If you regularly take ashwagandha, or are researching it for the first time, you might be wondering about how best to fit it into your routine. In this article, we’ll be answering some of the most common questions we get about taking ashwagandha, starting with: do I take ashwagandha in the morning or night?December 22, 2021 5:43 pm December 22, 2021 3:56 pm
When to take ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a root which is very important in Indian traditional medicine. It is probably best-known as being a sleep aid and stress reducer.
(If you need a quick recap, head over to our article which explains more about ashwagandha’s origins, uses and benefits.)
As a result, many people like to take it in the evening, before bed.
However, there’s also a case for taking it at other times of day. Ultimately, it depends on what works for you and which benefits are most important to you.
To find the right time for you, let’s look at the case for each time of day. Further down, we’ll also talk about some things to bear in mind when taking ashwagandha. Follow these to make sure you have the best possible experience with this special plant.
Ashwagandha and sleep
In scientific studies, ashwagandha has been shown to have a small but significant effect on improving sleep quantity and quality.(1)
This backs up thousands of years of knowledge from the ancient Indian medical practice of Ayurveda.
While our way of living tends to encourage us to simply ‘push through’ periods of poor sleep, it’s important to address the issue.
Poor sleep is a public health concern which results in a greater likelihood of accidents, higher absenteeism, healthcare costs and even premature death.(2)
Not to mention its effects on your individual wellbeing! Sleeping badly over a long period can make us feel exhausted, crotchety and bring on that all-too-familiar brain fog.
However, pharmacological treatments for insomnia often have unpleasant side effects which many patients find unacceptable.(1) As a result, they’re reaching for herbal alternatives in ever greater numbers. Ashwagandha is one of the herbs which is attracting interest in this area, and so far the results have been promising.
One review found that ashwagandha was able to improve sleep, anxiety levels and mental alertness first thing in the morning.(1)
Should I take ashwagandha in the evening?
If you’re keen to take advantage of ashwagandha’s benefits for your sleep, it’s a good idea to take it in the evening. That way, you’ll absorb the benefits of the root as you drift off.
We recommend waiting until 30 minutes to one hour after your evening meal, and then taking your ashwagandha.
We love to mix our Organic Ashwagandha Powder into a soothing moon milk. Not only is this the perfect vehicle for ashwagandha (more on that below), it turns it into a relaxing part of your bedtime ritual.
So, mix yourself up a moon milk, dim the lights and catch up with your favorite book or podcast. Bliss.
Ashwagandha’s benefits beyond sleep
However, ashwagandha doesn’t just help you get a good night’s rest. It has other benefits too – and some that may be of most help during the day.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can help modulate your body’s response to stress. There’s plenty more detail about this in our article about adaptogens and their uses, but we’ll summarize briefly here.
When your body responds to a stressor (be it mental or physical), you enter a state of alarm. This could be represented by being out camping and spotting a grizzly bear on the edges of the campsite!
This brief period followed by a longer secondary period of stress, usually when you’re dealing with the problem. For instance, running away from the bear.
Finally, once you’ve run out of energy, you enter a phase of exhaustion (hopefully long after you’ve outrun the bear).
This is all well and good if there really is a ferocious predator nearby, but in most of our lives the stress response is activated by things like work pressure, financial worries and other emotional stresses.
Ashwagandha and other adaptogens help by decreasing the intensity of your initial state of alarm and lengthening the secondary phase of stress. This also helps to avoid you reaching a state of exhaustion.
- Adaptogens for sleep: Achieve the miracle of a good night’s rest
- What are adaptogens and their health benefits?
"Taking ashwagandha in the morning is great for people who are keen to experience ashwagandha’s anti-stress effects during the day."
The case for taking ashwagandha in the morning
Taking ashwagandha in the morning is great for people who are keen to experience ashwagandha’s anti-stress effects during the day. You could also take it at this time if you aren’t concerned about using it to help you sleep.
What’s more, scientists believe that ashwagandha may have some other benefits which would be useful during your waking hours.
For example, some suggest that ashwagandha may help with memory and enhance cognitive ability (in people with mild cognitive impairment) – making it ideal to take before you embark on a day at work.(3)
If you’re keen to take advantage of these benefits, you may be better off taking your ashwagandha in the morning.
Can I take Ashwagandha in both the morning and the evening?
Yes! You can take ashwagandha twice in one day, in the morning and evening. This may in fact be a great option for you if you don’t want to have to choose between good sleep and lowered stress during the day.
However, if you decide to take ashwagandha in both the morning and evening, you must remember to split your overall daily dose.
This means taking half your dose in the morning and half in the evening. For our Organic Ashwagandha Powder, we recommend taking a total of 1tsp per day (around 4g). So, if you want to split your dose, you’d take half a teaspoon in the morning and half a teaspoon at night.
You should not take more ashwagandha than is recommended.
What’s the best way to take ashwagandha?
The traditional Ayurvedic way to take ashwagandha is in the form of a powder. Although capsules and supplements are available these days, we always recommend sticking to a whole food powder.
This is because the benefits cited by traditional medicine come from using the powder.
Supplements also often contain extracts, which are different to the whole food powders used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Further, a whole food powder contains myriad different complementary nutrients which you’d be missing out on if you take an extract.
The best way to take ashwagandha powder is in a cup of warm milk. In Aryurveda, milk is considered the ideal anupana (vehicle) for this herb. Some Ayurvedic practitioners also think milk improves the digestibility of ashwagandha.
You can add a little honey, cinnamon or black pepper if you wish. Or, check out our moon milk recipe which combines all the elements of a traditional Ayurvedic preparation with a modern (and vegan) twist.
When to take ashwagandha to avoid stomach issues
Most people tolerate ashwagandha very well, and side effects are rare.
However, some people do experience side effects when taking ashwagandha (particularly at the beginning). These can include stomach issues such as discomfort, nausea, diarrhoea and bloating.
If this applies to you, there are a few ways you can tweak your routine to improve these symptoms.
Firstly, make sure you don’t take ashwagandha on an empty stomach. If you’re taking it in the morning, wait until 30 minutes to one hour after breakfast, and then take your ashwagandha in a warm milky drink.
Similarly, if taking in the evening, wait until after dinner and take with milk.
When taking ashwagandha for the first time, it’s wise to start with a small dose and work your way up to the recommended daily amount. This gives your body time to acclimatize.
If you continue to have stomach issues, it may be beneficial to swap to taking your ashwagandha in the evening, as if the symptoms are mild they shouldn’t interfere with your sleep. This may be more tolerable than experiencing them during the day.
How long to take ashwagandha
To feel the benefits of ashwagandha, you will need to commit to taking it over the long term. We recommend taking our Organic Ashwagandha Powder every day for around two to three months.
You should start to notice a difference after the first one to two weeks.
After your cycle is complete, you should take a short break. This is based on traditional practice and allows your body to rest in between cycles.
After this, you may like to switch to another adaptogen, such as lion’s mane, turmeric or amla.
Can you take ashwagandha with other adaptogens?
Yes, you can take ashwagandha at the same time as other adaptogens.
We don’t recommend blending the powder with others as traditional Ayurvedic blends are quite complex, and should be handled by an experienced practitioner.
However, people have been using ashwagandha alongside other adaptogens (taken at other times of day) for hundreds of years.
For example, you might like to take ashwagandha in the evening and turmeric in the morning. Turmeric is full of free-radical-fighting compounds which have lots of benefits for your body.
Do I take ashwagandha in the morning or night?
Essentially, the best time to take ashwagandha is the time that works best for you.
If you want to take advantage of its memory and cognitive effects, take it after breakfast. Or, if you are looking for better sleep, take it in the evening.
You can also split your dose across both times to get all of ashwagandha’s benefits throughout the day and night.
You should also bear in mind the time which fits in best with your routine. As you need to take ashwagandha every day to get the best effects, consider at what time you’re most likely to take it consistently.
It may be that you always settle down for bed with a warm drink, in which case it’s easy to add ashwagandha into that part of your routine.
Or perhaps you’d prefer to swap your mid-morning coffee for a caffeine-free ashwagandha latte. If this feels easier, the morning may be best for you.
Whichever way you take it, ashwagandha will soon be helping you feel better both mentally and physically.
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