ashwagandha helps insomnia and non-restorative sleep

Insomnia is a common and frustrating problem that can seriously affect quality of life. A new herbal superstar is quietly rising on the horizon.

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb from India’s system of natural medicine that has been used for over 2,500 years. A quickly growing body of research is highlighting this ancient herb as a potential treatment for the all too common modern problem of insomnia.

Non-restorative sleep is just what it sounds like: even though you seem to be sleeping well, you wake up feeling unrefreshed. It is quite a common problem, affecting about 10% of people. It is also a frustrating problem because it leaves you feeling tired, hampers cognitive function and lowers quality of life.

A new double-blind study suggests that ashwagandha may be the answer. 144 healthy people with high non-restorative sleep measures took either a placebo or 120mg of ashwagandha extract standardized for 42mg of withanolides for 6 weeks.

Sleep quality improved by 72% in the ashwagandha group while the placebo group experienced only a 29% improvement: a significant benefit. Compared to the placebo, the people taking ashwagandha also had significant improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, sleep latency and periods of wakefulness after falling asleep. The ashwagandha group also had improved quality of life scores for the physical, psychological and environmental domains.

The ashwagandha was able to reduce non-restorative sleep measures, which improved sleep quality and quality of life.

The ashwagandha was safe: no one experienced an adverse event.

This study is the first to look at ashwagandha specifically for non-restorative sleep. But the exciting thing is that it is at least the third study in the past year to reveal ashwagandha’s potential power over insomnia.

Sleep Medicine 2020;72:28-36

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For much more on treating insomnia, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia .

For comprehensive help with insomnia, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now. Linda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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