If you’re like most people in the world, you’d give your right hand for a guaranteed good night’s sleep. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s true that a full, restful, restorative night’s sleep is fleeting for many Americans. We work hard, play harder, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Even if you can alter your schedule so that you have seven to nine hours in your bed each night, the effects of our busy lifestyles rear their ugly heads well into the evening hours and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. Insomnia is a common problem, exacerbated by sugary diets, excess amounts of caffeine, hours and hours in front of blue light and screens each day, and much of our work and leisure is done from a sitting position instead of moving our bodies in active daily tasks. These all combine to create the perfect storm for nights full of tossing and turning, no matter how tired our brains or bodies might feel.
That’s where Raw Botanics comes in. We want to provide society with healthy, natural alternatives and choices to better our bodies and our lifestyles. Some of the best natural sleep supplements on the market are offered through our company, and you can trust that we have combed the world for ingredients that work and that are good for you, with nothing to worry about.
The Basics of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha isn’t just one of the best natural sleep supplements—it is hailed by experts in Ayurvedic medicine as one of the best herbs out there to relieve stress and anxiety, enhance physical performance, improve testosterone levels, and ease reproductive struggles. It is classified as an adaptogen, which means that it is in the category of compounds used for stress relief, or to protect the body from stressful environmental factors. The herb works to reduce cortisol levels in the body, thus reducing the anxiety around stressful situations. Heightened cortisol levels are associated with trouble sleeping and general restlessness, as well as other long-lasting health struggles.
This herb is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry; the Latin name is Withania somnifera. Most ashwagandha supplements have an extract taken from the plant’s roots.
How Ashwagandha Works
This plant is composed of many bioactive compounds that work together to help increase health benefits, including better sleep. These include alkaloids, steroids, steroidal lactones, glycosides, and flavonoids. The steroidal lactones in particular are full of a compound called withanolides. These are oft considered the main beneficial compound in ashwagandha.
All of these compounds together create a plant that is both anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It also is highly influential in decreasing cortisol levels that are stimulated by the stress response in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In layman’s terms, this means that the specific area of your brain which is responsible for recognizing stress and creating cortisol to deal with that stress is “calmed” by ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has naturally occurring elements of trimethylene glycol, which helps promote a sleepy state of mind, and it has also been shown to act positively on GABAA receptors, which are an essential part of the “sleep-wake” cycle. As well, scientists often agree that there are probably many yet-undiscovered compounds present in the natural plant that add to its therapeutic properties, similar to how eating fresh fruits and vegetables will always be better for you than simply taking a man-made vitamin to get your necessary nutrients.
Ashwagandha as a Sleep Aid
You have many choices for sleep supplements that are on the market today. What makes ashwagandha different? Not only is it a natural herb that isn’t hindered by the negative side effects of Western pharmaceuticals, but it is beneficial for people to use if they are plagued by something they would identify as ‘insomnia.’
Most people who use ashwagandha as a sleep aid find benefits when they take it in two doses: morning and evening. Although it is used for other benefits with dosages as low as 250 mg/day, it is most beneficial when used in amounts closer to 600 mg/day. Both the preliminary research and anecdotal evidence shows that people who find ashwagandha helpful for sleep have reported benefits in not only falling asleep faster, but staying asleep longer and experiencing higher sleep quality. People continued to find these results even after six weeks of taking their supplements. Always follow the directions on your particular supplement, but remember that it shouldn’t be taken consistently for longer than three months at a time.
Ashwagandha as a sleep aid comes in many forms, including gummies, pills, powder, tea, or a tincture. Depending on the form and the quality of the product you are purchasing, the price will vary as well. Oftentimes, you will also find that ashwagandha is combined with other herbs for a multipurpose supplement.