Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, has long been used as a sleep aid and to improve cognitive performance. A recent study by Murthy and colleagues used molecular laboratory analyses to examine the effects of ashwagandha extract on the expression levels of the sleep-related genes of -aminobutyric acid (GABA)A1 and histamine H3 receptors in rat cells.
The effects of ashwagandha extract on the start and duration of sleep in mice was also studied. In order to support the improvement in sleep quality, the effects on non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep patterns were examined in rats using electroencephalography (EEG). The study clearly showed that the ashwagandha extract increased the activity of sleep related genes, and significantly reduced the time to sleep start and and increase the total sleep duration. The EEG research demonstrated a substantial calming effect of ashwagandha on sleep quality.
Murthy SV, Fathima SN, Mote R. Hydroalcoholic Extract of Ashwagandha Improves Sleep by Modulating GABA/Histamine Receptors and EEG Slow-Wave Pattern in In Vitro - In Vivo Experimental Models. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2022 Mar 31;27(1):108-120. doi: 10.3746/pnf.2022.27.1.108. PMID: 35465115; PMCID: PMC9007714.