When you’ve got chronic insomnia, it can feel like the lyrics to that old Simon & Garfunkel song: “Hello darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again.”
If you wake up a lot in the wee hours, you’re not alone: Almost half of adults 60 and older find themselves tossing and turning when they’d rather be sleeping.
As we age, changes in our bodies can make us stir several times during the night, even when we follow common-sense habits like exercising regularly, keeping a steady bedtime, and avoiding too much caffeine late in the day.
But according to a new study, you can say goodbye to your “old friend,” darkness – because there’s a natural way to sleep serenely until the morning without the “drugged” feeling of sleeping pills.
And it’s a solution that’s actually been around for centuries.
Researchers at the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine in Japan have shown that ashwagandha – a tongue-twisting Indian herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine – effectively induces sleep, without side effects.
The study isolated various active components of the ashwagandha leaf and tested them on mice.
It turned out that a substance called triethylene glycol (TEG) significantly increased the mice’s non-rapid-eye-movement sleep – the “dreamless” part of sleep that makes up the majority of our restful slumber.
Not only that, but the sleep brought on by TEG was comparable to the animals’ NORMAL sleep cycle.
Now, I know you’re not a rodent – but, given that the brains of mice and men aren’t all that different from each other, this is solid evidence that ashwagandha could support YOUR body’s natural sleep rhythms.
It’s no wonder that ashwagandha’s Latin name is “somnifera” – which means “sleep-inducing”!
So, if you’re struggling with insomnia, don’t get that prescription filled – because sleeping pills can cause daytime drowsiness, confusion, and memory loss, especially in older folks.
Instead, stop tossing-and-turning by turning over a “new leaf”: ashwagandha!
The herb might be especially helpful if stress is exacerbating your sleep problems, because ashwagandha is an “adaptogen” herb, meaning it’s a natural stress-buster .
A doctor well-versed in integrative medicine can work with you on the right dosage for you.
I don’t have to remind you how important it is to get a good night’s sleep – if you’re a regular Health eTips reader, you already know that too much sleep disruption can set you up for diabetes, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s.
Aside from ashwagandha, you can also try other herbal solutions for your insomnia, including chamomile tea, valerian root, and kava extract.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Indian Herb Improves Sleep:, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/Indian-herb-ashwagandha-improves/2017/03/30/id/781579/
Sleep-Inducing Herb: Key Component Identified, tsukuba.ac.jp/en/research-list/p201703310925
Sleep Disorders in Older Adults, medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000064.htm