For many of us, the stress of living through the coronavirus pandemic and its ongoing impacts on our economy and society continues to wreak havoc on our sleep habits.
And that’s worrisome for many reasons…
Research links chronic sleep deprivation to all sorts of health problems—including anxiety, depression, dementia, high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, stroke, and Type II diabetes. It can also shorten your life expectancy!
Fortunately, a new study found that a natural botanical remedy from India can help RESTORE your sleep and lower your stress. All it takes is a simple, daily commitment.
Too many of us feel anything but refreshed in the morning
As I explained in the August 2021 issue of Insiders’ Cures, my monthly newsletter, insomnia comes in many different forms. You may have trouble falling asleep. You may have trouble staying asleep. Or—you may simply wake up feeling tired and anything but refreshed…even after a supposed “good night’s sleep.”
We call that third type of sleep problem non-restorative sleep (NRS). Experts define it as, “the subjective feeling that sleep has been insufficiently refreshing, often despite the appearance of physiologically normal sleep.” And about 1 in 10 adults suffer from it.
The good news is, researchers found that a botanical remedy called ashwagandha (winter cherry) can have a positive effect on sleep—and stress—in just six weeks…
Long history of use as an “adaptogen”
As you may know, ashwagandha is a natural herb from traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda). Many experts now consider it an “adaptogen,” meaning it helps the body respond to stress and achieve “homeostasis,” or internal balance.
For example, adaptogens can help you:
- Warm up, when you’re cold.
- Cool you down, when you’re hot.
- Wake up, when you’re tired.
- Get some good sleep, when you need rest.
- Reduce inflammation, when you’re in pain.
In fact, ashwagandha first caught my attention a decade ago as a natural way to reduce joint pain and inflammation. And I routinely recommend it as one of my ABCs of joint health—along with boswellia and curcumin.
Now, for this new clinical trial, researchers randomly divided 150 men and women with NRS into two groups. One group took 120 mg of ashwagandha daily for six weeks. And the second group took a placebo.
It turns out, the placebo group experienced a 29 percent improvement in “sleep quality” after six weeks. But the ashwagandha group experienced an impressive 72 percent improvement in “sleep quality.” That’s almost a 150 percent improvement over the placebo group!
In addition, compared to the placebo group, the ashwagandha group experienced significant improvements in:
- Sleep efficiency
- Sleep latency
- Waking after sleep onset
- Total sleep time
- Quality of life
The researchers said, “improving sleep may be related to a reduction in stress and, specifically, a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, which can disrupt the natural balance of the body.”
That connection makes a lot of sense, as previous studies have found that ashwagandha does indeed reduce cortisol levels. And, of course, sleep and stress are intricately related. So, by adding this natural, time-tested adaptogen to your daily regimen, you may just tackle two birds with one stone.
But to get even more bang for your buck, I want to mention how making use of natural, essential oils can help restore your sleep EVEN MORE…
Ancient therapy helps you catch some ZZZs
Like ashwagandha, aromatherapy has been effectively used for thousands of years to treat many different ailments—including depression, high blood pressure, and migraines. And it’s finally starting to get the attention it deserves from the scientific community regarding its ability to treat insomnia and stress.
The practice of aromatherapy involves applying essential plant oils (the same kinds of oils used to make fragrances) directly to your skin or inhaling them through a mist diffuser.
You can make your own diffuser—and turn it on prior to bedtime, to last through the night—by placing drops of essential plant oils into a glass or ceramic vessel that’s warmed with a votive candle or a low-wattage lightbulb (this type of diffuser is often sold as a kit). Or, if you choose to apply the oils directly to your skin, I recommend using a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and focusing on these spots:
- under your nose
- on the sides of your nose
- under your chin
- at the base your ear lobes
- under your jaw
Finally, as I often report, research shows these plant oils are the most effective for supporting sleep:
I personally like to apply a combination of all five oils, blended with vitamin E in organic coconut and eucalyptus oil, directly onto my skin shortly before, or right at, bedtime. You can also apply (or diffuse) them any time during the day to promote calm and relaxation!
To learn more about how essential oils aid in getting the best sleep of your life, check out the March 2021 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“My ultimate guide to getting a good night’s sleep—naturally”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.