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Valerian Root Vs Melatonin For Sleep – A Comprehensive Breakdown

A woman sleeping in her bed

Valerian Root vs Melatonin for sleep? Which one should you choose?

Valerian Root and Melatonin are two of the most popular natural sleep aids.

Valerian Root has been used for centuries to sleep better.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used Valerian Root to treat insomnia and headaches. Hippocrates, the father of medicine and Galen, a roman physician who further developed the works of Hippocrates mention valerian root for its sedative properties.

In the Middle Ages, Valerian Root was known as the “herb of tranquility” and was used to ease nervousness, trembling, headaches, and even heart palpitations.[1]

It is important to note that the scientific evidence for Valerian root for treating insomnia is inconclusive and in early stages.

Melatonin is a newer supplement, but it has quickly claimed fame as a natural sleep. In 1958, Aaron B. Lerner and his colleagues discovered that the pineal gland of cows contained a substance that caused skin lightening in common frogs.

That’s how melatonin was discovered, but it was only classified as a nutritional supplement in mid 1990’s by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Valerian Root and Melatonin – How They Work

How Does Valerian Root Work?

Valerian root for sleep

It is believed that valerian root works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain that are involved in regulating sleep and mood.

One of these chemicals is called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA for short. GABA is a neurotransmitter that carries messages between nerve cells. GABA has a calming effect on the brain and body, reducing stress, anxiety, and nervousness. may also help you fall asleep by making you feel sleepy and relaxed.

Valerian root contains several compounds that may interact with GABA receptors in the brain, making them more sensitive to GABA. It may increase the amount of GABA available in the brain, or mimic its effects, and thus promote sleep and relaxation.

However, the exact mechanism of how valerian root works is not fully understood. Different studies have shown mixed results on the effectiveness of valerian root for sleep.

Some studies have found that valerian root can improve sleep quality and quantity, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and help with insomnia. Other studies have found no significant difference between valerian root and placebo.

How Does Melatonin Work?

Melatonin for sleep

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally to help you sleep. It is also available as a supplement that you can take before bedtime to improve your sleep quality and duration.

It works with your body’s internal clock, also called the circadian rhythm. This clock tells you when it is time to sleep, wake up, eat, and do other activities.

It is influenced by the light and dark cycles of the day and night.

When it gets dark outside, your brain releases melatonin into your bloodstream which makes you feel sleepy and ready for bed. When it gets light outside, your brain stops producing melatonin. This makes you feel alert and ready to start your day.

Melatonin binds to (melatonin receptor) MT 1 and MT 2. M1 receptors regulate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the stage of sleep where you dream. MT 2 receptors regulate non-REM (NREM) sleep, which is the stage of sleep where your body repairs and restores itself.

Melatonin is a full agonist of both receptors, which means it activates them fully and mimics their natural effects. It can also reduce the activity of nerve cells that keep you awake and excited and lower the levels of dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel motivated and energized.

It also helps you adjust to different time zones when you travel, as it can shift your internal clock to match the local time. Which also makes it effective against jet lag.

However, melatonin does not work like a sleeping pill that knocks you out. It only signals to your body that it is time to sleep, but it does not force you to sleep.

The amount of melatonin that you need to take depends on several factors, such as your age, weight, health condition, and the reason you are taking it. Generally, the recommended dose ranges from 0.5 to 5 milligrams (mg) per day. It’s important to consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements because they may interact with other medications or supplements.

Melatonin is generally considered safe and effective for short-term use. However, the long-term effects of melatonin are not well studied. Therefore, you should use melatonin with caution and under your doctor’s supervision.

Research on Valerian Root and Melatonin

A number of studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of Valerian Root and Melatonin for sleep.

A 2014 review of studies suggested that Valerian Root might be effective in improving sleep quality in people with insomnia.

A 2013 review of studies found that melatonin could be effective in reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and improving sleep quality in people with insomnia.

Another study, published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found that melatonin was effective in improving sleep quality and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep in people with jet lag.

Valerian Root and Melatonin are generally safe and well-tolerated by most people.

Valerian Root vs Melatonin – Which Natural Sleep Aid is right for you?

The best way to choose between Valerian Root and Melatonin is to consider your individual needs and preferences.

If you are looking for a supplement that can help you fall asleep faster, melatonin may be a better choice.

If you are looking for a supplement that can help you improve your sleep quality and reduce anxiety, Valerian Root may be a better option.

It is also important to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any other medications.

There are some key differences between them both.

Valerian Root is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that has calming and relaxing effects. Melatonin, on the other hand, works by regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

Melatonin may be more effective for reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, while Valerian Root may be more effective for improving sleep quality and reducing anxiety.

If you’re looking for both these benefits, CBD is a better and more tailored choice for sleep. CBN and CBD are being used by thousands of people to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

Our customers report more deep, uninterrupted and restorative sleep after they started taking CBN oil.

Benefits of Valerian Root

Valerian Root contains a number of active compounds, including valerenic acid and valerenone, which are thought to work by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that has calming and relaxing effects.

  • Can improve sleep quality: Valerian Root has been shown to help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It can also help to reduce the number of times people wake up during the night.
  • May reduce anxiety: Valerian Root has anxiolytic properties that can help to reduce anxiety and stress. It can be helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other anxiety-related disorders.
  • Can improve cognitive function: Valerian Root has been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults. It can help to improve memory, attention, and processing speed.
  • Side Effects of Valerian Root

Valerian Root is generally safe and well-tolerated, but it can cause some side effects in some people, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset
  • Dry mouth
  • Vivid dreams
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating

These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, if you experience any severe side effects, stop taking valerian root and talk to your doctor.

Benefits of Melatonin

Melatonin levels rise in the evening to help us fall asleep and decline in the morning to help us wake up. Melatonin supplements can be used to ease sleep disorders and jet lag.

Some of the benefits of Melatonin are:

  • Improved sleep quality: Melatonin can help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and improve sleep quality.
  • Reduced jet lag: Melatonin can help to reduce the symptoms of jet lag by helping to resynchronize the body’s sleep-wake cycle with the new time zone.
  • Improved immune function: Melatonin has immune-boosting properties that can help to fight off infection and disease.
  • Reduced risk of migraine headaches: Melatonin may help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

Side Effects of Melatonin

Melatonin is generally safe and well-tolerated when taken at recommended doses. However, it can cause some side effects in some people, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Vivid dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Reduced alertness

Other Alternatives

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It is extensively researched and has demonstrated a diverse range of potential health benefits.

Cannabidiol is thought to work by interacting with and balancing your Endocannabinoid System, which plays a crucial role in regulating pain perception, sleep cycle, stress, hormones and much more.

Full-Spectrum CBD is believed to provide an entourage effect because it contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant. All of which have their own unique health benefits, some yet to be scientifically discovered.

Benefits of CBD

Some of the most prominent ways in which CBD can help you:

  • CBD may be helpful in pain relief: CBD has been shown to have analgesic properties that may help to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • It is being used by people for a variety of discomforts, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic headaches.
  • Can help with anxiety reduction: CBD has anxiolytic properties that can help to reduce anxiety and stress. It may be helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other anxiety-related disorders.
  • A natural sleep booster: CBD can help to improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and inflammation. It may also help to reduce the number of times people wake up during the night.
  • CBD and skincare: CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be beneficial for skin health.
  • Neuroprotection: CBD also has neuroprotective properties that may help to protect the brain from damage. It may be helpful for people with age related neurodegeneration.

Side Effects of CBD

CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated when taken at recommended doses. However, it can cause some side effects in some people, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lightheadedness

These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, if you experience any severe side effects, stop taking CBD and talk to your doctor.

Conclusion

Valerian root is a plant that may work by enhancing or mimicking the effects of GABA in the brain, which is a chemical that calms you down and makes you sleepy. However, the evidence for its effectiveness is not conclusive, and it may cause some side effects or interactions with other medications or supplements.

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally to help you sleep by working with your body’s internal clock and relaxing your brain and body. It can be taken as a supplement to improve your sleep quality and duration, especially if you have insomnia or jet lag. However, melatonin is not a magic solution for sleep problems, and it may have some drawbacks.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that comes from the hemp plant. It may help you sleep better by affecting your endocannabinoid system, which is a network of receptors and molecules that regulate various functions in your body, such as mood, pain, stress, and sleep.

References

Culpeper N: Garden valerian. In: Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. New York: W. Foulsham, 1994: 295-297. [Republication of The English Physitian, by Nicholas Culpeper, originally published in 1652.]

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