In life, they say timing is everything. But it isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to supplements. It turns out, whether you take ashwagandha in the morning or at night won’t have a big impact on its effectiveness. Here’s what we know about how to get the best results from this supp.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for a variety of health probs. It’s an extract derived from the roots of an evergreen plant called Withania somnifera.
Ashwagandha has been linked to some pretty impressive benefits. In fact, studies suggest it could help keep your brain healthy, reduce inflammation, relieve stress, promote sleep, and enhance memory, among other perks.
Plus, it’s a type of adaptogen. That means it might be able to improve the way your body responds to stress. How? Adaptogens regulate hormones and proteins involved in stress response (like cortisol and heat shock proteins). They also support the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, a key player in your body’s stress response.
You can take ashwagandha as a supplement in capsule, liquid, or powder form.
Research suggests that taking ashwagandha may improve certain aspects of health and relieve stress and fatigue.
May reduce stress and improve sleep
One of the most studied benefits of ashwagandha is its potential to reduce stress and improve symptoms of fatigue.
In a small 2019 study involving 58 people, participants took 250 or 600 milligrams of ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 8 weeks. The results suggest that ashwagandha significantly reduced perceived stress, reduced blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improved sleep quality compared to a placebo.
May benefit some mental health conditions
However, the review noted that more studies are needed to investigate whether ashwagandha is safe to take alongside medications used to treat mental health conditions.
Other potential health benefits
But that’s not all, folks. Ashwagandha supplements may be effective for improving other aspects of health too.
For example, studies suggest that ashwagandha supplements may help improve:
There’s no “best time” to take ashwagandha. It’s important to understand that the effects of ashwagandha aren’t immediate and you may need to take it for at least a few weeks before you start noticing its effects.
Several studies have found that ashwagandha can be effective when taken either at night or during the day:
- A 2019 study investigating ashwagandha’s potential to improve stress and sleep found that a 125- or 300-milligram dose taken twice a day for 8 weeks was effective for reducing stress and improving sleep quality.
- In a 2020 study, a 300-milligram dose of ashwagandha taken twice daily for 12 weeks helped improve sleep quality and mental alertness in older adults.
- A 2015 study found that a 300-milligram dose taken twice daily was helpful for improving athletic performance.
- According to a 2018 study, a single 500-milligram dose of ashwagandha taken in the morning for 12 weeks helped improve strength in active men.
- A 2020 study found that a 120-milligram dose taken once a day 2 hours before bedtime for 6 weeks was effective for improving overall sleep quality in healthy peeps.
Studies have found that people can take ashwagandha both on an empty stomach and with meals without negative side effects. That means you should be able to take ashwagandha whenever it’s most convenient for you.
Just keep in mind that large doses of this supplement can lead to symptoms like upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Some people prefer to take this supplement with meals to avoid these issues.
A qualified healthcare professional (like a registered dietitian or family doctor) can help you determine whether ashwagandha may be an effective supplement for your specific health needs. They can also find the appropriate dose for you.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.
If you’re experiencing symptoms like insomnia, chronic stress, anxiety, or depression, work with a trusted healthcare professional to come up with a treatment plan that’s appropriate for your needs and overall health. That plan may or may not include supplements like ashwagandha.
Although ashwagandha is generally well tolerated and not linked to major side effects, it may interact with certain medications, including drugs used to treat seizures and anxiety.
Ashwagandha is not appropriate for people who have certain health conditions, such as hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. You should also avoid it during pregnancy.
Ashwagandha is a supplement that may improve sleep and relieve stress in some people, but the time of day you take it won’t impact its effectiveness.
If you experience digestive issues when taking it on an empty stomach, you may want to take it with food.