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My Search for the Best Valerian Sleep Aid

Best Valerian Sleep Aid - Valerian in different forms

YOU WILL FIND VALERIAN IN A WIDE range of dietary supplements that claim to be able to help with both anxiety and insomnia. This simple herb has been used around the globe for centuries.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to help with issues such as:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Trembling
  • Stress

The good news is that valerian root could be exactly what you need to finally help get that good night's sleep and enjoy an anxiety free day. Keep in mind there are a number of these herbal supplements on the market, each of which has a different level of valerian root inside the capsule.

Like most things, the more you know about valerian root, the easier it will be to pick the best valerian root brand for your needs. Remember, just because one product might work for some, it might not work for you. You may have to try several to find the right one.

What is Valerian and Why the Root?

Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries for numerous medical maladies and as a sleep aid.

The Valeriana officinalis plant blooms in a variety of colors and is native to areas of Europe and Asia. The only part of the plant used for medicinal purposes is the root, and it is often mixed with other calming herbs such as hops to increase the supplement's effectiveness.

How Does Valerian Root Work?

Although research on the effectiveness of valerian in helping people to sleep or assist with their anxiety has been extensive, there has been little into how it works.

What research has been done, points to the herb being able to increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in a person's brain. GABA has been found to produce a calming effect both in the brain and the body.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Valerian for Sleep

At some point in life, insomnia affects approximately one-third of adults at some point in their lives. Even a few nights without sleep have very serious effects on a person's health and ability to keep up with their daily lives.

According to what little research is available, the recommended dosage for the best valerian brand for sleep is between 300 and 600mg.

You should take the dosage approximately 2 hours to 30 minutes before bedtime for the best results. It can two or more weeks for even the most potent valerian root to reach its full effectiveness. Before starting to use valerian root or if you are still taking it after a month, you should talk to your doctor.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Valerian for Anxiety?

If you plan to take the best valerian brand for anxiety, you will need to take a much smaller dose.

The recommended dosage for anxiety is between 120 and 200mg taken three times per day. Be sure your last dose is just before bedtime.

The reason for the reduced dosage for anxiety, is that if you take the same amount as you would for insomnia, it could lead to sleepiness, which in turn could make life difficult for you.

Valerian Root vs. Melatonin

Both valerian root and melatonin supplements are used by thousands of people around the world to help with insomnia and anxiety. Each works in a different way.

  • Melatonin is produced by your body when it starts to get dark outside. The melatonin transmits a signal to your brain to let it know that it's time for sleep.
  • Valerian root is an herb that has been found to help increase GABA production in your body, helping it to relax and remain calm.

If your problem is falling asleep, your best choice might be a melatonin supplement. But, if your problem is more one of not being able to stay asleep once you get there, then valerian root might be a better choice.

A much better option for many would be a supplement that included both melatonin and valerian root as they tend to complement each other nicely. Adding melatonin may help to reduce the amount of valerian root you need to take and alleviate that fatigued feeling the next day.

What About Side Effects?

While valerian root is thought to be well-tolerated among healthy adults, as with any supplement, there is always a risk of side effects. Among the most common side effects of taking valerian are:

  • Anxiety
  • Excitability (the opposite of what you want)
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia (again the opposite of what you want)
  • Morning fatigue and drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Vivid dreams

And of course, there is its sedative properties, which of course is why you are probably taking it in the first place. However, you should not operate machinery or drive after taking the supplement.

I'm Pregnant Can I Take a Valerian Root Supplement?

Most pregnant women suffer at least some level of insomnia during the first and especially the third trimester. Valerian has been used to treat pregnant women for insomnia and is considered quite safe.

How Does Valerian Root Come?

Valerian root is available in capsule and tablet forms, you can buy it as a tea, or if you visit your local natural food store, you may be able to find it whole and fresh.

Make Sure You Read the Label

Always read the label to ensure you know how much valerian root is in each capsule or tablet. You may also want to look for any other non-active ingredients such as fillers, artificial colors, or unnecessary additives.

Here Are My Picks for the Five Best Valerian Root Supplements for Sleep and Anxiety

Best Valerian Root 1000 MG

Non-GMO and Gluten-Free

The Best Valerian Root supplement contains 1000mg of valerian root, and there are 200 capsules in the bottle.

This product is made in the U.S. at cGMP and FDA certified facilities using organic and natural ingredients. The extract used creates one of the most potent valerian root supplements on the market.

ProsCons
Non-GMONot effective for everyone
Gluten-Free Large dose may be too much
cGMP and FDA certified facility Not vegetarian or vegan

Valerian Root Extract by Bulk Supplements

Powder form in a zip-sealed foil pouch

This Valerian Root Extract comes in a powdered form allowing you to determine how much you take.

It is pure valerian root extract and contains no filler and is Non-GMO and organic-friendly. Each batch might be a different color but contains the same amount of pure valerian root extract for maximum effect.

ProsCons
Powdered form can be mixed with water or your favorite drink Foul taste
Powdered format lets you determine dosageFoul odor
Can be put in capsules Does not dilute easily

Luna Natural Sleep Aid

Chock full of natural sleep aids

Luna natural sleep aids contain valerian, melatonin, hops, lemon balm extract, and many other all-natural ingredients.

These capsules are vegan, non-GMO, cruelty free, and manufactured in a cGMP facility. The combination of ingredients gives you a one-two punch, the melatonin helps you get to sleep faster while the valerian root and hops help you sleep longer.

ProsCons
All-natural ingredients Many find it doesn't work
Effective one-two punch Causes headaches
Vegan Causes hangover

Physician's Choice Natural Sleep Aid

Clinically proven, patented formula

Physician's Choice is an all-natural sleep aid containing valerian, chamomile, melatonin, and other ingredients in a vegetarian capsule.

Each bottle contains 60 capsules. This product is manufactured in a cGMP certified facility, guaranteeing both freshness and quality. The manufacturer recommends it for insomnia, improved deep REM sleep, the ability to fall asleep faster, and to stay asleep longer.

ProsCons
cGMP and FDA certified manufacturing facilityDoes not work for everyone
Gluten-free and vegan Can cause upset stomach
Also helps with anxiety May cause headaches and “hangover”

Driftoff Premium Sleep Aid

Non-habit forming, sleep well, wake refreshed

The Driftoff Premium sleep aid contains valerian root, melatonin, chamomile, GABA, hops, and several other herbs to help you get to sleep better.

Along with these ingredients, the product contains rice flour, and a vegetable form of magnesium stearate, all in a capsule made from cellulose that has been sourced from vegetables. Driftoff is 100% natural and vegan.

ProsCons
100% all-natural ingredients May cause itchy rash and anxiety
Vegan and gluten-free May not work for you
Helps with sleep and insomnia May have opposite effect

If Valerian Is Not for You

Valerian may not work for everyone, so here is an alternative that might make a better choice for you.

Natrol Advanced Sleep Melatonin

Melatonin and 5 HTTP for better sleep

Natrol Advanced Sleep Melatonin + 5 HTTP is a dual-acting sleep aid that is designed to provide with an initial dose of 3mg followed up with a secondary dose of 3mg released over time to help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Contains no artificial colors or flavors, no sugars, and is vegetarian.

ProsCons
Vegetarian May not be effective
Dual acting May cause nausea
The 5 HTP helps you sleep longer May cause morning drowsiness

Before the Lights Go Out

No one wants to deal with insomnia; there is only so much late-night TV or so many books you can read.

Valerian root has been used in traditional medicine for centuries with great success. However, results do vary from one person to another. You may find you need to try more than one supplement before you find the one that works for you.

DISCLAIMER: This web site does not take the place of your usual medical practitioner, it is intended to give information only and not to diagnose or provide medical treatment. It cannot cover all possible uses, interactions and adverse side effects. If you are at all worried about your health - please see your own doctor. Do not delay this as a result of anything you may have read about on the web. Many symptoms can result from a variety of causes, some may require specialist diagnosis and treatment. You should also consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements as some of them may react with essential medicines or have harmful side effects.

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