How Are You Sleeping? Ashwagandha and Brain Cleaning
Hello Farm Family,
How are you sleeping?
In “normal times”—whatever those are—it’s a simple enough question for most of us. But we’re in a strange moment right now, trying to adjust to this new reality while we realign the pillars that normally support us. And sleep is one of the big ones. So, how’s it going for you?
Many of us are finding our sleep broken by anxiety right now. And while—as we’ve written before—anxiety isn’t a problem in itself, when it messes with healthy sleep patterns, it quickly becomes one. Waking up tired and unrefreshed leaves us at a deficit for the rest of the day, making the next night’s sleep feel all the more crucial. And when THAT night’s sleep is interrupted…. Well, I think you get the point.
We think we can help. Many of us already turn to nerve tonics like Ashwagandha for anxiety. Its ability to help lower cortisol levels has been known to ayurvedic medicine for millennia, even before we knew what stress hormones were. But it turns out that Ashwagandha and sleep have an important relationship as well. It has to do with something called the “Brain Cleaning Cycle.” Here’s how it works.
In the brain, cerebrospinal fluid is normally responsible for cleaning out dead blood cells and other waste products. Scientists suspected that—as in the rest of our bodies—a process called diffusion was taking place. But it turns out that there’s a completely separate mechanism for this in the brain. These waste products are removed by channels surrounding blood vessels. To sum it up:
“This work shows that the brain is cleansing itself in a more organized way and on a much larger scale than has been realized previously.” - Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, University of Rochester Medical Center
So, what does Ashwagandha have to do with this? It turns out that Ashwagandha decreases neuroinflammation of the kind that can damage these tissues. And in supporting healthy overall brain function, Ashwagandha helps protect us against the damaging effects of stress and anxiety, and shows promise as a defense against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
That’s a lot of big words to throw at you, so let me dial it back a bit. Here’s what I’m getting at: We know that Ashwagandha supports deeper, more restorative sleep. And more than ever, healthy sleep is a good thing to have more of.
If you’re having a hard time sleeping, reach out. I think we can help.
With Warm (and Sleepy) Ashwagandha Wishes,