How good or effective is valerian root for sleep? There are quite a number of herbs for sleep, and valerian is one of them used to treat anxiety and insomnia. But how much valerian root should you take as a sleep aid? What is the right dosage and what do valerian root for sleep reviews indicate? Is it a safe herb? Let’s find out.
Valerian root has been found to be a potent herb that is used to treat a number of ailments, including depression, stress, anxiety and even as a tranquilizer or muscle relaxant.
There are actually about 250 different species of valerian herb. According to Mayo Clinic, dried roots of Valeriana officinalis species contain compounds that will help insomniacs get to sleep soundly. Though it is a temporary relief to insomnia, or lack of sleep, it has been passed down the centuries as one of the best medicinal herbs that can sedate you to get some sleep when you have none.
How does Valerian Root Work for Sleep or as a Sleep Aid?
Sleep Problems Symptoms
Difficulty in getting sleep or staying asleep for continuous hours at night can be a serious problem that affects your ability to work and function in a normal way during the day.
People who experience sleeping problems, or insomniacs, are advised to see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of insomnia
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
A doctor can recommend or prescribe the right dose for you to sleep. See below a discussion on how much valerian root to take for sleep. What happens when you take the pills for sleep? How do they help you get sleep?
As seen in many reviews, the root extract, either in the form of valerian root tea, or even valerian root pills, can make for a long night of good sleep especially when you have that problem of staying up awake.
So how does valerian root induce sleep?
There are several chemical constituents of valeriana officinalis that have been identified, however it is unclear which may be responsible for promoting sleep. It is likely that there is no single active compound and that valerian’s effects result from multiple constituents acting independently
Two categories of constituents have been proposed as the major source of valerian’s sedative effects. They include;
- its volatile oil including valerenic acid and its derivatives, which have demonstrated sedative properties in animal studies
- Iridoids, which include the valepotriates. Valepotriates and their derivatives are known to be active as sedatives
It is thought that valerian possibly causes sedation by increasing the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter) available in the synaptic cleft.
Results from an in vitro study using synaptosomes indicate that a valerian extract may cause GABA to be released from brain nerve endings and then block GABA from being taken back into nerve cells.
In addition, valerenic acid inhibits an enzyme that destroys GABA. Valerian extracts contain GABA in quantities sufficient to cause a sedative effect, but whether GABA can cross the blood-brain barrier to contribute to valerian’s sedative effects is not known.
Glutamine is present in aqueous but not in alcohol extracts and may cross the blood-brain barrier and be converted to GABA Levels of these constituents vary significantly among plants depending on when the plants are harvested, resulting in marked variability in the amounts found in valerian preparations
Valerian Root Extract Dosage for Sleep
What is the right valerian root dose for sleep? How much should you take and for how long?
- The university of Maryland Medical Center has in the past recommended that adults who want to use valerian root sleep aid to take between 250 mg of valerian root to help with sleeping problems.
- As it was traditionally used, valerian root tea was prepared and taken an hour or two before going to bed to help with lack of sleep.
- According to Livestrong, patients of insomnia should take between 400 mg and 900 mg of an extract of valerian root for sleep. This can be done daily in order to improve its effectiveness.
- Some sources recommend taking any amount of valerian from 250 mg for adults, but increasing the dosage on an experimental basis until you are sure it works well for you.
- Note that before you start using this remedy for sleep, see a doctor for the right prescription.
How long can you take valerian root for sleep?
Some studies have been able to show that the herb may work better when used on several nights in a row.
How to Take Valerian Root for Sleep Support– Tea, Pills/Capsules
There are different ways of taking valerian root for sleep. The method of consuming this home remedy for insomnia will have a slight effect on the effectiveness of the remedy in the substance. Therefore, find the best way on how to take valerian root for sleep – one that works finest for you.
- Valerian root tea for sleep: If you suffer from chronic fatigue and you find it difficult to sleep, you can make valerian root tea for sleep or treating fatigue-induced insomnia. See instructions on how to make valerian root tea.
- Take Pills, Capsules or tablets orally: Most of the pills will have instruction son how to take, how many pills to take for different age groups and purposes. Therefore, be sure to follow those instructions to avoid any side effects that may be undesirable.
When on a valerian root dosage, ensure that you avoid other sedative medications, or alprazolam. This is a precaution to help avoid severe drowsiness. Avoid alcohol and other drinks or beverages that may increase the sedation effect.
Valerian Root for Sleep Reviews
People who have had difficulties sleeping in the past have commented or reviewed this herbal remedy for insomnia positively. According to the many internet resources, including amazon reviews of valerian root for sleep, are positive and enthusiastic about the results and effect of the drug.
According to the author of Medical Herbalism David Hoffman, “…most effective sleep inducers are California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), hops (Humulus lupulus), passion flower (Passiflora incarnata), and valerian (Valeriana officinalis)”
The doctor goes on to indicate that these herbs are particularly very effective when someone suffers from insomnia that is induced by pain. Valerian is one of the most and best-researched sleep inducing herbs (hypnotic herb)
Here are samples of valerian root for sleep reviews:
“I find that I get a solid night’s sleep after a hectic day at work when I take 2 of these. It relaxes me gradually as I take it an hour before bed. Excellent product.” [Amazon]
“…And as for helping to sleep, definitely take two. Overall, I’d say I’m fairly impressed. Definitely worth a try.” [iHerb]
Valerian Root vs Melatonin for Sleep
Melatonin, is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in your body it regulates sleep and wakefulness. At night or when it becomes dark, the pineal gland secretes melatonin which makes you sleepy. The hormone is said to peak between 1 a.m. and 5a.m.
However, starting at age 40, melatonin production can slow down which may lead to sleep problems. This is where melatonin supplements may come in. A quality melatonin supplement, taken in the right dose, can help you get enough sleep.
The difference between valerian root and melatonin is that the root is just from a plant and as you have already seen, it is chemicals within the plant that act as sleep aid. Melatonin is hormone and it is produced within your body. However just like valerian, it is available in supplements.
You can use valerian as a complement to melatonin supplements or simply use them together.
- Valerian root may help individuals with insomnia/lack of sleep.
- Research on how exactly it works is inconclusive
- Valerian root for insomnia can be taken as pills, tincture or as tea.
- The root extract is thought increase the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid, also called GABA, in the brain.
- GABA will produce a calming effect in the brain, which will help you sleep soundly and longer without waking up during the night as it is a common symptom with most insomniacs.
- You can combine valerian root with other supplements such as melatonin
Safety-Possible Negative Effects of using valerian for insomnia
It comes with no adverse effects when used correctly.When buying valerian in supplement form, buy from reputable companies, and use according to package directions.
Do NOT replace any prescription sleep aids your physician may have prescribed with valerian without first consulting with him or her. Stop use at the first sign of adverse side effects
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