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Adaptogens For Sleep: A Natural Remedy For Restful Nights
Apr 18, 23
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Adaptogens For Sleep: A Natural Remedy For Restful Nights

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 12 min read
Adaptogens For Sleep: A Natural Remedy For Restful Nights

A restful night's sleep is crucial. Nevertheless, what should you do if you simply cannot get enough rest? It's crazy in your head. You have a lot of energy. Your body aches for sleep, but your head forbids it.

If you experience this tossing and turning, adaptogens may be able to help you sleep through the night.

Adaptogens are a potent subclass of herbs and mushrooms that support the body's ability to repair and navigate the stress response healthily. Your day's tension may worsen matters and start a vicious cycle if it prevents you from obtaining adequate rest. In other words, adaptogens promote relaxation.

Let’s look at the ten best adaptogens for sleep and how they help you attain a peaceful slumber.

How Adaptogens Affect Sleep?

How Adaptogens Affect Sleep?

An adaptogen is, at its most basic, a substance that can influence the stress response. When we discuss stress, we typically mean the type of worry or unhappy feelings brought on by issues at work or home.

We are all aware of the harm that anxiety may do to our capacity to get a good night's rest. Yet, the term can also refer to an aspect of your surroundings that stresses your body. This second sort of stress is best exemplified by pollution and cigarette smoke.

Thankfully, adaptogens can assist us in managing both physical and emotional stress. And this improves our capacity for restful sleep.

Adaptogens affect cortisol, the hormone released during stress. It can be highly beneficial, such as warning us of risks and dangers nearby, but it can also become problematic if released improperly.

Cortisol is also closely linked to our circadian cycle. This biological clock controls when we feel awake and when we should go to sleep. Adaptogens aid in controlling cortisol release and stop it from having a negative long-term impact. They can also assist in our overall return to balance.

In other words, we eventually revert to our regular routines. But beyond that, specific adaptogens improve sound sleep in unique ways.

Let’s now look at some of the best adaptogens for sleep.

10 Adaptogens Good For Sleep

So, now that you're convinced that adaptogens can improve sleep quality, which adaptogens are best to use? Here are some top adaptogens to help you get all the R & R you need.

1. Rhodiola Rosea Helps Fall Asleep Faster

The main bioactive component of the herb Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as rosenroot, has been utilized for millennia in traditional medicine. In an animal study(1), those who took a saponin-rich extract of Rhodiola experienced shorter sleep latency—the period before falling asleep—and longer sleep duration, as well as elevated levels of serotonin and GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), two neurotransmitters associated with relaxation.

High anxiety levels are a typical cause of insomnia, which Rhodiola may also help to reduce. In a pilot study(2), supplementing with 340mg of Rhodiola rosea extract for ten weeks significantly improved scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, which assesses both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety, such as tension, insomnia, depressed mood, chest pressure, gastrointestinal symptoms, restlessness, and rapid heartbeat. The study involved ten people with generalized anxiety disorder.

2. Schisandra Is Mildly Sedative

Schisandra Is Mildly Sedative

The berry Schisandra chinensis, popularly known as the "five-flavor fruit," is most frequently used as a powder, tablet, or extract supplement. Schisandra is believed to reduce stress and function as a moderate sedative, both of which can aid in encouraging better sleep.

In an animal study(3), Schisandra's active ingredient, Schisantherin A, enhanced total sleep duration, decreased sleep latency and boosted GABA levels in the brain. There hasn't been any human research on Schisandra's effects on sleep, though.

Researchers discovered that people with schizophrenia appeared more at ease and peaceful after taking Schisandra chinensis tincture(4). However, after administering 15–25 drops of the tincture, the participants' attitudes changed.

3. Valerian Root Induces Relaxation

Valerian Root Induces Relaxation

Since ancient Greece, valerian root has been used as a popular herb for aiding sleep. In addition, it may impact sleep by directly affecting the brain and changing brain connections in response to stimulation, stress, or anxiety.

Small amounts of GABA, a neurotransmitter that lowers brain activity to induce relaxation, are also present in this adaptogen. It also affects serotonin receptors, which may result in sensations of calmness that are conducive to sleep.

4. Holy Basil Minimizes Sleep Disruption

Holy Basil Minimizes Sleep Disruption

Holy basil, sometimes referred to as tulsi, is a well-liked adaptogen for sleep. It is an adaptogen native to India and is highly regarded for its ability to be an anti-anxiety and antidepressant. These soothing effects are supposed to enhance the quality of your sleep.

Tulsi has been shown to considerably reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress when taken in higher dosages. For example, Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil), when administered to patients with stress symptoms, was found to be 39% more beneficial than the placebo in a six-week trial(5).

The extract demonstrated potential for minimizing nighttime sleep disruptions. A clinical investigation that looked more closely at tulsi and cortisol discovered that Ocimum sanctum, or holy basil, may reduce stress in rats by inhibiting cortisol.

5. Cordyceps Supports Stamina

Cordyceps Supports Stamina

Cordyceps mushroom reduces stress and increases endurance. This strangely shaped mushroom supports the cardiovascular, circulatory, and respiratory systems to improve energy and endurance. In addition, cordyceps(6) aid in post-workout recovery by encouraging ATP generation at the cellular level.

6. Reishi Balances The Mind And The Body

Reishi Balances The Mind And The Body

Reishi, one of the most popular adaptogens, balances physical and mental stress. Also, it contains nootropic benefits that support a robust neurological system and brain.

The mushroom is an immune modulator that helps the body create a suitable defense against stress by restoring equilibrium and controlling an overactive immune system. In addition, Reishi's relaxing properties encourage rest and aid in mind-quieting.

Surprisingly, researchers(7)discovered a relationship between the administration of Reishi mushroom and the neurotransmitters in mice that promote sleep. Furthermore, they found a good link between sleeping patterns and gut bacteria supplemented with Reishi.

7. Ashwagandha Reduces Anxiety

Ashwagandha Reduces Anxiety

Ashwagandha is perhaps the first and best-known adaptogen for sleep. In recent clinical studies with insomnia, participants(8) who took ashwagandha root extract showed a significant reduction in the time it took them to fall asleep (sleep latency). In addition, those who received ashwagandha experienced less anxiety after the 10-week treatment period.

Furthermore, ashwagandha dosages of 250 mg or 650 mg significantly reduced serum cortisol levels in a clinical investigation(9) involving high-stress participants

Researchers discovered that ashwagandha might affect anxiety similar to that of the drug Lorazepam (a medication used to treat anxiety disorders) in an animal study(10). After receiving an anxiety-inducing drug, the study discovered that ashwagandha could lower levels of tribulin, a marker for anxiety.

8. American Ginseng May Balance Circadian Rhythm

American Ginseng May Balance Circadian Rhythm

American ginseng, also known as Panax quinquefolius, is a special adaptogen since it gives you relaxing energy. When coping with sleep issues, this effect of relaxation and concentration may be pretty helpful.

American ginseng is abundant in GABA. This acid influences circadian rhythms. Moreover, it can be neuro-protective when sleep loss has already taken place.

Coupled with its mood-altering properties, American ginseng may reduce cortisol secretion by controlling the HPA axis. As a result, cortisol levels can be lowered to encourage melatonin release and enhance sleep.

American ginseng's phytochemicals and the anxiolytic drug diazepam were both investigated in an animal study(11). Although ginseng and diazepam were effective at lowering anxiety, the ginseng group did not experience any loss of motor function, making ginseng a potentially superior anxiety treatment.

9. Passionflower Soothes The Mind

Passionflower Soothes The Mind

Another adaptogen that eases anxiety, in general, is passionflower.  Your entire neurological system can benefit greatly from doing this.

Passionflower is mentally and physically soothing, yet sleep is one of its primary applications. Since passionflower soothes the nervous system, it promotes restful sleep naturally.

10. Lemon Balm Helps Sleeplessness

Lemon Balm Helps Sleeplessness

Melissa officinalis, or lemon balm, is a Mediterranean and European herb that helps to ease, relax, and calm the digestive and nervous systems.

Many bioactive substances, such as rosmarinic acid, flavonoids, hydroxycinnamates, triterpenes, and hesperidin, are present in this adaptogen that functions as antioxidants.

In a 15-day pilot research(12), it was discovered that taking 600 mg of supplemental lemon balm daily helped with numerous symptoms, including sleeplessness and anxiety, which were reduced by 42% and 18%, respectively.

FAQs About Adaptogens For Sleep

What Is The Best Adaptogen Before Bed?

Ashwagandha, American Ginseng, holy Basil, Schisandra, and Reishi are the best adaptogen to take before bed. These adaptogens can reduce cortisol and calm your nervous system so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

Can Adaptogens Be Taken With Other Sleep Aids Or Medications?

When used with prescription medications like antidepressants, warfarin, and chemotherapy therapies, some adaptogenic herbal supplements may be harmful. Before trying, speak with your doctor to ensure there won't be any interactions with any existing medical conditions or medications you may be on.

How Long Does It Take For Adaptogens To Work For Sleep?

Typically, it takes two to three weeks for adaptogens to start working on the body. However, it may take much longer for adaptogens to develop some of the resilience that they do over time.

Key Takeaways

If you want to start taking adaptogens for sleep, you should do so consistently. The best effects are felt when the herb builds up in the body, as with most herbs. And like any good habit, adaptogens function best when combined with other healthy routines.

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  1. Targets and underlying mechanisms related to the sedative and hypnotic activities of saponins from Rhodiola rosea L. (crassulaceae), (1) 
  2. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), (2) 
  3. Schisantherin A Exerts Sedative and Hypnotic Effects Through Regulating GABA and its Receptor in Mice and Rats, (3) 
  4. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity, (4)
  5.  Efficacy of an Extract of Ocimum tenuiflorum (OciBest) in the Management of General Stress: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study, (5) 
  6. Beneficial Effect of Cordyceps militaris on Exercise Performance via Promoting Cellular Energy Production, (6) 
  7. Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice, (7) 
  8. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study, (8) 
  9. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study, (9) 
  10. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda, (10) 
  11. Anxiolytic effect of saponins from Panax quinquefolium in mice, (11)
  12. Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances, (12)

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