Can valerian help me sleep better?

Evidence for improved sleep from clinical trials in humans using valerian is limited, and results are moderately positive.

In the largest controlled study of 128 asymptomatic persons, the participants reported a subjective improvement in sleep quality for valerian extract compared to a placebo. For participants taking the valerian extract, the greatest improvements were reported by those considering themselves to be poor sleepers.

In another controlled trial a valerian preparation containing primarily fat-soluble compounds (sesquiterpenes) improved poor sleep significantly more than the placebo. A high proportion of participants in the valerian group reported improved sleep.

Goldina Erowele

Valerian has a long history of use as a sedative and anxiolytic. It is one of the most popular herbal preparations in Europe. It has also been reported that valerian improves sleep quality. It may have benefit for individuals with stress caused by a number of factors.

Valerian components include valepotriates, valeric acid, and pungent oils. These have a sedative effect on the central nervous system, and they can induce smooth muscle relaxation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Based on pharmacologic activities, may cause drowsiness or sedation. Use with caution when driving or operating heavy machinery (German Commission E, 1985). Use caution in individuals taking medications that cause CNS depression, including sedative-hypnotics, antihistamines, antidepressants, and anxiolytics.

Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Individuals using this site are encouraged to consult the healthcare provider regarding their specific medical condition. Information provided does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Continue Learning about Valerian

What dosage of valerian supplement is typically used for adults?
Valerian is a perennial herb native to Europe. Extracts of valerian are made from the thickened, und...
More Answers
Is valerian effective?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
The evidence for valerian’s effectiveness is decidedly mixed. The Natural Medicines Comprehensiv...
More Answers
Is it possible to be allergic to valerian?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
It is possible to be allergic to valerian but unlikely. There is no evidence of serious allergic...
More Answers
Can Valerian Work as Well as Sleep Medications?
Can Valerian Work as Well as Sleep Medications?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.