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The Best Adaptogens For Stress, Sleep, Fatigue & Health

June 12, 2024

Ever feel like your equilibrium is off or you need a helping hand to calm and centre your nerves?

Adaptogens are made to help your body adapt to everyday stressors and restore your hormone balance. There are plenty of useful adaptogens out there, each with a different health benefit to suit your needs. Keep reading as we outline the best adaptogens for stress, sleep, fatigue and health.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body adapt to mental and physical stress. This class of herbs target different bodily processes, such as increasing your ability to perform while fatigued, regulating your bodily functions and optimising stress responses.

How do adaptogens work?

Because of adaptogens’ ability to affect the stress reaction, it’s important to first understand the stress process in order to understand how they work.

When we face everyday stressors, it triggers a chain of responses called general adaptation syndrome (GAS) within our body. This three-stage response consists of alarm, resistance and exhaustion. In the alarm stage, our adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol to give us adrenaline to respond to the stressor. The resistance stage is our body’s way of adjusting to the stress and healing itself. The exhaustion stage is the result of prolonged or chronic stress and can cause damaging effects on your mental state and body.

Adaptogens help us to remain in the resistance stage for longer by stimulating an effect that delays the exhaustion phase from setting in. This means that instead of crashing or breaking down, adaptogens allow us to be resilient and continue on.

How to take adaptogens

Because of the way adaptogens adapt to your body’s state, they are generally very safe and gentle to take. However, they may also produce mild side-effects that differ in each person so you should always consult a doctor or GP before deciding to try them.

You can take them as capsule supplements, as powders to blend into smoothies or steeped into teas or soups. The time of day that you take them is also important. Some adaptogens are stimulants and are best taken in the morning or early afternoon so that you can reap their benefits. Others are calming and these are best to take in the evening. Despite this, they can even be taken in the day as they aren’t potent enough to have a sedative effect.

Adaptogens are often used continuously for a period of time to gain the best results. It’s recommended that you rotate your adaptogens every six weeks so that your body can feel the effects of a different set of herbs.

The best adaptogen for stress


Ashwagandha is one of the most well-known adaptogens because it’s brimming with potent health benefits. Also classed as a nootropic thanks to its ability to boost cognitive function. Ashwagandha’s main use is for encouraging a state of calm. It does this by mimicking neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for feelings of wellbeing. As well as being excellent at reducing stress by balancing stress hormones, ashwagandha can also support the body’s inflammatory response, and improve memory function.

The best adaptogen for sleep

Valerian Root

Valerian root, or valeriana officinalis, is an ayurvedic herb to promote relaxation and sleep. Sometimes referred to as “Nature’s Valium”, valerian contains the active ingredients valerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a number of antioxidants. To help encourage sleep, the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin found in valerian root have been found to have sedative and hypnotic properties.

The best adaptogen for fatigue

Rhodiola Rosea

This adaptogen and nootropic helps your body to adapt to stress by combating fatigue and exhaustion. Another popular adaptogen plant, rhodiola Rosea has over 140 active ingredients to help balance your mood. It does this by regulating your cortisol levels during stressful situations. Rhodiola rosea can also help those suffering with adrenal fatigue by increasing energy and concentration.

The best adaptogen for immune health

Reishi Mushrooms

Like astragalus, reishi mushrooms are a popular choice for supporting the immune system. Reishi mushrooms can be eaten fresh, but it’s common to see them ground down into a powder form for easier and more convenient consumption. Reishi are full of antioxidants which combat oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Incorporating adaptogens into your routine can be a transformative step towards achieving balance and resilience in the face of everyday stressors. Embrace the power of adaptogens and let them help you navigate life's challenges with a calmer, more centered approach.

Always remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.