Due to the hustle and bustle of the modern world, sleep disorders are more common than we might think. Who hasn’t faced sleepless nights at least once? As we spend more and more time glued to our computers and smartphones, our sleep habits change as well. This makes it even harder for us to get a good night’s sleep.
And while there are many over-the-counter or prescription medicines that help you sleep soundly and peacefully, you might want to look at a natural solution – valerian root for sleep. The root is known to have calming and sedative effects, which is why it’s been used in many traditional medicines. It works by slowing down the nervous system, which helps you relax and unwind.
In this blog, we will explore the effects of Valerian root for sleep and discuss how it works. We will also review the safety of valerian root and provide tips on how best to take the herbal remedy to beat insomnia!
What Is Valerian Root?
In our previous blog, The 3 Benefits of Valerian Root, we covered the ins and outs extensively. The root is part of the Valerian plant, and even though it recently took its first tentative steps into the modern market, the herb has been around for centuries. It was common in parts of Europe and Asia and is now grown on US and Canadian soil as well.
As we will illustrate, valerian extract is effective in reducing anxiety, tension headaches, and insomnia- and there are many different types of valerian root products available on the market, including tablets, raw powder, teas, and tinctures.
As a word of caution that goes for any herbal remedy, it is always a good idea to speak to your healthcare provider to determine if the product is suited for you, and if it will react with any other medications you might be taking.
How Does Valerian Root Work?
As a herbal supplement, Valerian is a natural solution that may prevent sleep disturbance. It works by decreasing the production of nasty stress hormones like cortisol – and we are only too familiar with how stress can lead to poor sleep quality and insomnia.
This reduction in cortisol, in turn, helps you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Additionally, Valerian may be helpful for people who suffer from anxiety. It can help relieve symptoms by decreasing anxiety and promoting a sense of calmness.
Effects on the Body
When you’re getting ready to hit the sack, but worried that you won’t sleep soundly, Valerian can be your effective yet natural solution for some quality shut-eye.
The effects of Valerian work by calming your nervous system, thus calming your usually over-active brain when it’s time for bed.
It helps you to get drowsy and fall asleep without the hassle – without the usual grogginess that comes the morning after. A word of caution here; you should never take the supplement in conjunction with other sleeping aids, or use it with alcohol. This will lead to mental fogginess, impairment, and excessive drowsiness.
Effects on the Brain
This is really where the magic happens – in the pitter-patter of your grey matter. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that Valerian has various compounds that can act on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid, if you are feeling fancy) receptors in your brain, which produces a sense of calm and relaxation.
This chemical messenger plays a vital role in regulating and balancing nerve impulses, which are crucial for maintaining good sleep patterns and ensuring the proper functioning of your mind and body.
Valerian may also interact with serotonin receptorsâ€”a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in controlling mood as well as sleep patterns. So if you’re looking for ways to improve both cognitive function and mood while sleeping soundly, try including valerian root into your bedtime routine.
Can Valerian Root Help You Sleep?
As we’ve illustrated, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Getting enough sleep is one of the most important steps in leading a healthful life, and we all should be taking steps toward finding balance and peace with ourselves.
Being tired on a regular basis can have negative effects on our overall health – just ask any insomniac. Valerian helps us relax, to sleep better, which in turn gives us more energy the next day to tackle our tasks head-on.
Is Valerian Root Safe?
Valerian root is effective at treating many conditions, including insomnia and anxiety. However, as with any supplement, there are some side effects to be aware of, albeit uncommon.
To start, vivid dreams may occur when you first begin taking the supplement. An upset stomach is another potential side effect that some people experience when they take the root for the first time. Users also report headaches or heart palpitations.
In a nutshell, Valerian is safe, but you should be careful while using these natural supplements as side effects could show up in unexpected ways. If you are pregnant, it is always best to steer clear of any herbal remedies, or consult with your healthcare professional before you do.
If you want to know more about the potential side effects of Valerian, make sure to read our blog, where we covered the counter-indications extensively.
How to Take Valerian Root for Sleep
It has been used for centuries to help people sleep better, and it’s now available in tablet form. If you are wondering about the dose of Valerian in tablets, simply follow the instructions on the label, and take it accordingly. Alternatively, a good recommendation is between 400mg to 900mg, once or twice a day, depending on your tolerance and body weight.
To err on the side of caution, start with a low dose and work your way up. For the best results, take the supplement 30 minutes to an hour before bed. If you are using Valerian in conjunction with another natural sleep aid like passionflower, a lower dosage is required.
Wake Up Refreshed With Valerian
Yes, we know! Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health and well-being. So why shouldn’t you use a natural remedy like valerian root to help you relax and fall asleep?
This root extract has been used for centuries to help people sleep better, and because it works by improving sleep quality and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, it’s a great option for anyone who suffers from insomnia and anxiety.
While there are no real adverse effects, it’s not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also important to educate yourself on any potential drawbacks of taking the herb, so make sure to consult your healthcare professional before just taking Valerian for sleep.
Reinette Robbertze is a highly qualified professional in the health and nutrition industry, having completed both Journalism and Nutrition diplomas. With a remarkable portfolio of health blogs and magazine articles to her name, Reinette’s writing is fueled by her genuine passion for healthy living. Drawing on her academic background, Reinette delivers authentic and insightful information to her readers. Her engaging writing style, blended with personal anecdotes, creates an immersive experience that keeps readers engaged and informed. Keep following her work for the latest updates and informative articles on health and nutrition.