One in three people in the UK grapple with sleep loss, a phenomenon that can be attributed to innumerable causes. Fortunately, the solutions are equally as extensive, so correcting it is not a matter of if but when. A positive way to approach sleep loss is to see it as an unnatural disruption to a natural process.
One study in 27 people with sleep difficulties found that 89 percent of participants reported improved sleep when taking valerian root extract.
Furthermore, no adverse side effects, such as morning drowsiness, were observed after taking the extract.
Bolstering the findings, a study in 128 people found those who received 400 mg of liquified valerian root reported a decrease in the time it took them to fall asleep, as well as overall improved sleep quality, compared to those who did not receive the extract.
A third study evaluated its long-term effects.
In this study, supplementing with 600 mg of dried valerian root daily for 28 days exerted effects similar to those of taking 10 mg of oxazepam – a medication prescribed to treat insomnia.
How does it improve sleep loss?
Researchers are not entirely sure how valerian root works to improve sleep.
However, one theory is that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
When GABA is present in abundant levels, it can increase sleepiness.
In fact, research shows that this is the way in which certain anti-anxiety medications like Xanax function.
Simple self-help tips
According to the NHS, your bedroom should be a relaxing environment.
“Experts claim there’s a strong association in people’s minds between sleep and the bedroom,” the health body says.
To achieve this, you should eep your bedroom just for sleep and sex (or masturbation).
The NHS explains: “Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. This has evolved in humans over thousands of years.”