Now that you’ve decided to take ashwagandha, it’s important to know how to take it correctly. For example, if you want ashwagandha to reduce your anxiety, you should take it twice at specific times during the day. This article will explain how and when to take ashwagandha to get the best results.
How To Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha comes in two forms: powder or capsules. Capsules are the best way to take ashwagandha if you’re traveling or want to be precise with your ashwagandha dosage.
Ashwagandha powder is partly fat-soluble and partly water-soluble, so it’s best to mix the ashwagandha powder dose with a water-based drink with some fat, like coffee with milk. If you’re taking ashwagandha for sleep, use your favorite evening tea instead and add a splash of milk for enhanced absorption.
You could even encapsulate your own ashwagandha powder if you want a personalised dosage.
The Optimal Ashwagandha Powder Dose
There are two distinct ways to take ashwagandha. You can either take ashwagandha during the day in divided doses, which is effective at reducing anxiety. On the other hand, if you’re taking ashwagandha to help you sleep, a single larger dose in the evening is better.
Studies usually use 250 to 600 mg a day of an extract with at least 5% withanolides divided into two daily doses. Withanolides are the active compounds in ashwagandha, responsible for its anxiolytic effects.
It seems that an ashwagandha dose towards the upper end of 250 to 600 mg is more effective in stress reduction. Anecdotally, most users find that taking 200 to 300 mg of 5% withanolide extract twice a day is optimal for stress/anxiety reduction. If used for sleep, they usually take 500 to 1,000 mg in the evening.
If you’re using raw ashwagandha, the dosage should be several times higher than with an extract. Aim for around 4,000 to 6,000 mg a day, divided into 2 to 3 doses, or 2,000 to 4,000 mg in the evening if you’re taking raw ashwagandha for sleep.
There are more potent extracts that require a lower dosage. For example, Sensoril is more concentrated and contains 10% withanolides. To avoid taking too high a dose, double check the extract ratio of your ashwagandha and reduce the dosage accordingly. Since Sensoril has 10% withanolides, it’s twice as potent as the typical 5% withanolide extract. As such, 125 mg is the typical starting dose– equivalent to 250 mg of most ashwagandha extracts.
When To Take Ashwagandha
For daily anxiety reduction, take ashwagandha twice a day. Have the first dose with breakfast – it will take effect faster if taken immediately before compared with during or after breakfast, but it won’t last as long in that case. We recommend taking the second dose either with lunch or in the afternoon, depending on how long the effects last for you and how far into the evening you want them to extend.
For sleep purposes, the best time to take ashwagandha is one larger dose, 1 to 2 hours before bed.
Should You Take Ashwagandha At Night Or In The Morning? The Best Time To Take Ashwagandha
At this point, you may ask yourself—do I take ashwagandha in the morning or night? Fundamentally, you need to time when you take your ashwagandha for when you most need its effects. The best time to take ashwagandha is 1-2 hours or so before you need it to start taking effect.
To reduce anxiety, it’s best to take ashwagandha in divided doses. This usually means morning and early afternoon, assuming you feel the most anxious during the day (i.e. at work). What is important is to time it before the time of the day when you feel anxious.
For sleep purposes, it’s better to take one large dose in the evening, 1 to 2 hours before bed.
A high ashwagandha dosage can cause drowsiness—a large morning dose may impact your energy levels. If you feel tired in the morning but anxious during the day, we recommend delaying the morning dose until after breakfast. This is because a full stomach slows your body’s ability to absorb the ashwagandha, postponing its effect.
If you feel anxious at night and have trouble sleeping, the best time of day to take ashwagandha is a divided dose late afternoon/early evening and an hour before bed.
If you’re using ashwagandha for both all-day-long anxiety and poor sleep, you’ll want to dose three times a day, with breakfast, in the afternoon, and again in the evening. This may mean your daily dose is higher, but don’t just double the normal dose, as that will probably be too much.
Instead, increase the ashwagandha dosage by 50% at most, to 400 to 800 mg a day of a 5% withanolide extract (or the equivalent if using a product with a different extract ratio), divided into three doses. In this case, you may want two supplements of differing quantities, so the two daytime doses are smaller, and the evening dose is slightly bigger if sleep is difficult for you. For instance, you might take 200 mg morning and afternoon, and 300 mg in the evening.
How Long Before Ashwagandha Starts Working?
In studies, long-term effects are seen within as little as one month, although studies usually run for 8 weeks or even 6+ months.
Studies haven’t currently explored ashwagandha’s immediate effects, so for that we have to look at anecdotes. Not everyone notices an immediate effect. If they do, it usually takes 1 tp 2 hours; probably 1 hour if taken on an empty stomach, or 2 hours on a full stomach.
In general, people notice effects over time – users usually report the benefits being noticeable after anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks.
As such, you should mainly view ashwagandha as a daily supplement rather than something to be taken as-needed when you feel stressed out.
Since you’ve made it this far, you may be thinking about doing even more research into ashwagandha. If that’s the case, you’re in luck! We’ve published a fair amount of content on ashwagandha. Check out our:
- recommendations for the best ashwagandha tea
- in-depth discussion of ashwagandha’s benefits for men
- article on the best ashwagandha brands
- review of the ashwagandha supplements with the highest withanolide content
- review of the best ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea combination supplements
- discussion of how ashwagandha may affect your thyroid