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Valerian Root

One of the most commonly diagnosed ailments in the world is mild to severe sleep disorders[1]. In a time of ever-increasing workloads, stress, and seemingly inability to “turn off” the outside world it makes perfect sense that more and more people are finding good sleep harder to come by.

Due to so many people suffering from inadequate sleep, herbal products that claim they can help enhance sleep are reaching an all-time high in popularity. As a result of this, valerian root extract has been experiencing a resurgence in dietary supplement use thanks to countless anecdotal reports claiming it to be an effective sleep enhancer.

What it does

Despite having stellar anecdotal reports, valerian root has extremely limited proof of its benefits. Some examples of this lie in studies which show no improvement in sleep latency or sleep quality for healthy users[2][3][4].

Despite not helping in most users, valerian root does show promise for women experiencing menopause, as it caused 30% of users to report better sleep[5].

How it works

Valerian root’s claimed benefits stem from its ability to enhance the signaling of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is one of the primary sedative neurotransmitters in the brain. By increasing GABA and its ability to bind to specific transmembrane receptors, the brain experiences reduced neuronal excitability, which can help induce feelings of sleepiness and help users fall asleep faster.

Dosing

Standard valerian root dosing is 450mg taken about 30-45 minutes before sleep. Users should be wary of increasing their dosage beyond this level, as larger doses (900mg) have been shown to produce a “hangover” type effect the following day[6].

References

  1. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90638364
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21399726
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19114414
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21775910
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4034730