Sleep problems are more common in this modern world. Sleep is important for healthy, quality living. Trouble in sleeping has been linked to poor health. Stress is a common factor that affects a person’s ability to sleep. It can disrupt the body’s natural ability to fall and stay asleep. In ayurveda, sleep is linked to lack of energy reserve than having too much of it. The principle is that the body needs to rebuild and rejuvenate the reserves in order to have the energy to fall and stay asleep deeply.
Ashwagandha, a known ayurvedic herb, supports sound sleeping by rejuvenating the body and working on stress related tiredness. Also called Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is popularly becoming a wonder adaptogen that helps the body cope with stress by supporting the adrenal system’s function to produce hormones at the right levels.
Ashwagandha is being used as a natural aid in inducing sleep by boosting energy levels and restoring the body’s natural sleeping mechanism. It is known to benefit different body systems including the immune, endocrinal and reproductive systems. It improves overall health and provides the energy you need to do your work. The following are the ways on how the wonder herb can help you have a good night sleep.
It lowers stress levels
Stress can lead to sleep deprivation. Stress has become part of many people’s lives, from traffic to finances; it is easy to feel pressure in different areas of life. When you are stressed, it could be difficult for you to wind down when the day ends or stay asleep through the night. Certainly, it affects the quality of your sleep for it causes hyperarousal wherein sleep and wakefulness are hard to balance.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha makes it easy for you to adapt to stress. It acts on the body’s response to stress and offers a range of other benefits. Stress is connected to the body’s adrenal glands that produce cortisol or stress hormone. Cortisol is faster to release than other stress hormones such as adrenaline. It is produced in response to stress. The human body usually produces just enough cortisol, but some conditions lead to its overproduction and later to more health problems.
Ashwagandha works by boosting the adrenal system, supporting normal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal function. This means the three communicate effectively to produce just the right number of cortisol. This makes your body respond properly when faced with stressful situations.
It fights insomnia
Insomnia is a result of the body’s inability to regulate sleeping cycles due to different factors including chronic stress, hormonal balance, metabolism and immunity. The body’s natural sleeping pattern is primarily driven by two mechanisms, namely the circadian rhythm and sleep wake homeostasis. The first one is like our internal body clock that aligns with regular day and night cycle. The other is the increase and decrease in adenosine in the brain and other substances that regulate sleep depending on the length of time being awake or asleep.
Normally, the body can regulate normal sleeping cycle and when the two mechanisms are disrupted, insomnia is triggered. Ashwagandha is a natural cure for insomnia especially if it is due to chronic stress. It is also recommended to stick to a regular bedtime routine and getting enough exercise. Aside from having stress-busting properties, it can make you more active and robust during the day, boosting your body’s natural ability to induce sleep at night. The herb works on the different systems of the body and help address root causes of insomnia.
It calms anxiety
Anxiety is characterized by worried thoughts, feelings of tension and high blood pressure, to name a few. It can be temporary or chronic, leading to mental disorders. Anxiety disorders affect sleep negatively. Sleep and anxiety are connected. When you are less anxious, you sleep soundly. This is also true the other way around. If you have a good quality sleep, you are more likely to fight anxiety. This is why experts say that either sleep or anxiety come first. The plant has
Ashwagandha has been found to help calm anxiety and even agoraphobia, or fear of crowded or open places. It is like a natural anti-anxiety herb that balances the body’s nervous and adrenal systems to better adapt to stressful conditions. It balances hormones known to contribute to anxiety. The herb has so-called withanolides, which are phytochemicals that regulate hormones. Withanolides serve as precursors to hormones that manage stress responses. These are not just claims for there are scientific evidences that support them. Several studies were done to show that ashwagandha helps lower stress level, fight insomnia and social dysfunction.
It normalizes blood sugar levels
Sleep and blood sugar level are related. If you are sleep deprived, your blood sugar level tend to increase, as well as your diabetes risk. It also works the other way; if your blood sugar is too high; your sleep also gets affected. Sleep is important in the body’s capacity to metabolize glucose. Thus, sleep quality affects how the body responds to insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. The body also has a natural rhythm for falling asleep and waking up or the circadian rhythm, as mentioned above.
Diabetes can also be managed the safer way, through ayurveda and the use of natural herbs such as ashwagandha. Studies support that the plant is effective in managing and preventing diabetes. It increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and tolerance to glucose. It can even lower blood glucose level by as much as 12%. When you take ashwagandha as supplement, it can help maintain your normal blood sugar level.
It has antioxidant properties
Various studies were done about ashwagandha in order to find out its properties. One of which indicates that it has antioxidant, rejuvenating effects. The plant contains active ingredients such as flavonoids and other withanolides, accounting to its medicinal abilities. The molecules of these ingredients are said to be comparable to the constituents of gensenosides or Asian ginseng. Based on studies, ashwagandha was seen to provide powerful antioxidant protection. The natural antioxidants are catalase, glutathione peroxidise and superoxide dismutase. It supports cognition and fights aging and inflammation.
In more recent studies, experts report that antioxidants aid sleep for they help support the immune system, slowing down restlessness and irritations when bedtime comes. Effective antioxidants are said to restore the internal equilibrium of the body during sleep, boosting calmness needed for deep sleep. Clinical studies are now looking into the effects of antioxidants on falling and staying asleep. It was already observed that other benefits include better liver function. A Greek study is now looking into the relation between oxidative stress and obstructive sleep apnea. Taking natural, safe supplements such as ashwagandha is helpful in fighting toxins and achieving sleeping better.
It burns fat
Sleep and weight loss? Is there a connection? According to an Australian based research, losing some inches round your tummy can aid in a good night’s sleep. Changes in your diet might not just be helpful in achieving your ideal weight but also in reducing the effects of obstructive sleep apnea and improving your sleeping pattern. Participants of the study also reported to reduce their cholesterol level, blood glucose and blood pressure. Diet experts say that one very effective way to enhance sleep is to make the body burn more fat.
The good thing about ashwagandha is that it can burn fat naturally and help you lose weight even when you are under stress. In a study, overweight adults were given the herb for 8 weeks. During the fourth and eighth week, they were asked to measure their body weight, serum cortisol and body mass index and were also required to answer standards happiness questionnaire, food cravings questionnaire, stress scale and eating questionnaire. It reported that ashwagandha plant could fight stress and cravings and support weight loss and mood.
It supports cardiovascular health
Sleep deprivation increases the risk for heart diseases to develop. In turn, having a heart condition also makes it difficult for a person to get a good quality sleep. Their relation is thus bidirectional. Two common sleeping problems developed by people with heart illnesses are insomnia and sleep apnea. It is quite unsurprising that if you have heart ailment, you experience disturbed sleep that can lead to insomnia. Worse, your heart failure could be linked to sleep apnea. The latter is interrupted breathing while sleeping. Palpitations can also make you difficult to fall or stay asleep.
The good news is that ashwagandha is good for the heart, too. Again, several studies back this claim. The herb can decrease blood cholesterol, that when built up in the walls of the arteries, can cause atherosclerosis. It also improves blood circulation that benefit the heart. It relaxes blood vessels and stimulates blood flow. Ashwagandha’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties is also beneficial to the heart. Since it is an adaptogen, it supports normal metabolism, thyroid health and testosterone production. It can fight stress, which is bad for the heart.