Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy?

Updated on March 15, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
The calming effects of Ashwagandha on sleep and relaxation explored in an article.

Does Ashwagandha make you tired?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an ancient herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is revered for its ability to promote overall well-being and reduce stress and anxiety.

Recently, there has been increased interest in the effects of Ashwagandha on sleep. Many people wonder if Ashwagandha can actually make them sleepy. In this article, we will explore the connection between Ashwagandha and sleep to help you understand its potential effects.

Understanding Ashwagandha and Its Effects

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress and promotes a sense of balance. It is often used to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mood. Ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional system of medicine that originated in India.

Premium Ashwagandha supplements make the most of the active compounds in this herb, known as withanolides, have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

These compounds interact with various neurotransmitters in the brain, which may contribute to the herb’s stress-relieving and anxiety-reducing effects. Overall, Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that offers many health benefits for overall well-being, such as:

  • Reduced Stress: It helps to reduce stress and anxiety by regulating the body’s cortisol levels.
  • Mental Health: Ashwagandha has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory, making it beneficial for individuals experiencing cognitive decline or age-related memory loss.
  • Immune Health: It supports a healthy immune system by boosting the production of immune cells and enhancing their function.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of conditions such as arthritis.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Ashwagandha has been found to support a healthy cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Weight Loss: It aids in weight management by reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) which can lead to weight gain, especially around the belly area.
  • Increased Testosterone: Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance athletic performance and increase muscle strength and endurance by raising testosterone levels.
  • Antioxidant: Ashwagandha has antioxidant properties, helping to combat free radicals in the body and protect cells from damage.
  • Hormonal Regulation: It is also beneficial for hormonal balance, particularly in women, by supporting the regulation of estrogen and progesterone levels.

Does Ashwagandha Make You More Awake?

This alternative medicine to assist with sleeping difficulties is very versatile. Although it promotes better sleep due to its stress-relieving qualities, does it also keep you awake?

While Ashwagandha is primarily known for its ability to support stress relief and promote relaxation, it also has a positive effect on wakefulness and alertness. By acting as an adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps the body and mind adapt to various stressors, which can lead to increased energy levels and mental clarity. This herb is believed to enhance overall brain function, sharpen focus, and improve cognitive performance, thus making you feel more awake and attentive throughout the day. 

Contrary to its reputation as a sleep aid, Ashwagandha does not make you feel more awake. While it has many health benefits and helps with stress and anxiety, it does not have stimulating effects that would promote wakefulness. The main active compounds in Ashwagandha, such as withanolides and triethylene glycol, have calming and relaxing properties that aid in sleep onset. 

However, it is important to note that Ashwagandha does not have an immediate or sedating effect, and its effects on sleep vary from person to person.

The Connection Between Ashwagandha and Sleep

While Ashwagandha is not primarily known for its sedative effects, some research suggests that it may have a positive impact on sleep quality and duration. While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of Ashwagandha on sleep in humans, these initial studies suggest that Ashwagandha may have potential benefits for improving sleep quality and promoting restful sleep.

Ashwagandha has been found to have adaptogen properties with an ability to reduce stress and anxiety. While its primary effects are not sedative, some research suggests that Ashwagandha has the potential to improve sleep quality and duration. 

Scientific Studies on Ashwagandha and Sleep

While Ashwagandha may help make you sleepy, it is not directly responsible for sleep induction. However, there are some studies that have explored its potential effects on sleep quality and efficiency.

  • In a clinical trial conducted on individuals with insomnia, Ashwagandha supplementation was found to improve sleep quality and reduce sleep latency. The study suggested that Ashwagandha may have a positive impact on sleep patterns and overall sleep efficiency.(1)
  • Another research study investigated the effects of Ashwagandha on stress and sleep in individuals with chronic stress. The findings showed that Ashwagandha supplementation was associated with improved sleep quality, reduced stress levels, and increased feelings of well-being.(2)
  • Furthermore, a study found that Ashwagandha supplementation increased the duration of both non-REM (deep) sleep and REM sleep in healthy adults. These stages of sleep are important for various physiological and cognitive processes.(3)

While the existing studies are promising, more clinical trials are required to establish its efficacy and safety in managing sleep-related issues, as well as to decipher the optimal dosage of Ashwagandha needed to help support healthy sleep patterns.  

Does Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy?

Ashwagandha is not a sedative, so it won’t directly make you feel sleepy. However, it can aid in achieving a night of better and more restful sleep by assisting with:

  1. Reducing anxiety and stress
  2. Promoting relaxation
  3. Improving sleep quality

Ashwagandha contains bioactive compounds called withanolides,(4) which have been shown to possess various pharmacological properties, including anti-stress and sedative effects.

It is important to note that the effects of Ashwagandha on sleep may vary from person to person, and further research is needed to fully understand its mechanism of action and its effectiveness in promoting sleep.

Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Before considering the use of any supplement, it is crucial to understand the potential side effects and contraindications. When it comes to Ashwagandha, it is well-tolerated by most individuals and does not have any severe long-term effects. However, there have been reports of certain side effects, including gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions, although these are considered as being rare.

In terms of its impact on wakefulness, Ashwagandha is not typically associated with making people drowsy or sleepy. It is often used for its adaptogen properties, which help manage stress levels and promote relaxation, but it is not known to induce sleep directly. 

Safe Use of Ashwagandha for Sleep

Ashwagandha helps to support sleep, and if you’re wanting to use it for this purpose, then it is recommended to follow these guidelines:

  1. Consult with a healthcare provider: It is essential to discuss with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including Ashwagandha, to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
  2. Start with a low dosage: It is advisable to start with a low dosage of Ashwagandha and gradually increase if needed. This allows your body to adjust and reduces the risk of potential side effects.
  3. Monitor your response: Pay attention to how your body responds to Ashwagandha. Some individuals may experience different effects, so it’s essential to be aware of any changes in sleep patterns or wakefulness.
  4. Be consistent: To experience the potential benefits of Ashwagandha, it is important to be consistent with its use. Follow the recommended dosage and take it regularly as suggested by your healthcare provider.


While scientific evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may have a positive impact on sleep quality and help reduce stress levels, it is also worth noting that Ashwagandha is not a substitute for good sleep hygiene practices. Other ways to combat poor sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule are to create a sleep-friendly environment and practicing relaxation techniques before bed. Combining these practices with Ashwagandha may contribute to a better overall sleep experience.

In conclusion, while Ashwagandha shows promise in promoting better sleep, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and potential benefits. If you are experiencing sleep issues, it is advisable to consult with your doctor before taking Ashwagandha in order to get a comprehensive approach to improving your sleep quality.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Langade, Deepak et al. “Clinical evaluation of the pharmacological impact of ashwagandha root extract on sleep in healthy volunteers and insomnia patients: A double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 264 (2021): 113276. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2020.113276 ↩
  2. Speers, Alex B et al. “Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on Stress and the Stress- Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia.” Current neuropharmacology vol. 19,9 (2021): 1468-1495. doi:10.2174/1570159X19666210712151556 ↩
  3. Cheah, Kae Ling et al. “Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 16,9 e0257843. 24 Sep. 2021, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257843 ↩
  4. Chen, Li-Xia et al. “Natural withanolides: an overview.” Natural product reports vol. 28,4 (2011): 705-40. doi:10.1039/c0np00045k ↩