Effects of Ashwagandha Extract on Sleep in Patients with Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects a significant portion of the population. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing poor-quality sleep. The impact of insomnia on one's overall health and well-being cannot be overstated, as it can lead to daytime fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and even increased risk of chronic diseases.
As a result, there is a growing interest in finding effective and safe treatments for insomnia. One such treatment that has gained attention in recent years is the use of Ashwagandha extract. Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for its adaptogenic and sedative properties.
Several studies have investigated the effects of Ashwagandha extract withanolides on sleep in patients with insomnia, and the results have been promising. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by Raut et al., 60 patients with chronic insomnia were divided into two groups. One group received 300 mg of Ashwagandha extract twice daily for 10 weeks, while the other group received a placebo.
The study found that the group receiving Ashwagandha extract experienced significant improvements in sleep quality compared to the placebo group. The participants reported a decrease in sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), an increase in total sleep time, and an improvement in sleep efficiency (the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed). These improvements were also accompanied by a reduction in anxiety and stress levels.
Another study conducted by Langade et al. investigated the effects of Ashwagandha extract on sleep in healthy individuals. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either 300 mg of Ashwagandha extract or a placebo for six weeks. The study found that the group receiving Ashwagandha extract had improved sleep quality, increased sleep duration, and reduced sleep onset latency compared to the placebo group.
The exact mechanism by which Ashwagandha standardized extract improves sleep is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be related to its ability to modulate the stress response and promote relaxation. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, and increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleep.
Furthermore, Ashwagandha extract has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may also contribute to its sleep-enhancing effects. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress have been implicated in the pathophysiology of insomnia, and by reducing these processes, Ashwagandha extract may help improve sleep quality.
It is important to note that while these studies suggest the potential benefits of Ashwagandha extract for improving sleep in patients with insomnia, further research is needed to confirm these findings and determine optimal dosages and treatment durations.