When to Take Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has become one of the most popular herbal dietary supplements in recent years. Many individuals supplement with ashwagandha due to the proclaimed benefits it has on stress, anxiety, sleep, …

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Written by: Jack Cincotta, MS
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Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Ashwagandha has become one of the most popular herbal dietary supplements in recent years. Many individuals supplement with ashwagandha due to the proclaimed benefits it has on stress, anxiety, sleep, athletic performance, and overall vitality. 

In order to increase the likelihood of receiving benefits from ashwagandha, it’s necessary to take it at the right time. 

This article covers when to take ashwagandha, in addition to other key factors, such as optimal dosage, who it’s best for, and safety information. 

when to take ashwagandha

When is the Best Time to Take Ashwagandha?

It’s best to take ashwagandha twice daily, typically once in the morning and then once again in the evening, according to clinical research However, optimal dosing strategies will vary from person to person, especially based on one’s intended benefits. 

Below are the recommended times to take ashwagandha according to one’s intended benefits. This stems from a combination of clinical research as well as anecdotal reports. 

  • For Stress & Anxiety: The best time to take ashwagandha for stress and anxiety symptoms is typically once in the morning and then another dose in the afternoon or evening. For ongoing stress, it is best to take ashwagandha consistently, although it can also be used for short periods of high stress too (i.e. taking it before or during a stressful event).
  • For Sexual Function & Fertility: The best time to take ashwagandha for sexual function and fertility is once in the morning and once in the evening. This is done daily until desired results are achieved. 
  • For Sleep: The best time to take ashwagandha for sleep is about an hour before bed. Alternatively, one can take ashwagandha in the early evening and then another dose before bed for potentially stronger effects, particularly if daily stressors are impacting sleep. 
  • For Athletic Performance: The best time to take ashwagandha for athletic performance is about 30 minutes before workouts. With that said, simply taking ashwagandha daily at any convenient time has been shown to promote better athletic performance too. But taking it right before a workout may have more direct benefits as well. 
  • For Cognitive Function: The best time to take ashwagandha for cognitive function is once in the morning and then again in the evening. This should be done daily for maximum cognitive support. 

Why Take Ashwagandha Twice Per  Day?

There are two main reasons why it is likely best to take ashwagandha twice daily instead of just once:

  • Enhanced Bioavailability
  • The Unique Adaptogenic Effects

In regard to the first point, splitting the dose of ashwagandha up into two deliveries may enhance the overall bioavailability. So, for example, rather than taking 600mg all at once, supplementing with 300mg at two different points in the day may increase the overall effectiveness. 

Secondly, ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body return to balance based on what it needs at a given time. For example, it can have mood-boosting, energizing effects for someone with lethargy, yet at the same time it can have calming, anti-anxiety effects in individuals with high stress levels.

Thus, taking ashwagandha at two different points during the day can help one to receive “around-the-clock” benefits. 

recommended ashwagandha dosage

How Much Ashwagandha Should I Take?

A range of as low as 125mg all the way up to 5 or more grams has been used with success in clinical research. However, the bulk of the research has used 300 to 600mg of ashwagandha extract per day, which is likely a good starting point for most individuals. 

Importantly, one has to consider not just the total dose, but also the concentration of withanolides. When speaking to the 300 to 600mg range listed above, this dose was most often used with products that had a withanolide concentration of 2.5 to 10%.

Individuals looking simply for overall benefits or mild effects can stick to the lower range with a lower concentration, while people looking for more pronounced effects and/or specific benefits are likely best starting out at a higher dose and a higher concentration of withanolides. 

What are the Benefits of Ashwagandha?

Recent research shows that ashwagandha has several potential health benefits, including: 

  • Decreased Stress & Anxiety 
  • Improved Sleep Quality
  • Better Sexual Function
  • Enhanced Athletic Performance
  • Improved Cognition

1. May Decrease Stress & Anxiety

The most well-researched benefit of ashwagandha is decreased stress and anxiety levels. Many clinical trials have shown that ashwagandha significantly reduces stress and anxiety, as well as stress hormone levels, in a wide variety of individuals. 

2. May Improve Sleep Quality

Clinical research also shows that ashwagandha can improve sleep quality and related parameters, especially in individuals with insomnia or marked sleep issues (as compared to otherwise healthy individuals).

3. May Promote Better Sexual Function

Ashwagandha also seems to benefit sexual health, especially for men, although evidence for women is emerging too. A review of clinical trials showed that ashwagandha significantly increased testosterone, sperm health, semen volume, erectile function, and other related parameters in men.

4. May Enhance Athletic Performance

A recent review of the research also shows that ashwagandha has several benefits for athletic performance. This herb has been shown to increase strength, endurance, speed, and reaction time, while also supporting recovery and muscle growth.

5. May Improve Brain Function

Ashwagandha also appears to support brain function and cognition. Research shows that it may improve attention, memory, reaction time, and executive function.

ashwagandha benefits

Who Should Take Ashwagandha?

Many individuals can potentially benefit from ashwagandha, due to its wide-ranging effects in the body

The most pertinent application of ashwagandha is for individuals who experience chronic stress and stress-related issues, such as anxiety, fatigue, burnout, and sleep quality issues.  

Athletes and other individuals who undergo intense exercise on a regular basis may also benefit from ashwagandha supplementation. 

Moreover, ashwagandha is potentially effective for men with low testosterone, fertility issues, and/or other sexual problems. There is evidence that ashwagandha may also benefit sexual health in women too. You can also click here to learn more about the effects of Ashwagandha for pregnant women.

Lastly, those looking to improve attention, focus, and cognitive function may also benefit from ashwagandha supplementation. 

Side Effects & Interactions of Ashwagandha:

In general, ashwagandha appears to be safe for most individuals when taken according to the recommended amounts. Its long history of use in traditional medicine, coupled with modern-day safety research, provides solid evidence of safety and tolerability.

Nonetheless, there are still possible side effects and interactions of ashwagandha. Possible side effects of ashwagandha include: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Mood Changes
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms
  • Liver Toxicity (Rare)

Also, based on the way ashwagandha works in the body, it may interact with several classes of medications, including:

  • Immunosuppressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Sleep Drugs
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Hypoglycemics
  • Hypotensive Drugs

We recommend talking with your doctor before taking ashwagandha, especially if you have chronic health conditions and/or take these (or any other) medications. 

For a full breakdown on the side effects and safety of ashwagandha, read this article

benefits of ashwagandha


Ashwagandha is one of the more promising herbs out there with various health benefits. Most individuals will benefit from taking ashwagandha twice per day (typically once in the morning and once in the evening), although there are individual differences too. The total daily dose for most individuals should be 300 to 600mg, standardized at 2.5 to 10% withanolides.

Overall, when ashwagandha is taken at the right time and at the right dose, it has a higher likelihood of providing benefits, such as for stress, sleep, sexual function, athletic performance, and cognition. 

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About Jack Cincotta, MS

Jack has a Master of Science degree in Psychology and is also an AADP® Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and AFPA® Certified Holistic Health Coach. His passion is to help people develop optimal levels of health, particularly mental health.