More and more studies are confirming that getting proper sleep (amount and quality) is critical for weight control, your immune system, and overall health. It is important to note that it’s more about the quality of sleep than the quantity. Being awakened by the next-door neighbors dog, making trips to the restroom, laying in bed worrying about a project you’re working on is NOT good sleep. Our body does all it’s repair work as well as handling the signals which dictate our eating habits during the REM phase.
Poor sleep can decrease your self-control and decision-making abilities and can increase the brain’s reaction to food. Poor sleep has also been linked to increased intake of foods high in calories, fats and carbs.
So, we have covered the importance of getting quality (deep) sleep for weight loss, rejuvenation, and overall health.
Now we’ll take a look at the specific herbs which will greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
The first up is Ashwagandha.
Also known as: the King of Herbs, the Great Equalizer, and the anti-stress herb
Main effects: substantially reducing your body’s stress response, reducing cortisol, anti-anxiety, most potent adaptogen
Additional effects: reduces fatigue, insomnia, normalizes sex hormones, increased power output, weight loss
Lifestyle considerations: weight training, yoga, meditation, rhythmic breathing, walking (or any cardio), reduction in stimulant use (aka caffeine).
Additional interesting info: being increasingly studied for depression and other mental health issues, goes well with alcohol for anti-anxiety effects
The research on this herb is rapidly increasing and everyone we know who has used it reports less anxiety and feeling less stressed.
One of the most exciting things about Ashwagandha is how “well rounded” it is.
In layman’s terms, you can think of it as a “normalization” herb. As an adaptogen, it’s main effects are just like it sounds, it helps you adapt to the ever increasing stresses in life.
Another thing is that it acts on the same anti-anxiety receptors as alcohol, so if you like having your nightcap, you can expect to only need a fraction of the alcohol you normally would use for anti-anxiety when using ashwagandha.
We think the most interesting thing about ashwagandha is how many of your body’s systems it has a normalizing effect on. And from normalization, you see improvements in lots of areas much like you would see from having a stress-free life.
Things like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, power output, testosterone (even women need testosterone), triglycerides, motivation, well-being, thyroid hormones, irritability, immunity, fat mass, pain, and memory.
All the things that stress does to the body, ashwagandha works to reverse.
NOTE: if you don’t have stress in your life, the effects of ashwagandha on non-stressed obviously aren’t as pronounced. But let’s be honest, EVERYONE has stress these days. As a society, we are more stressed than any society that’s come before, and it’s only increasing.
As far as lifestyle considerations that help ashwagandha do a better job, you’re looking at things that either help you relax and calm down from DISTRESS and/or things that create EUSTRESS in your life.
Eustress means “positive stress.” Things that are technically stressful but improve your life over time and also give you feelings of accomplishment. Probably the most well known would be weight training and yoga as far as physical activity. Other examples would be taking on things that improve your life like a new job.