Valerian Root For Sleep

May 24, 2020

Valerian Root For Sleep

Valerian Root For Sleep 

Valerian root extract is an herb native to Asia and Europe and has been around since ancient times to help increase relaxation, reduce anxiousness, and improve sleep quality and duration. In this article, we are going to go over everything you need to know about valerian root extract and the research surrounding valerian as an effective all-natural sleep aid. Valerian root will be a prominent ingredient in Easy Sleep™, our all-natural sleep aid which will be released in July. 

Valerian Root For Anxiety 

Valerian root is an herb native to Europe and Asia and is now also grown in the US and China among other countries. The name "valerian" is derived from the Latin verb  "valere" which means "force" or "to be strong." Valerian root is used to help treat a variety of conditions including but not limited to: 

  • Insomnia
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Symptoms of Menopause
  • Sleep Insomnia 

Valerian root is widely available as a supplement and can be taken as a capsule or consumed as a tea in liquid or dried powder form. 

How Does Valerian Root Work? 

Valerian root contains a number of compounds and antioxidants that help promote sleep, ease restlessness, and reduce anxiety. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit damage to cells by harmful free radicals. Valerian root contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin which have sleep-enhancing and calming properties. 

Valerian root has a unique interaction with GABA, a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Studies have shown that low levels of GABA are related to chronic stress, anxiety, and low-quality sleep. Valerian root, more specifically, valerenic acid has shown the ability to inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain resulting in feelings of calmness and decreased feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Valerian Root Can Help Reduce Stress 

Recent research suggests that valerian root may help reduce stress and anxious feelings associated with stressful situations. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, balanced, crossover experiment with 24 healthy adults given challenging mental tasks found that a combination of valerian root and lemon balm reduced anxious feelings. Additionally, valerian root may also benefit those with chronic conditions such as generalized anxiety disorders and or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

Valerian Root OCD

In a separate eight-week long double-blind controlled study that included 31 outpatients with OCD, found that those who took valerian root extract on a daily basis showed a "significant reduction in obsessive and compulsive behaviors" when compared to the control group with no difference in observed side effects.  Similar studies have been done that suggest children who have trouble maintaining focus or display hyperactive behaviors may also find benefit in valerian root extract supplementation. 

  • A controlled, double-blind study that included 169 elementary school children was done to see if the combination of lemon balm and valerian root would be able to improve focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. The children that supplemented with lemon balm and valerian root extract displayed a 50% improvement in symptoms compared to those who did not. 

Valerian Root For Sleep 

According to the Cleveland Clinic sleep disorders are extremely common, affecting nearly 70 million Americans per year. Sleep disorders are characterized as abnormal sleep patterns, including lack of sleep and daytime sleepiness. This includes:

  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Night terror(s)
  • Insomnia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleepwalking

Multiple studies suggest that supplementing with valerian root extract may effectively reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality and duration as well. For example, a controlled, double-blind study of 27 young and middle-aged adults with sleep disorders found that supplementing with 400 mg of valerian root extract produced the following results: 

  • 24 individuals reported improved sleep
  • 12 reported "perfect sleep"

Another separate study in adults with insomnia found that a single dose of valerian root extract allowed them to achieve deep sleep 36% faster than usual. Time spent asleep also increased significantly. 

Other Health Benefits of Valerian Root

Valerian root is widely used for sleep, for depression, and to ease feelings of restlessness anxiety. There are other health benefits of valerian root, however. This includes:

  • Menopause: One study in particular in menopausal women found the participants experienced significant improvements in symptoms of menopause when supplementing with valerian root. For example, the participants experienced a significant reduction in hot flash severity as well as hot flash frequency. 
  • Restless legs syndrome: One study that was eight weeks in duration found that taking 800 mg per day of valerian root extract improved symptoms of restless legs syndrome and decreased daytime sleepiness. 
  • Parkinson's disease: A study in mice with Parkinson's disease concluded that valerian root led to decreased inflammation, improved behavior, and an increase in antioxidant levels. 

How To Consume Valerian Root To Maximize Benefits

There are a few different ways to consume valerian root. When used for sleep, most researchers suggest using 400-900 mg. For better sleep results, take it 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime. When paired with other botanicals like in Easy Sleep, however, 100 mg of valerian root is the perfect amount. 

Valerian Root For Depression 

For depression and anxiety it is better to take a smaller dosage. This means a dose of 120-200 mg three times per day at mealtimes. Taking much higher doses may result in daytime drowsiness. Valerian root extract has been shown to help treat anxiety in multiple clinical studies as well as reduce stress levels. 

For example, one 2002 study that included 36 patients with generalized anxiety disorder found that just 50 mg of valerian root extract given three times a day for four weeks was enough to significantly reduce anxiety levels compared to the placebo group. Other valerian root for anxiety studies used slightly higher dosages and found that to be even more effective in reducing anxiety levels in patients. 

Side Effects of Valerian Root Capsules

As Healthline reported, "Valerian has been shown to be remarkably safe for most people. Valerian does not appear to affect mental or physical health when used as directed." Unlike many prescription-based anti-anxiety or sleep medication on the market today, valerian doesn't cause problems with dependency from regular use.

Possible Drug Interactions With Valerian Root

Valerian is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called cytochrome P450 (CYP450). Therefore, it is possible it could interfere with medications that are also broken down by CYP450. These medications include:

  • Allergy medications (fexofenadine) like Allergra
  • Cancer medications such as Camptosar (irinotecan)
  • Antifungal drugs like Sporanox (itraconazole) 
  • Statin drugs such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) or Mevacor (lovastatin) 

Valerian Root Sleep Supplement 

Easy Sleep is an all-natural, non habit-forming sleep supplement developed by doctors and neuroscientists to deliver better sleep results. Easy Sleep is designed with an optimal blend of melatonin (2.5 mg), and a unique blend of stress-relieving botanicals like valerian root extract, passionflower, and magnesium citrate to help you sleep easy and wake up without next-day grogginess.

Valerian Root For Sleep

Valerian Root For Sleep Summary 

Valerian root extract is an herb native to Asia and Europe and has been around since ancient times to help increase relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality and duration. The name "valerian" is derived from the Latin verb  "valere" which means "force" or "to be strong."

What Is Valerian Root Used For? 

Valerian root contains a number of compounds and antioxidants that help promote sleep, ease restlessness, and reduce anxiety. It has a unique interaction with GABA, a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Valerenic acid has shown the ability to inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain resulting in feelings of calmness and decreased feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Sleep disorders are extremely common nowadays. It is estimated that roughly 30% of people experience insomnia. In other words, 70 million Americans have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or even achieving high-quality restorative sleep. Multiple scientific studies suggests that consuming valerian root for sleep may reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve the quality of deep sleep. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Valerian Root Extract

Valerian Root For Sleep

Q: What is valerian root extract used for?

A: Medicine is made from the root of valerian root extract. Valerian is most commonly used for sleep disorders like insomnia. Valerian is also used for anxiety and to reduce the effects of stress. 

Q: Is it safe to take valerian every night?

A: Studies suggests that it is safe to take valerian every night to help support sleep, reduce anxiety, and decrease stress levels. 

Q: Is valerian root good for anxiety?

A: People use valerian to relieve anxiety, ease depression, and poor sleep.  Valerian root has a moderate calming effect that does not usually result in sleepiness the next day.

Q: How quickly does valerian work?

A: For insomnia, valerian may be taken 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. For stress and anxiety valerian can be taken in the morning with your breakfast, coffee, or tea. 

Q: How much valerian root should I take for anxiety?

A: The recommended dose of valerian root for anxiety is 120 to 200 mg, three times per day. The recommended dosage for anxiety is generally lower than the dosage for insomnia because high doses of valerian root during the day can lead to daytime sleepiness.



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