It's no secret that a good night of sleep can make a world of difference, and a bad night of sleep can make for a really long day tomorrow. With stress levels on the rise, as well as the easily accessible entertainment brought to us by our phones, insomnia has been reported to effect around 40% of adults. Healthy sleep patterns might not be a primary focus. They should be, and if you struggle with sleeping, there are natural options in the sleep aid category that might help without the side effects many prescription medications carry.
A good night of sleep is critical for memory and brain function, and without it, concentration can be nearly impossible at times. Sleep is also important for physical health, as it is when the body is most able to repair, regulate blood sugar, and recover.
There are many options for sleep supporting herbs, the one covered here will be valerian root. From the basics of what it is, to how it might help you get that all important nights rest.
Valerian root supplements are generally extracts from the Valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis), native to Asia and Europe. While the flowers of the plant have a mild, sweet smell, the root itself has a strong odor, which is attributed to the oils and compounds it contains.
It is those compounds; mainly valerenic acid, isovaleric acid, that are attributed to the herbs ability to reduce anxiety, and aid sleep. Studies have shown that valerenic acid has the ability to reduce the breakdown of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) in the brain. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, stress, and insomnia. This is similar to the way prescription medications like xanax and valium work.
Valerian root also contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin, which have shown to possess sedative properties. All of these compounds seem to reduce excess activity in the parts of the brain that are responsible for stress response. By keeping the activity in those sections limited, it is believed to reduce feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
Valerian Root is easily available in supplement form, in capsules as well as tea form. Here are a few products we carry with Valerian Root. If you need to relax, consider them.
Nature's Way Valerian Root 180 Capsules
A 530mg dose of pure Valerian Root.
Allmax Nutrition Lights Out
A combination of ingredients including Valerian Root, known to produce a deep sleep and to get there quickly.
MegaFood Dream Release
Valerian and California poppy have long been used to promote deep and restful sleep in those with occasional sleeplessness.