Does Valerian Root Really Work for Sleep Problem?

In use since the second century A.D., valerian root helps ease anxiety, insomnia, nervous restlessness, as well as stomach cramps. The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of valerian and has listed it as "Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)." Many people use valerian root for sleep and it works in most cases. Some research also backs the fact that valerian root may prove beneficial in the treatment of insomnia. Does it really work? What is the best way to use it? Keep reading to find out more.

Does Valerian Roots for Sleep Work?

Yes, valerian roots do help sleep. Valerian is an herb and its root has medicinal properties. It has been used to treat anxiety and nervousness, and as sleeping aid since ages. Valerian root extract can help improve sleep because it has about 150 nerve-calming compounds and promotes sleep latency, which assures a good night's sleep. Besides, taking valerian root tea regularly helps increase the amount of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which in turn produces a calming effect on your nervous system.

Spikenard, garden heliotrope, and all-heal are some of the folk names of valerian. There are about 250 species of this herb, but any product with the dried roots of valerian proves more effective to treat insomnia. You have to take valerian root for sleep about a couple of hours before you go to bed to get better result.

How to Use Valerian Roots for Sleep

If your doctor asks you to take sleeping pills to treat your insomnia, you may first want to try valerian root to improve your ability to get to sleep. It is a natural alternative to synthetic sleeping pills. Here is how to use it for this purpose:

Whatever the way, you need to use valerian root consistently for a week or so to see its effects. It rarely produces any results in the first few days.

Caution: It is generally safe to take supplements of valerian, but you should not exceed the recommended dosage. It is also important to avoid using the herb for more than three weeks because you may become tolerant to its effects. To get the same effects, you will have to take larger doses but this may produce side effects.

General Side Effects of Valerian Root

When using valerian root for sleep, you need to be aware of its side effects as well. You may experience difficult breathing, hives, and swelling of your lips, face, throat and tongue. Other common side effects are upset stomach, headache, dry mouth, disorientation, strange dreams, nervousness and daytime drowsiness.

You should stop using it if you have developed liver problems, such as upper stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, loss of appetite, itching, clay-colored stools, tired feeling and jaundice.

Mind for Interactions

Just like side effects, valerian root can interact with other drugs and supplements.

Keep Instructions and Precautions in Mind

It is true that valerian root for sleep proves effective, but you should also keep its side effects in mind. To keep side effects at bay, you need to know the correct dosage requirements and follow them.

While it works well, you should call your doctor if your sleep problems become worse over time. 

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