Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy?

Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa which people have used for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration. With its stress-relieving properties in mind, does ashwagandha make you sleepy?

The Wonders Of Ashwagandha

Otherwise known as the  “Indian winter cherry” or “Indian ginseng,” Ashwagandha, in Sanskrit, means  “smell of the horse,” in reference to its scent and its potential in augmenting physical strength. It is considered a principal part of herbal treatment in the Ayurveda, an ancient Indian form of alternative medicine based on the concept of natural healing. It is generally used for the following:

  • Decreasing anxiety and depression
  • Reducing stress
  • Relieving fatigue 
  • Relieving Joint pain
  • Treating diabetes
  • Increasing testosterone levels
  • Reducing blood sugar levels
  • Lowering cortisol levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Augmenting muscle mass and strength
  • Boosting male fertility
  • Lowering cholesterol levels

Ashwagandha contains compounds such as withanolides, known for their anxiolytic properties, that is to say, their ability to decrease anxiety and stress, glycowithanolides, which contains antioxidant properties, and alkaloids, which typically exhibit antiproliferation, antibacterial, antiviral, insecticidal, and antimetastatic effects. These compounds are likely responsible for the ashwagandha shrub’s healing properties and health benefits.

We wrote an entire article regarding the benefits of ashwagandha for men.

The Value Of Good Sleep

Good sleep, as we know, is vital for one’s health since it enables the body to repair and be geared up and ready for another day. Yet, sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of a person’s health and well-being. In the United States alone, about 35.2% of adults have been reported to sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night regularly.

Another study reports that 36% of adults use both pharmaceutical and alternative medicine to assist or treat various ailments, including sleep disorders, or simply induce sleep. Ashwagandha is one such natural remedy that, due to its stress-relieving benefits, people tend to take whenever they have sleeping problems, but what exactly is the science behind it?

Ashwagandha and Sleep

Sleep And Ashwagandha

As mentioned above, ashwagandha’s main active compound, withanolides, carries many health benefits and enhances GABA receptors, a key part of the sleep-wake circuit. It also induces stress relief. Stress has always been associated with poor sleep quality and excessive daytime drowsiness; thus, relieving stress could benefit and facilitate better sleep in the long run. Other compounds present in ashwagandha also play a part in delivering its sleep-promoting effects. Triethylene glycol naturally present in the herb may bring on sleepiness, according to the findings of some researchers.

Recent research also back ashwagandha’s qualities in helping people fall asleep faster, sleep longer and have better sleep quality. In one study, participants described their sleep quality improving up to 72% better, on average, after having taken ashwagandha for a period of six weeks. One placebo-controlled study found its participants seeing significant improvements in several sleep markers compared to those in the placebo group.

So, Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy?

Ashwagandha has a relaxing effect on the body due to its main active ingredient, withanolides. Research published by PubMed has shown that in addition to that the triethylene glycol that is present in the herb may be responsible for sleep induction.

So yes, Ashwagandha can help with your sleep but it does not have an immediate effect. It does not immediately make you feel sleepy.

How To Take Ashwagandha

If you’re set on taking ashwagandha for your sleeping woes, luckily, you won’t have to worry about going deep into the forests in Asia and Africa to look for the shrubs. Ashwagandha supplements are available in multiple forms like powder, tea, pill, tincture, or gummies. Some of these products may also be mixed with other herbs or vitamins. You can take it before you go to bed to promote good sleep quality. Taking it in the morning is likewise recommended.

When using ashwagandha supplements, like the blue goli gummies it’s important to follow the instructions of each product you buy. While the optimal dosage of ashwagandha is debatable, it actually differs between supplements. However, the typical recommended doses used to facilitate and induce sleep are typically between 250 to 600 milligrams.

Taking 500 to 600 mg of ashwagandha daily for a maximum of 12 weeks may reduce anxiety and lower the risk of insomnia among people suffering from stress and anxiety disorders. However, it’s advisable to not use ashwagandha for more than three consecutive months, since the long-term effects of its use have not been fully established yet. 

Ashwagandha has no known severe interactions with any drugs. When it’s taken together with multivitamins, your everyday health needs are satisfactorily met and your body can achieve peak performance. While taking ashwagandha daily is generally safe, people should never take it beyond the recommended doses. Large doses may result in serious health problems. 

Side Effects Of Taking Ashwagandha

Side effects attributed to ashwagandha intake are quite rare, but they do happen every once in a while. These often stem from taking excessive doses, or physical incompatibility.

Stomach Problems

Stomach trouble is the more common side effect of taking ashwagandha. People who have taken it improperly have experienced uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea due to the amount of ashwagandha irritating the membranes inside the stomach.

Drowsiness

While ashwagandha may help you get better sleep at night, it can make you drowsy even in the day. It’s an unwanted side effect that a few users experience, interfering with their daily tasks such as studying, exercising, or even driving a vehicle. 

Who Shouldn’t Take Ashwagandha

Certain groups of people are advised not to take ashwagandha, especially not without consulting with their doctors first:

Pregnant Women

Taking ashwagandha is generally regarded as unsafe in pregnancies as it can sometimes induce miscarriages. Some of Its compounds can cause miscarriage, premature birth, or even uterine contractions. 

People With Thyroid Problems

Ashwagandha can potentially alter thyroid function and boost thyroid hormones, which could be dangerous for people who have hyperthyroidism. 

Prostate Cancer Patients

Ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels which could be dangerous for patients with prostate cancer.  

People With Autoimmune Disorders

While this Ayurvedic herb might be highly beneficial for some, it can be detrimental to others, especially to people suffering from autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

People With Stomach Ulcers

If you’re suffering from stomach ulcers, you should talk with your doctor first before even considering taking ashwagandha supplements since it can irritate the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, which in turn can affect the ulcers. 

People Taking Certain Medications

If you’re taking medications such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or anticonvulsants, then you might want to rethink taking ashwagandha, as their interactions might induce drowsiness.