Using Valerian Root and Melatonin Together for Sleep Disorders
Are you suffering from insomnia? This is a disorder that affects nearly 60 million Americans every year.
There are a lot of different natural sleep aids to consider trying. Valerian root and melatonin are both remedies worth using to promote sleep.
Some people wonder whether you can use valerian root and melatonin together if you are struggling with insomnia. Both sleep aids are safe and helpful alone. But do valerian root and melatonin interact with each other in negative ways?
We will cover a description on valerian root before talking about how it interacts with melatonin at the end of this post. You can always follow this informative health blog if you want to learn more as well.
Understanding the Use of Valerian Root in Insomnia
Insomnia is a cause of distress and health problems for many adults and it also increases with age. Sufferers describe it as a feeling of dissatisfaction due to a difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep, or a short duration of sleep that is not restful and does not allow them to be rested the next day. In some people, insomnia is related to the intensity of the stress they experience on a daily basis. In older people, the deep sleep phase, called the slow-wave phase, which is the most restorative phase, may be diminished or even disappear. Insomnia is considered chronic when it persists for more than six months. Some plants act as natural relaxants due to their composition, so they are helpful for people suffering from insomnia.
Traditionally, herbal remedies, known in many countries as natural medicine, have been used to treat insomnia or sleep disturbances, thanks to their sedative properties. Valerian could be a good alternative in these cases. It has a moderate effect as a sleep inducer, without altering its structure. It has many properties that are similar to melatonin.
A prolonged treatment with valerian, a natural relaxant, is recommended, since its effectiveness tends to increase after two weeks. Valerian acts both in the induction of sleep, i.e. at the beginning, and in the quality of sleep, increasing its duration and increasing the most restorative phase, which is the slow wave phase.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), traditionally used for its tranquilizing, relaxing and sleep-inducing action, is a plant that acts as a sedative agent, relaxing the nervous system and the brain, so it is often recommended for people with sleep disorders, or to relieve stress and anxiety. Its sedative effects are due to the acids and antioxidants in its root. Valerianic acid increases the amount of GABA* in our brain (main neurotransmitter that inhibits the Central Nervous System) and some antioxidants such as hesperidin and linarin, contain sedative properties that help provide a state of relaxation and well-being.
This is one of the benefits that valerian root provides that melatonin does not. Melatonin is not highly effective as an anti-anxiety medication or relaxant. Instead, melatonin is a hormone that helps facilitate sleep. Therefore, it is understandable why melatonin and valerian root could be useful together.
*GABA is a neurotransmitter that decreases nervous activity in the brain, causing relaxation and calmness. Low levels of this neurotransmitter can lead to sleep disturbances or anxiety.
Clinical studies conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Valerian as a sleep inducer have shown that it promotes sleep onset and sleep quality. In addition, studies have been conducted in humans, which also demonstrate its anxiolytic and sedative action of valerian, which would favor improving sleep disorders.
Plants with medicinal properties can be used alone, but in association they have a synergistic and complementary action that enhances the results. This is the case of Valerian, Passionflower and California Poppy, three plants that are natural relaxants whose indication for the relief of states of mild anxiety, nervousness and sleep disorders has been corroborated after years of use and studies. Hence, the usefulness of phytotherapy, based on medicinal plants that not only act as sleep inducers, but also have sedative action.
Stress and anxiety are one of the factors that most frequently precipitate sleep disorders. At the same time, insomnia has been shown to cause states of anxiety during the day, creating a vicious circle. Numerous studies have confirmed that adequate rest helps strengthen our body’s immune system and keeps our blood pressure under control. Some food supplements based on plant extracts for natural relaxation do not cause dependence or drowsiness during the day.
Therefore, in those cases involving stress, nervousness, anxiety and/or mild/moderate insomnia, it would be indicated to resort to treatments of more natural origin, such as phytotherapy, to alleviate symptoms and physiological disorders associated with situations of anxiety and/or sleep disorders. The role of the pharmacist as prescriber is crucial in the recommendation and management of these treatments.
How Do Valerian Root and Melatonin Interact Together?
It is important to know how melatonin and valerian root interact with each other before using them. According to Drugs.com, there don’t appear to be any negative interactions between the two.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is always best to take valerian root and melatonin together. You should always talk to your doctor first.