ashwagandha roots and capsules for insomnia

INSOMNIA? Ashwagandha: A SLEEP AID You May Not Have Tried

I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.

Hormone pills like melatonin may help to “knock us out”. But a gently supporting and balancing herb may actually be more powerful. Why? Instead of increasing the sleep hormone, it helps to reduce the hormone that wakes us up: cortisol. Learn more about how to use the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha.

ashwagandha roots and capsules for insomnia


We live in a time when adrenal glands are stressed and insomnia is common. Since the body can’t thrive without sleep, many reach for over-the-counter drugs. But sleep aid medicines have side effects.

Is there a better way? I have discussed in the past three choices that helped my insomnia. Success was hard-won, after much research and years of sleepless nights.

The remedies that have brought me peaceful sleep don’t work for everyone. Another herbal approach is ashwagandha.

Let’s discuss ashwagandha’s properties and the potential benefits it may produce when used on its own.


Because it’s an adaptogen, ashwagandha (find it here) balances the body. Ashwagandha can slowly rebuild the adrenals and thyroid, hormone-producing organs that so many Americans find deficient.

If taken in the morning this herb can calm and relax, easing anxiety. If taken in the evening, many report amazing breakthroughs with long, restful nights of sleep.

Used for centuries in India, this herb has also been used to treat chronic pain (including rheumatoid arthritis), tumors, skin diseases, and male virility. It is known to protect brain cells from decay as well as balancing blood sugar levels and high blood pressure.

In Sanskrit, the name ashwagandha means literally “smell of horse”. Indeed, it is the strength of a horse that ashwagandha is purported to give.

This yellow root also has anti-microbial and anti-oxidant effects.


Ashwagandha works against insomnia by reducing cortisol in the body.

Cortisol is the hormone that should peak when we wake each morning. For some who suffer from insomnia, cortisol peaks in the middle of the night.

Like other adaptogens, ashwagandha naturally, but chemically, blocks stress receptors. GABA receptors are signaled instead by the herb’s properties, promoting a relaxed mind.

If you’ve tried other sleep aids, or ways to reduce anxiety,  but haven’t yet tried ashwagandha, it may be worth trying.


Some sources recommend taking 300 mg before bed, to prevent insomnia. With this brand, wherein the whole root is ground up, 800 mg, or 2 pills, can be taken before bed, depending on the individual.

Please consult your healthcare provider for dosage and before taking this or any other remedy.


One surprising and noteworthy fact about the herb? Ashwagandha is in the nightshade family. If you have an inflammatory response from other nightshades (such as peppers, tomatoes and potatoes), ashwagandha may not be the best choice for you.

woman wide awake in the middle of the night and ashwagandha root and capsules

What about you? Have you used ashwagandha successfully? I’d love to hear your story with this ancient herbal remedy.


Comments 31

  1. Ashwagandha is in the herbal adrenal supplement I am taking – this is really a great article Megan! Thank you for the information!

  2. I wonder if this would work for my eldest daughter. 2/4 kids fall asleep when their heads hit the pillow and 2/4 kids take foooreeeeeverrr. The other evening I heard sobbing, my 9 year old crying that she was tired but couldn’t fall asleep. I’m wary of giving something that she’s going to be dependent on though.

    1. Oh, that’s so hard. I remember having a hard time falling asleep when I was little. Most sources say it is safe for children. One Indian doctor recommends using ashwagandha oil externally for children, instead of internally. Most sources say that the dosage is 2-3 grams of the powder stirred into milk 20 minutes before bed. An older child could just easily swallow a gelatin capsule. One source said that dosage for a child should be half of that for an adult. Sources also say 60 days to 6 months for duration before taking a break. Sorry for your plight, and I hope this helps!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this info with us! I was so excited that it’s ashwagandha. I just happen to have some in the powdered form. I need to remember to take it every night. Pinned and shared.

  4. Do you have any advice where to get it from? I’m sure there are various brands. And it doesn’t make you sleepy when you take it in the morning? Thanks fro sharing.

  5. I have a bottle of these . Got them last week . I can not sleep with anxiety . One pill before bed and it does relax my mind . If I have anxiety during the day I’ll break a capsule open and take half . It calms my thoughts but I can still drive and do my work . Sometimes I’ll take a whole one during the day and a couple hours later I’ll take a hemp capsule . Works great !

  6. Ashwagandhadi Lehyam is one of the choicest tonic and it enriches the nourishment of all body tissues (dhatus). Ashwagandha, by itself, is well known rejuvenative. Its rasayana actions bestow enrichment of the nutritional quality of nutrient plasma and promotes nutrition through improving digestion and metabolism. It is one of the prime important plant used as a rejuvenator and an aphrodisiac. Rasayana nourishes all body tissues, promotes longevity and immunity and keeps a person healthy. Ashwagandhadi Lehyam consists of many ingredients, which potentiate the activities of Ashwagandha.

    Ashwagandhadi Lehyam is a blend of ashwagandha with other herbs and jaggery in a semi-liquid form, which in terms of consistency is much like fruit or berry preserves of the West. This is a prime tonic for the nourishment of all bodily tissues, particularly the plasma and blood. It promotes nutrition through healthy digestion, the metabolism, longevity, and supports the immune system. This rasayana also includes ingredients which support many of the activities of Ashwagandha. The seeds of marking nut and walnut encourage the metabolic processes of muscular tissue, encouraging the growth, strength, and healthy operation. Ingredients like indian long pepper, vanshalochana, cardamon, cinnamon, cassia leaf, and cobra’s saffron alleviate fluid buildup such as phlegm and mucous and are particularly relieving for respiratory diseases. In addition, several other herbs and spices, such as saffron encourage the aphrodisiac properties of ashwaganda, and help to balance hormones and the natural production of reproductive fluids.

    Directions for Use: One to Two tablespoonful twice daily.

  7. I tried this years ago when I was battling Lyme disease. I know it’s a good herbal supplement. But I have suffered with insomnia ever since I’ve had Lyme. I would like to try this would it be better in capsule or liquid form? Thank you

    1. Post

      Hi Janet, great question. Both have been proven effective in clinical studies. The tincture (here’s a good one: absorbs immediately into the body and has a long shelf life. For sleep, the tincture works well just before bed but can even be taken in the middle of the night. The capsules are more economical and convenient.

  8. Thanks for this info. I currently take Melatonin but would rather not. I will definitely give this a try. The fact that it works on cortisol is an added bonus.

    1. Post
  9. Hi Megan, thank you so much for this article! I have very bad insomnias and was happy to read about a natural solution that is healthier than melatonin. I bought Ashwangandha pills and took one last night before sleep but I actually had an insomnia (woke up in the middle of the night feeling nervous / agitated), do you know what might have happened?

    1. Post

      Hi Faustine, it is always a good idea to talk to a practitioner before starting a new supplement. There is some debate about the best time to take ashwagandha — usually in the morning when more energy is needed and at night when insomnia is the issue. In your case, I would definitely consult a trusted practitioner.

      1. Thank you for your answer! I will definitely talk to a practitioner about it. I’m just a bit scared that a conventional practitioner will not know a lot about it, but I hope I’ll find information. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *