Numerous studies across the academic research support the use of ashwagandha supplementation as an aid to improve the quality of sleep, according to a literature review presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 4 to 8, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Sleep disorder is a major limitation in living life to [its] full potential,” according to the presentation. “Ashwagandha has been shown to have beneficial effects in decreasing time to fall asleep, improving duration, quality of sleep, and mood upon waking.”

The researchers included 8 studies in their review. They found that most studies explored the safety profile of the herb, reporting few adverse effects. The studies also enumerated the clinical significance of any beneficial effects of its use using multiple rating scales of assessment.


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One of the studies reviewed shows that ashwagandha significantly shortens sleep onset latency (P =.019) after 10 weeks compared with a placebo. Another demonstrated significant improvement in both quality and duration of sleep in patients who began using ashwagandha (P <.001). That research also found patients experienced improved mood upon awakening compared with before they adopted the ashwagandha regimen (P =.001). 

The deleterious side effects, noted in 1 particular study reviewed, included headache, fever, acid reflux, and allergic dermatitis.

Developed from a shrub, ashwagandha — also called Indian Ginseng, winter cherry, or poison gooseberry — has a reputation in alternative therapy for an ability to aid in stress and anxiety reduction, according to the study.

The researchers relied on PubMed, PubMed Central, Medline, Web of Science, Biosis, and SciELO databases to identify research. The study was limited by the availability of data and lack of clinical trials to establish the precise mechanism of action as it relates to sleep.

“The findings support the efficacy of ashwagandha for sleep quality,” according to the study.

Reference

Ashraf S, Shah K, Aedma K, Mansuri Z, Jain S. Safety and efficacy of ashwagandha for sleep: a systemic review. Presented at SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, North Carolina. Abstract 694.