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melatonin sleep aidValerian root and Melatonin sleep aid supplements are two plant extracts commonly used as sleep aids.  Taken as a supplement, valerian acts as a mild sedative and pain reliever.  Melatonin can be taken as a supplement to help naturally regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.  For a more natural sleep supplement, melatonin is preferable, since it acts on existing hormone levels and supports healthy sleep systems instead of disrupting them.

How Valerian and Melatonin Effects are Produced

Valerian extracts come exclusively from the valerian plant, while melatonin is found in many different plants such a fruits, rice, St John’s Wort, and feverfew.  Melatonin is a chemical compound that exists naturally in the body and helps to regulate sleep cycles.  It is produced in the pineal gland, it is speculated that the production of melatonin decreases as a person ages, resulting in shorter sleep cycles [1].  Many teens and young adults may not get enough sleep due to changing melatonin levels, and adding melatonin supplements to the diet can help to regulate changes in sleep cycles.  While melatonin supports already existing hormone systems in the body, research is yet inconclusive on how valerian produces sedative effects.  It is thoughts that it causes gamma aminobutytic acid to be released from the brain’s nerve endings and then blocks its re-uptake, but it is likely that many different parts of valerian’s makeup contribute to its sleep-inducing qualities [2].

Melatonin Sleep Aid Benefits

Because melatonin helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, it can be used to aid for sleeplessness and other sleep disorders.  It can also help with other disorders that come from disruption of natural body rhythms during the shorter days of winter, such as seasonal mood problems [3].  Users of melatonin as a sleep aid often report an increase in vivid dreaming, due to an increase in the REM section of the sleep cycle, and it is sometimes taken for the sole purpose of inducing vivid or lucid dreams [4].  It also can help to deal with jet lag.  Besides its uses as a sleep aid, melatonin works as an antioxidant to remove free radicals from the body.

What is the Proper Melatonin Dosage?

Melatonin can be taken in a pill form as a supplement, and melatonin powder can also be taken orally to get faster effects.  The suggested dosage is between .5 and 5 milligrams to help with sleep disorders and jet lag, but up to 20 mg can be taken daily [5]. if you are interested in reading more reviews of melatonin and valerian as a sleep aid, check out this site here.

Sources

  1. http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/how_much_sleep.html
  2. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Valerian-HealthProfessional/
  3. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/tc/melatonin-overview
  4. http://www.livestrong.com/article/114545-effects-melatonin/
  5. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-940-MELATONIN.aspx?activeIngredientId=940&activeIngredientName=MELATONIN