sleep, the human body eventually wears down and eventually dies if the person stops sleeping at all.
Sleep is a critical part of human health that is often overlooked due to our high-pressure society that promotes work over health. The issue has become so widespread that there has been an increased effort to find tools the average person can use at home to improve sleep quality. Among these tools is the plant ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has become popular among modern holistic health enthusiasts for its many benefits. The plant, while fairly exotic, is easy to get ahold of in modern markets due to the increased demand.
Even now, research is being conducted to ascertain the full breadth of ashwagandha's benefits and how we can use it to help people with common issues. While ashwagandha's effects can target specific issues, it has recently come to light that it might offer simpler benefits, which is why we will be investigating whether a daily dose of ashwagandha can improve sleep quality.
Can Ashwagandha Improve Sleep?
Among the many health benefits, ashwagandha improves sleep quality in those taking it. In fact, ashwagandha already has a healthy following of people actively using it for that purpose. Ashwagandha has been used to promote more restful sleep and counter insomnia.
While this might sound like science fiction to some, the benefits ashwagandha can offer for sleep quality have been researched. There is scientific evidence linking ashwagandha to improved sleep quality. While some studies need additional research to cement their place as fact, most studies have proven to be extremely promising.
One of the more promising studies of ashwagandha used for sleep quality involved a sample of 50 adults between the ages of 65 and 80.
During the study, the subjects were divided into a test group and a control group:
- Test Group: The subjects placed in the test group were given 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily over 12 weeks.
- Control Group: The subjects placed in the control group were given a placebo instead of ashwagandha for the 12-week study.
After the study was completed, the results showed that the subjects in the test group experienced improvements in the quality of their sleep. They also showed increased mental alertness due to their improved sleep quality. However, this was not the only study on ashwagandha's effects on sleep quality. A secondary study assessed the effects of ashwagandha on those suffering from insomnia.
This secondary study was larger, consisting of 400 subjects instead of 50. The subjects in the test group were given a 600 mg dosage of ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks. When the study concluded, it was found that those with insomnia enjoyed more pronounced versions of the effects from the previous study.
Based on the currently available research, ashwagandha seems to have a place as a sleep supplement. The real question is why ashwagandha seems to have a pronounced effect on sleep quality, especially in insomniacs. After all, these results are not manifesting out of thin air, and there must be a cause behind ashwagandha's ability to improve sleep quality. Before addressing that, we must understand the source of the lowered sleep quality.
What Causes Sleep Loss?
While sleep loss comes in many forms, the most severe version is insomnia. Insomnia is an increasingly common issue, with up to 60% of the population dealing with the condition. Unfortunately, insomnia is a growing plague amongst Americans that impacts our ability to rest and recover from the events of our waking hours. Insomnia is often misrepresented as an inability to fall asleep, but the symptoms are slightly more extensive. Insomnia can include:
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Waking up earlier than normal.
- Waking up in the middle of the night.
- Fatigue despite getting sleep the night before.
- Drowsiness during the day.
- Irritability or depression.
- Lack of focus and memory loss.
- Increased accidents or mistakes.
Insomnia can affect your waking hours as brutally as your resting ones, making it one of the more debilitating conditions. Insomnia does not come out of nowhere, though. You must consider some important causes of insomnia before working to resolve the issue.
Two of the biggest culprits include:
- Stress: Educational, professional, or financial pressures can weigh on your mind even when trying to sleep. This constant stress makes it difficult for your brain to relax enough to begin the shutdown process that precedes sleep. As such, stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia worldwide.
- Mental Health: In a similar vein to how stress contributes to insomnia, mental health conditions are just as taxing. Specifically, those suffering from chronic anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are known to experience disruptions in their sleep patterns.
With these causes of insomnia in mind, it becomes a question of how to treat the underlying cause so you can enjoy quality sleep again. Fortunately, there might be a role for ashwagandha in treating these mental woes so insomnia does not afflict your sleep patterns.
Can Ashwagandha Help Stress?
Given the significant role of stress in insomnia, using ashwagandha as a sleep supplement is only effective if it can address stress levels. Stress is an issue that is very easy to experience since it can come from almost any part of your life. As we age, we become responsible for more details of our lives that were once barely an afterthought. Education, finances, work, and even interpersonal relationships can lead to increased stress levels as we are faced with more complex scenarios. However, stress is not an abstract concept but a response to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is an essential hormone our bodies use to control fat content, suppress inflammatory responses, and control our sleep-wake cycle. When our cortisol levels are elevated, we tend to get stuck in the "wake" half of the cycle and lose our chance to experience the "sleep" half. Additionally, cortisol is directly tied to our stress response, with increased cortisol concentration being a symptom of increased stress. When our stress levels get too high, insomnia is almost guaranteed to be the result.
This brings us to how ashwagandha might be able to help resolve our high-stress levels so insomnia becomes less of a threat. Fortunately, there is evidence supporting ashwagandha as a tool for alleviating stress. Specifically, there was a study consisting of 58 participants suffering from high stress levels.
In this study, the participants were divided into 3 distinct groups and exposed to different stimuli:
- Test Group A: The participants in Test Group A were given a 250 mg dose of ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks.
- Test Group B: The participants in Test Group B were given a 600 mg dose of ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks.
- Control Group: The participants in the control group were given a placebo instead of ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks.
By the time the 8 weeks had elapsed, and the study concluded, the test groups showed significantly lower cortisol levels than the placebo group. These results effectively confirm ashwagandha's ability to treat high-stress levels by reducing cortisol levels. By reducing stress levels, you will easily access the "sleep" half of the sleep-wake cycle and enjoy a restful night. In fact, the above study also found that the participants in the test groups had improved sleep quality compared to those in the placebo group.
While stress is a primary contributor to insomnia, other causes, like mental health conditions like anxiety, might be just as detrimental.
Can Ashwagandha Help Anxiety?
Anxiety is extremely common, but the severity of the condition varies by person. Some people have mild anxiety that they can regulate so it does not impact their daily lives, whereas others suffer from debilitating anxiety disorders. Regardless of the severity of your anxiety, the effects can make everyday activities difficult to accomplish and cause mental concerns to manifest as physical symptoms. For the most part, anxiety is a mental process that is triggered by traumatic or stress-inducing stimuli. Anxiety is closely related to stress and cortisol but is not dependent on stress to manifest.
One of the most common side effects of anxiety is insomnia. Because anxiety results in constant worry or stress, we are too wired to relax long enough to fall asleep. Instead, we remain agitated and frustrated by whatever triggered the anxiety response. When dealing with chronic anxiety issues, the situation is only made worse since we are constantly at risk of suffering insomnia caused by anxiety. Depending on how severe the anxiety is, it can make it impossible to fall asleep.
Anxiety can only be treated properly with help from a mental health professional so you can identify the underlying cause. Nevertheless, you can use tools to manage the symptoms and prevent your anxiety from dictating your life. Among them is ashwagandha, which has shown promise in treating anxiety symptoms. Ashwagandha's benefits for anxiety may be connected to its ability to regulate stress hormones, but the research for this particular benefit is still in its infancy.
One study that assessed the benefits of ashwagandha on anxiety had a sample size of 60 people, all dealing with anxiety of varying degrees.
As with every study, the subjects were divided into groups:
- Test Group: The test group was given a 240 mg dose of ashwagandha extract daily for 60 days.
- Control Group: The control group was given a placebo instead of ashwagandha extract for 60 days.
By the end of the study, the test group was found to have reduced anxiety levels compared to the control group. Like in the stress studies, the ashwagandha reduced cortisol levels in the body but also lowered other hormones that can lead to anxiety responses. Through these effects, ashwagandha can feasibly reduce overall anxiety enough to give you a better chance of getting a proper night's sleep.
As previously mentioned, you should consult a mental health professional if you suffer from chronic anxiety rather than rely solely on supplements. Ashwagandha can only help you manage the symptoms, not resolve the underlying cause.
With the benefits ashwagandha has to offer for insomnia and stress, you might be more excited than before about trying it out for yourself. To do so, you will need to overcome the last obstacle of finding a source of ashwagandha you can rely on for your needs.
Keep it All Natural!
There are few sensations worse than facing the day when you could not sleep the night before. The human body needs sleep to regenerate and recover from the previous day's events and promote healthy development. If we cannot get the sleep we need to face the day, we are unlikely to lead a healthy life.
Unfortunately, modern society has allowed insomnia and stress to flourish as the average citizen is usually buried beneath responsibilities with little time for relaxation. Thankfully, supplements like ashwagandha enable us to recover some of the rest we lose to these stressors so we can continue to live our lives without dropping from exhaustion. When using something like ashwagandha, the challenge is finding a supplement source you can trust.
To that end, we at Bella All Natural invite you to try our Golden Ashwagandha powder. Since our creation, we have dedicated ourselves to providing health and beauty supplements using natural ingredients. We have always believed that the natural solution is the best solution and our ashwagandha powder is only one example of how our products encompass that philosophy. Dealing with insomnia is something no one should have to go through, and our product is just the tool you need to ensure it does not affect you. So, we invite you to visit our website and see if our product is for you.
Regardless of your decision, remember always to keep it All Natural!
Have you ever used ashwagandha to help improve your sleep quality? If so, what were your experiences with it like? Did it aid your sleep to the levels you were hoping? If you haven't tried it before, are you potentially interested in doing so now? Be sure to leave your thoughts down below!