Whoever started the phrase, “sleep is for the weak” was probably just trying to cope with the fact he (or she) wasn’t able to figure out how to get a quality night’s sleep. The problem isn’t always time management for sleep--one could make ALL the time in the world to catch every Z… but what if you simply can’t fall or stay asleep?
It’s silly to settle with the idea that sleep isn’t for the mighty too. There are options out there that help support sleep! One option in particular has been around for thousands of years.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, they were able to use this to take care of insomnia, nervousness, headaches, etc. The Greek and Roman empires know this solution as Valerian Root.
This plant is native to Europe and Asia, but has been naturalized in North America. Throughout history, this herb has been described as an aid to issues with consistent sleep. It’s been noted by Hippocrates as well as Galen for its medicinal properties, and was even used during World War II to relieve the stress of air raids.
Fun fact: this plant’s been known to have a nice smell as the flowers were used to make perfume centuries ago!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The power of this herb is in the roots! The roots are dried to be prepared into teas or put into capsules. Valerian contains valerenic acid, a substance that is believed to affect certain receptors in the brain that control fear or anxiety. Valerenic acid may be able to control these emotions when nerve cells are experiencing overexcitement.
Valerian Root has potential health benefits that may be surprising. Here are just a few to begin with:
- May reduce insomnia: People reportedly “fall asleep faster, have better sleep quality, feel relief from restlessness and other anxiety disorder symptoms, no ‘hangover effect’ in the morning”
- May calm anxiety: Some say this product is a safer, more natural alternative to prescription medicine to calm anxiety since the valerenic acid calms down the GABA receptors.
- Can reduce hot flashes: Women during menopause participated in a study in which they took valerian daily, and the women found significant reductions in hot flash severity and frequency.
- Can aid in stress management: A study revealed that 27 patients who regularly struggled with stress-inducing thoughts before bed were able to experience a reduced blood pressure and heart rate after a month of valerian treatment.
In order to obtain these benefits in the best way, it’s recommended that one takes 400-1000mg of valerian a day before bed. For anxiety, take 120-200mg three times per day. Try to avoid alcohol, sedatives, anti-anxiety medicine, and operating machinery while taking valerian.
If there’s anything to be taken from this article, it's that no one should have to give up on a good night’s sleep! Valerian root can be a convenient, natural aid to overcoming sleep issues like insomnia or chronic stress-related thoughts at night.
Before you add any new supplements to your everyday life, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s the best option for you.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.