When was the last time you had a sound night’s sleep, that left you feeling genuinely refreshed when you woke up? What with chronic stress, busy work lives, endless commitments to keep track of not to mention a constant flurry of notifications on our devices, the chances are you’re struggling to remember.
So, it’s little wonder many of us are turning to alternative ways to calm our minds after a hectic day, especially since sleep is essential for our mental and physical health.
Two options that you may have come across during your research is melatonin, along with the lesser-known Ashwagandha. In today’s post, we’ll explain the differences between the two so you can improve both your sleep quality and quantity.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a herb that is also known as Withania Somnifera. Part of the nightshade family, ashwagandha grows in The Middle East, Africa and India where it forms part of the Indian practice of Ayurveda, which explores alternative medicines.
For over 3,000 years, extracts from ashwagandha roots and leaves have been used to treat a wide variety of conditions. As was often the case in times before modern medicine, people would use plants they had to hand to create remedies for a variety of ailments.
However, in today’s world, the hype surrounding ashwagandha relates to its soothing properties, particularly in relation to lowering stress. As we all know, stress can have wide implications for our health, not least on our sleep. That is why many seek out supplementation in the form of ashwagandha for a natural form of relief.
- Can reduce cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone!)
- Can help to reduce stress and anxiety
- Can reduce symptoms of depression
- Can improve brain function
- Some studies suggest it has anti-cancer properties
- Safe for most people and is widely available
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally secreted by the body and plays a critical role in your sleep cycle as well as your body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm.
As well as being produced by the body, it’s also possible to buy melatonin supplements to mimic the effects of the hormone whenever you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Though, this is not the case in the UK as melatonin was banned in 1995, meaning it is only available via a doctor’s prescription.
Another good point to note is that melatonin is only suitable for short term use. It can also cause various side effects, and the NHS has a long list of other medications and medical conditions that may make melatonin unsuitable. Also, anyone who takes melatonin should not drive or operate machinery until at least 5 hours after taking it.
There are some additional health benefits that may sway someone more towards melatonin, such as a supposed improvement in GERD symptoms, a reduction in seasonal depression and improved eye health.
- Helps mimic the body’s own natural sleep hormone
- Usually used to treat sleep disorders in adults aged 55 or above
- Ideal for those who only need short term relief
- Can help reduce symptoms in other non-sleep related ailments
- Can help treat jet lag
If you are struggling to unwind in the evening, or if you find you don’t sleep all the way through the night, then there are various avenues you can take to resolve the issue.
While melatonin isn’t readily available, it may be offered to you by your doctor if you don’t have any contraindications that would make it unsuitable. Though, it is only designed for short term use, as is typically prescribed to be used between 1-4 weeks.
A natural alternative that can be taken daily is ashwagandha, which offers various properties to help relieve tension and stress. If you feel more relaxed in the evenings, then you are more likely to achieve restorative sleep.
Of course, the choice is down to the individual and seeking medical advice is always advised. Though, it’s great to know that natural alternatives exist, especially if you are in search of a natural alternative you can add to your regular schedule to prolong the benefits.
Ashwagandha is one of the key ingredients within our Rest formula, which is to be taken before bedtime with a glass of water. While it’s possible to purchase ashwagandha on its own, we believe that by combining it with other beneficial ingredients that work together to help induce sleep and an overall sense of wellbeing, such as lavender flower, chamomile flower, magnesium citrate and Montmorency cherry, the chances of a blissful night’s sleep are more likely to be reached.
Optml is a two-step supplement, so as well as helping you to relax in the evening with our Rest formula, Rise will help improve your cognitive awareness and sense of energy during the day. In combination, Rest and Rise help to support your wellbeing needs so that you can feel like the best version of yourself.