October 3, 2023

Can Ashwagandha Help With Sleep?

Can Ashwagandha Help With Sleep?
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Diving into the online world, you'd think our medicine cabinets should be chock-full of supplements, with Ashwagandha reigning supreme on platforms like TikTok. This herb is lauded for elevating energy and focus, enhancing sleep, and curbing stress. Scientifically? There's some truth to the buzz.

What Exactly is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a prominent herb in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient healthcare practice that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. Its scientific name, Withania somnifera, offers a hint to its properties, with "somnifera" meaning "sleep-inducing" in Latin, pointing to its traditional use to aid relaxation and sleep.

This perennial shrub is native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East but has gained traction in Western countries due to increasing interest in holistic health solutions.

Botanical Classification

Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family, including common vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes. The plant usually stands about 1.5–2 meters tall. Its flowers are greenish or lurid yellow, while its fruit, when ripe, is orange-red and has milk-coagulating properties.

Does ashwagandha increase height

Usage and Forms

The primary part of the plant used for therapeutic purposes is the root, although leaves and berries also hold medicinal properties. Ashwagandha is formulated into teas, powders, tinctures, and capsules. These formulations aim to harness its beneficial compounds, the most studied of which are withanolides, believed to have many health-promoting properties.

Pharmacological Properties

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body cope with external stresses such as environmental toxins and internal stresses like anxiety and insomnia. The principle behind adaptogens is their ability to regulate important hormones, promoting body balance. In the case of ashwagandha, it is particularly noted for its potential to modulate cortisol levels, a hormone that plays a pivotal role in the body's stress response.

Given its wide-ranging potential benefits, ashwagandha remains the subject of extensive research and is becoming an integral part of discussions around natural remedies and supplements. As with any supplement, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into a health regimen.

Ashwagandha's Potential Perks

Research indicates that ashwagandha might:

  • Mitigate stress reactions
  • Alleviate anxiety
  • Sharpen cognitive abilities, including memory
  • Lessen inflammation

But, Can It Truly Enhance Sleep?

While popularly consumed to aid sleep, evidence remains patchy. Dr. Jennifer Martin, ex-president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, notes the inconsistent findings. While a 2019 research report suggests it reduces anxiety and betters sleep, another study concurs but has a limited sample size.

close up photography of woman sleeping
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

However, relying solely on ashwagandha or even other supplements like melatonin for sleep may not be the answer. Martin stresses the importance of a sound sleep routine and environment. “No Ayurvedic concoction can rectify poor sleep habits,” she asserts. Dr. Ana Krieger from Weill Cornell Medicine also champions a stellar nighttime regimen for optimal results.

If sleep remains elusive, it's best to consult health professionals.

Safety Dosage of Ashwagandha?

A daily intake of around 500 mg is deemed safe. Still, it's wise to discuss dosages with a healthcare provider due to variances in forms and purposes. Be wary: some supplements might contain ingredients or concentrations not explicitly mentioned. Dr. Krieger advises opting for NSF International-certified products.

In more detail: How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take?

Any Side Effects to Know?

While ashwagandha is generally safe, it can lead to:

It might also pose liver issues, particularly when combined with certain medications. Pregnant or nursing women should steer clear.

Remember: Before venturing into the world of supplements, always consult your physician. They'll guide you through potential interactions or complications.


  1. Ashwagandha's Online Popularity: Ashwagandha has gained notable traction on platforms like TikTok for purportedly boosting energy, focus, and sleep while reducing stress.
  2. Ashwagandha's Origins: A staple in Ayurvedic medicine, this herb, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, comes from shrubs primarily in India and Africa. It's available in multiple forms: tea, powder, and capsules.
  3. Benefits: As an adaptogen, ashwagandha may regulate cortisol levels, thus potentially reducing stress, anxiety, and inflammation and enhancing cognitive functions.
  4. Sleep Enhancement: Although some research indicates ashwagandha can aid sleep and reduce anxiety, the evidence isn't consistent. Experts like Dr. Martin emphasize good sleep habits over supplements for sleep improvement.
  5. Safety and Side-effects: A daily dose of up to 500 mg is considered safe, but consultation with a healthcare provider is essential. Potential side effects include digestive issues, fatigue, and headaches. It's advised to choose NSF International-certified supplements and consult a physician before starting any new supplement.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6979308/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827862/
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