If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle to nod off at night, you’ll be aware of the damaging effects of insomnia on your both your physical and mental health.
But the solution to insomnia doesn’t have to be medication. Instead, research suggests that adding a natural supplement to your daily routine may improve your sleep.
So let us introduce ashwagandha – an adaptogenic herb that’s been shown to improve insomnia.
Used for more than two thousand years in Ayurvedic medicine, this superfood may well be part of the solution to getting a good night’s sleep.
Ashwagandha and insomnia
Ashwagandha is known for its ability to sharpen concentration and boost energy levels, so the fact that it’s also a useful sleep aid may come as a surprise.
But while we often associate insomnia with too much energy, Ayurvedic medicine suggests that most sleep issues are actually caused by the body being too tired. As such, the Ayurvedic treatment for insomnia is not to sedate the body, but to rejuvenate it. So how exactly does ashwagandha work?
Well, it has a lot to do with stress. When cortisol levels get too high, your body’s energy levels are reduced, your blood sugar levels become unstable and your circadian clock is thrown out of whack. In other words, your chances of developing insomnia are massively increased.
That’s where ashwagandha comes in. By supporting the regulation of stress hormones, this superfood can reinvigorate the body and improve stress-related exhaustion. The result? A good night’s sleep.
4 ways ashwagandha supports healthy sleep
1. Reduces stress hormones
In healthy levels, cortisol performs a number of crucial functions. But when levels of this stress hormone begin to soar, your body begins to feel the effect. High cortisol levels can lead to mood swings, digestive problems, weight gain, and of course, insomnia. So when you’re trying to improve your sleep pattern, it’s a good idea to target cortisol levels. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can actually manage and reduce levels of cortisol in the body, helping to improve sleep in the process.
2. Contains sleep-boosting triethylene glycol (TEG)
The full benefits of ashwagandha are still being researched, which means exciting new studies are being released all the time. One of the most recent, a 2017 study by Japanese researchers, points to another reason why ashwagandha is so successful at improving sleep: the fact that it contains triethylene glycol (TEG). The researchers found that this compound significantly improves non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and slightly improves rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
3. Boosts calm and relaxation
When the body’s running low on energy reserves, stress and anxiety can kick in and your sleep cycle may begin to suffer. So to keep stress at bay, it’s a good idea to take a natural energy-boosting supplement.
Ashwagandha has been shown to help the body cope with anxiety by boosting the neural receptors responsible for receiving GABA – an important neurotransmitter in dealing with stress.
4. Antioxidant effect
Insomnia might have more to do with your environment than you first think. Studies suggest that environmental toxins can actually disrupt sleep by blocking the drainage of brain lymphatics – a problem linked to insomnia.
So to defend your body against free radicals, consuming plenty of antioxidant-rich foods including ashwagandha could be the key.
Offering plenty of the bioactive constituent glycowithanolide, ashwagandha has been shown to induce an antioxidant effect in the liver and brain, which may well boost the body’s main lymph-cleansing organ.
Insomnia can be an incredible burden to carry. But there are a number of natural supplements and tips that can help. If you’re suffering with a lack of sleep, don’t give up. Give the natural approach a go and see if you notice a difference.
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