Is Melatonin or Valerian Root Better for Sleep

A photo of a messy wooden bed in a dimly lit room.

Sleeping disorders are pretty common nowadays, affecting up to 70 million adult Americans every night. Not getting enough sleep can have terrible consequences on your quality of life, from performance, and health, to even relationships.

This is why supplements like Valerian Root, Melatonin, and even CBD have risen up as aids to treat insomnia and other sleep-related problems. In this article, we’ll compare how Valerian Root and Melatonin work and which one is better for sleep.

Valerian Root vs Melatonin

You’ve probably heard about sleeping supplements. On one side we have Valerian Root, a herbal supplement that has a long history in traditional medicine. It is an anti-anxiolytic herb, meaning it can provide relaxation and sedative effects thanks to its effects on our bodies.

On the other hand, we’ve got Melatonin. This supplement is a hormone that we already produce in our bodies, which is produced by your brain’s pineal gland. 

Taking this hormonal supplement can help regulate your body’s internal clock, meaning it can be helpful to get better REM sleep and feel recharged and refreshed. The melatonin levels in the body can vary depending on the time of day, the amount of light, and overall excitation from other sources.

Each of them has its benefits and works differently, but both can support each other. Some people who have tried melatonin say it doesn’t work as intended, which can also depend on each body’s reaction and hormonal system. 

Hence why some people also seek out Valerian Root, as it takes a different pathway from hormonal channels. Either option has its pros and cons, but it all depends on what properties you want from each supplement.

Is valerian root better than melatonin?

This is a hard question to answer. As we stated above, it all depends on what effects you are looking for. While both have the potential to help as sleeping aids and help with anxiety, it comes down to the ultimate goal of taking each supplement.

If you want to try a supplement that could also be helpful with stress and overall sleep, Valerian Root is a better choice. If you want something that follows your hormone cycle and can help with sleep quality and even jet lag, Melatonin is the way to go.

Both are incredible supplements that can work alone or together, but it all comes down to your wellness goals and your body’s reaction to each. While both are considered safe, it is important to consult a health professional first to understand how it might impact your current metabolism and sleeping situation.

So the bottom line is that valerian root is not necessarily better than melatonin. It can help in different ways than Melatonin does, and both can be great sleep aids. We’ll explore in detail what each of them do differently and their benefits below.

Benefits of valerian root

Valerian root is known as an anxiolytic, which means it has calming, relaxing, and even anti-anxiety properties. Research has shown that this root can help to improve their sleep quality, increase the amount of nightly sleep, and help them fall asleep more quickly.

This herbal supplement has also been found helpful to treat some insomnia symptoms such as waking up in the middle of the night or feeling groggy when waking up and having difficulties falling asleep.

Users also believe that valerian root can be used as an aid for anxiety symptoms. Others have reported feeling relief from hot flashes.

While there is much to understand about this herbal supplement, it is also important to know there is preliminary evidence that it can help to manage some of these symptoms. If you are curious about learning more about valerian’s root benefits as a sleep aid, you can watch the following video:

Valerian root dosage for sleep

As everybody reacts differently to herbal medicines, the best-recommended dosage depends on several things, including your metabolism, age, diet, and other factors. 

However, this 2006 review provided insight into the best overall dosage for effectiveness. Researchers of the paper found that general dosages ranged anywhere from 225 to 1,215 mg of Valerian root per day. This depends on the external and internal factors needed for relaxation as well.

With that said, this could vary depending on external stressors, and researchers also acknowledged that some studies were insufficient in their scope and scale. 

Much like CBD vapes and products, valerian root can be taken in microdoses. You can start with low doses and adjust as you get to feel the desired effects each week.

And before starting any supplement, even if it is natural, we recommend asking your healthcare provider how it could affect your health.

Does valerian root have side effects?

In general, valerian root is considered a safe supplement and people can even take it without a prescription. With that said, Poison Control has noted a few short-term side effects from valerian root, including fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even vomiting.

Other adverse effects, in the long run, are potential daytime sedation, gastrointestinal disturbances, and even increased bowel movements. Poison Control also reported withdrawal symptoms in people who stopped taking the supplement abruptly after long-term use.

Also, it is important to know that in rare cases, valerian root might cause liver damage. This is why it is important that patients who have liver diseases avoid this natural supplement or at least consult their healthcare provider first.

These cases however are very rare, and the bottom line is that the reported adverse effects are minimal when compared to other products that might help alleviate stress in general.

What are the benefits of taking melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone that occurs in our body, however, taking it can help your brain fall asleep a little easier. Research from 2014 found that melatonin could be an aid to improve insomnia symptoms.

Scientists also noted that melatonin would prevent sleep disturbances from short-term sleep problems, like jet lag. It could potentially initiate sleep a lot faster, and even improve overall quality over time.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) also confirmed that this hormone could improve insomnia symptoms and stress as well. 

They have also mention that it could be helpful with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, which deteriorates sleep quality and REM cycles over time.

What dosage of melatonin should I take to sleep?

Getting the correct dosage can be a little difficult as well. However, Poison Control has provided some of the typical doses of melatonin as 1-5mg for insomnia symptoms at least one hour before bed.

For jet lag users, a 5mg supplement 1 hour before bed would be ideal. This can be used for up to 4 days after a flight. If jet lag continues after 4 days, they also recommend talking with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Side effects of melatonin

While in general Melatonin is safe for public use, the NIH has concluded that some supplements might have mild side effects. In some short-term studies, the NIH shared that adults, surgical patients, and the critically ill could be prone to these adverse effects.

These effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and grogginess. However, the long-term side effects of melatonin supplements remain unclear so far.

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