Ashwagandha, the revered Ayurvedic herb (from traditional Indian Medicine), is named as such because it has been known to smell like a horse (Ashwa) as well as give you the power of a horse.
Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it is also known as Indian Ginseng. Like Ginseng, it is classified as anadaptogenic herb, medicinal herbs that nourish the body in a way to help the person adapt to stressors. They basically help your body adapt to constant change in an effort to constantly strive for homeostasis or equilibrium.
An Adaptogen That Can Be Taken At Night
One of the best things about Ashwagandha is that it is an adaptogen that can help improve sleep quality when taken at night. Most adaptogens will give you a bit of an energy spike, so it is ideal to take them only in the early parts of the day. We usually recommend they be taken in the morning or early afternoon, but ashwagandha can be effectively taken at night. The traditional way is to take powder ashwagandha in a cup of warm milk. Cow milk is known to naturally contain melatonin, however we wouldn’t recommend most commercial cow milk in this country unless it is raw and from grass-fed, organic cows.
Assisting With Your Overall Sense Of Balance/Homeostasis
The benefit of taking an adaptogen at night is much more than just helping you fall asleep faster. Taking ashwagandha at night is a great idea to help re-establish the balance of your autonomic nervous system. The ANS is the governing body of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). So many people these days are far too much in the fight or flight aspect with a lack of adaptability in high-stress, fast-pace life and therefore don’t have much ability for repair/recovery of aspects of the body that the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for.
We really feel like taking adaptogens is highly beneficial in the daytime, but an often overlooked and possibly more important regimen is to support the ANS, and general adaptability while asleep. The main reason is that most of the repair and recovery of daily stressors happens while in deep and REM sleep. If there is more support for recovery at the time you’re doing your most potent repair on your systems, this may be one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the daily stressors and allow you to thrive the next day rather than just be average.
Consider Adaptogens For Daytime and Nighttime Support
Other adaptogenic-like herbs that can be taken at night to enhance sleep quality and nourish the ANS and general adaptability of your system are herbs like L-Theanine, Melatonin, Valerian, and Cannabinoids. Interestingly, I know of a supplement that has all those.