Valerian root has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for sleep problems and anxiety. It is one of the most popular natural sleep aids in the world, and has been widely studied for its efficacy and safety. In this article, we will delve into the science behind valerian root, its benefits for sleep, and how to use it to get the most out of its effects.
Valerian root is a perennial herb that grows in the damp, shady parts of Europe and Asia. It has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of conditions, including sleep problems and anxiety. The active ingredients in valerian root are believed to be volatile oils and compounds like valerenic acid, which have been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system.
Benefits of Valerian Root for Sleep
One of the main benefits of valerian root for sleep is its ability to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. A number of studies have found that taking valerian root before bed can help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that people who took valerian root before bed fell asleep faster and slept longer than those who took a placebo.
Another benefit of valerian root for sleep is its ability to reduce anxiety and stress. Valerian root has been shown to help reduce anxiety by acting on the same receptors in the brain that benzodiazepines, a commonly-prescribed class of anxiety medications, do. However, unlike benzodiazepines, valerian root is non-habit forming and has few side effects.
Side Effects of Valerian Root
It is also worth noting that valerian root is considered to be safe for most people. However, as with any supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor before using it, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications.
To get the most out of valerian root for sleep, it is recommended to take it in supplement form about an hour before bed. The recommended dose varies depending on the brand, but most recommend taking between 300 and 600 milligrams of valerian root extract per day.
In conclusion, valerian root is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to help people sleep better and reduce anxiety. Its benefits for sleep have been widely studied and shown to be effective, and it is considered to be safe for most people. If you are having trouble sleeping, consider giving valerian root a try, but always speak with your doctor first.