Ashwagandha and melatonin are gaining popularity due to their impact on sleep. However, remember that both are different and affect separate mechanisms to induce better sleep. Ashwagandha is a herb often used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote health. 

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the brain. Melatonin is responsible for settling the circadian rhythm for an improved sleeping pattern. People use both to improve their sleep. Let’s find out which one is better. 

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin: Difference

Ashwagandha is a popular herb that has been in use for thousands of years. People have been using this herb to reduce stress, increase concentration, and reduce infertility. Ashwagandha promotes sleep through its adaptogenic properties. 

Melatonin, on the other hand, is a naturally produced hormone. People use melatonin supplements to improve their sleeping patterns because this hormone regulates the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is produced in the brain, and its supplements are great for treating insomnia and jet lag. 

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin: Benefits

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin
Source: Canva

Since both ashwagandha and melatonin are natural, they have benefits that are similar as well. At the same time, both items have different benefits that boost overall health. 

Supporting Better Sleep

Melatonin is referred to as the sleep hormone due to this benefit. Ashwagandha, too, is shown to improve sleeping issues. A study conducted on 50 people showed that melatonin reduced their insomnia and increased their sleeping time when consumed 2 hours before bedtime [1].

Another study, including 50 people, showed that using 600mg of ashwagandha daily for 12 weeks improved sleep quality. A review of different studies also showed that ashwagandha promotes better sleep and increased mental alertness in people [2][3].

Improving Mental Health 

Seasonal depression, a common mental issue, is said to arise due to changes in the circadian rhythm. A study of 68 people showed that seasonal changes led to seasonal depression, but using melatonin tablets daily reduced the depression effectively.

Another research on 66 people revealed that using ashwagandha regularly controlled depression and anxiety in people with schizophrenia [4][5].

With melatonin, further research is required on its effects on other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorders. 

Increasing Hormones 

A small study based on men showed that both low and high doses of melatonin were effective in increasing the Human Growth Hormone. Another study also confirmed these results. Similarly, a study using ashwagandha showed that consuming it increased testosterone levels in men by 14.7% [6].

While both impact hormones differently, they benefit health, specifically male health. However, more studies and research regarding these are necessary. 

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin: Side Effects

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin
Source: Canva

Melatonin is claimed to be safe for short and long-term usage. Meanwhile, ashwagandha is considered safe to use for up to 3 months. However, some claim using melatonin consistently impacts the body’s ability to produce it. Studies show otherwise. 

While ashwagandha is a natural herb, it is unsafe for some people. These include those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have prostate cancer, are about to undergo surgery, are taking certain medications, and have a liver or autoimmune disorder. 

Moreover, people have complained about nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disorders, and diarrhea when using ashwagandha. 

Melatonin induces common side effects such as nausea, headache, dizziness, and sleepiness. If you consume medicines such as blood thinners and antidepressants, melatonin may react with them. Hence, before using either ashwagandha or melatonin, ask your doctor if it is safe to consume. 

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin: Which Is Better?

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin
Source: Canva

The positive thing about ashwagandha and melatonin is that they’re both natural. Both are effective in promoting peaceful sleep and relaxing the body. However, some claim that using melatonin over a long period may reduce the body’s ability to produce it.

Taking melatonin during the day may also mess up your sleep cycle, causing you to fall asleep during the day. However, ashwagandha can be taken anytime during the day since it doesn’t directly affect your sleep. It reduces overall stress, which is good for day-to-day tasks. 

While melatonin can be used for lengthier periods, ashwagandha should only be used for 3 to 4 months. However, they’re both unique and essential sleeping aids.

If you have trouble sleeping due to anxiety, stress, or depression, then using ashwagandha to help you sleep is a better option. On the other hand, melatonin benefits you if you have insomnia or severe jet lag. 

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin: Dosage

Ashwagandha vs. Melatonin
Source: Canva

The ideal Melatonin dosage varies between 0.5mg to 10mg per day. Ashwagandha dosage should be between 250mg and 1250mg, depending on the reason for usage. If you’re using melatonin supplements, you should follow the dosage instructed on the bottle to reduce adverse effects. 

Melatonin should be started with a low dose, and then you should gradually increase your dosage if it suits you. If you use melatonin to improve your sleep, the best time to take it is 30 minutes before bedtime. However, if you just want to fix your circadian rhythm, it works better when taking it 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. 

Ashwagandha can be consumed in different ways throughout the day. You can take a single dose or more depending on your condition and reason for using it. You can consume ashwagandha with meals or even on an empty stomach. 

The Bottomline

Melatonin and ashwagandha are both effective in improving sleeping patterns and reducing depression. However, both are used to treat different sleeping issues. Melatonin improves the circadian rhythm and your wake-sleep cycle. Ashwagandha is essential for controlling depression and improving sleep by relaxing the body. 

They’re both natural and have few side effects, so you can use them safely. However, whichever supplement you use, you should consult your doctor before doing so. The side effects may worsen if you have underlying health conditions. 

FAQs

While you may be confused between melatonin and ashwagandha as sleeping aids, they’re different. Ashwagandha is a natural herb that aids sleep, while melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain. 
It is perfectly safe to use ashwagandha and melatonin to help you sleep. The two have no interactions, and both act as stress-reducing agents. 
Yes. Melatonin is safe to use as a night sleep aid for as long as 1 to 2 months. After that, you should see your sleeping pattern without using melatonin. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References and Fact-Checking

  1. Kurdi, M. S., & Muthukalai, S. P. (2016). The Efficacy of Oral Melatonin in Improving Sleep in Cancer Patients with Insomnia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Indian journal of palliative care, 22(3), 295–300. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-1075.185039
  2. Kelgane, S. B., Salve, J., Sampara, P., & Debnath, K. (2020). Efficacy and Tolerability of Ashwagandha Root Extract in the Elderly for Improvement of General Well-being and Sleep: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus, 12(2), e7083. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.7083
  3. Cheah, K. L., Norhayati, M. N., Husniati Yaacob, L., & Abdul Rahman, R. (2021). Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 16(9), e0257843. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0257843
  4. Lewy, A. J., Lefler, B. J., Emens, J. S., & Bauer, V. K. (2006). The circadian basis of winter depression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(19), 7414–7419. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0602425103
  5. Gannon, J. M., Brar, J., Rai, A., & Chengappa, K. N. R. (2019). Effects of a standardized extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on depression and anxiety symptoms in persons with schizophrenia participating in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Annals of clinical psychiatry : official journal of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists, 31(2), 123–129.
  6. Lopresti, A. L., Drummond, P. D., & Smith, S. J. (2019). A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males. American journal of men’s health, 13(2), 1557988319835985. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988319835985 
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Farah Jassawalla

Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

Authors

  • Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn

  • Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn

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Farah is a veteran writer, season journalist, and copywriting expert with over six years of professional experience in the content creation field. Her forte lies in translating medical jargon and complicated health terms into easy-to-understand language for readers who may not have a medical background. LinkedIn