Getting a good night’s sleep may seem like a pipe dream in this day and age of stress, pressures at the workplace, balancing home, kids and career. It is normal to turn to prescription drugs for a quiet and sound sleep. Sleeping pills can be addictive and their prolonged use often reduces the effectiveness. Hence, it is always better to try natural remedies and non- addictive herbs to combat the problems of insomnia and other sleep related disorders.
Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry or Indian ginseng, is a herb that helps induce sleep. It’s Latin name Withania Somnifera translates to ‘sleep inducing’. There have been many studies to suggest that Ashwagandha has a positive impact on the brain. It has a tranquilising effect that reduces tension and irritability, relieves anxiety and relaxes muscles.
Moreover, for treatment of insomnia when stress is a contributing factor, it is necessary to stick to a routine at bedtime. Going to bed at the same time every day, taking warm milk at bedtime, and trying relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, yoga and meditation will help one to fall asleep.
Ashwagandha extract is an ideal treatment for anxiety and stress that contribute to sleep difficulties. The herb reduces cortisol release from the body’s adrenal glands. Cortisol has long been known to contribute to insomnia, high blood pressure and depression. These are all factors that lead to nights of tossing and turning. Ashwagandha’s ability to restrain cortisol release makes it an excellent natural remedy for sleeplessness.
Another reason why ashwagandha contributes to restful sleep is that this herb is beneficial in normalising the functioning of certain organs which for some reason are not working properly, or are malfunctioning.
One needs to take ashwagandha for at least 3 to 4 weeks to get results because the effect of this herb is cumulative. And to experience the full range of its benefits, it has to be taken for several months. However, some physicians recommend taking a break after two months or so.
The side-effects of ashwagandha root are rare. According to Peter Litchfield, who is a personal and professional coach and modern day ‘Sleep Hygiene’ expert, sleep inducing herbs will also cause dependency as medications. He says that one may benefit initially, but the potency of these herbs is limited by dosage and is easily adapted to by the body. So, one would need more and more as the effects become less and the dependency increases exactly like sleeping pills.
The advice is to use sleep herbs like Ashwagandha occasionally when you are especially anxious or worried and need a good night’s sleep before a big day.
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