Thursday, January 10, 2013

Does Chamomile And Valerian Really Help You Sleep?

So it’s midnight, you’re stressed out and wide-awake. Making it worse, you know you have to be up at 6:00 AM. Sound all too familiar? Unfortunately, it does to me as well. What can you do? How about a nice cup of tea? We have all heard chamomile tea helps you sleep. It has been used as a sleep aid for hundreds of years. Ok, but does it work?

I recently did a lot of Googling to research the subject. The information I found was interesting and as usual conflicting. The alternative medicine and herb crowd raved about the wonderful health qualities of chamomile including its use as a sleep aid. The traditional science research seemed to agree that while chamomile is basically a safe herb, it’s ability to help you sleep is inconclusive.

So does this mean chamomile tea has merely a placebo affect? Not necessarily, at least not by my own personal experience. When I sip herbal or fruit tisanes in the evening I am avoiding caffeine, which is a good thing in itself. Yet, avoiding caffeine alone normally does not make me feel relaxed or sleepy. Chamomile, on the other hand, does help me feel relaxed making sleep easier. Even knowing science says the proof it helps is inconclusive it still has a relaxing affect on my system.

What about teas containing valerian root? Again, the scientific evidence is inconclusive despite the wide usage of valerian to help us sleep. I was actually surprised there was no positive evidence for this one. I only recently discovered valerian and was immediately excited by the results. Valerian makes me so sleepy I can’t keep my eyes open. I drink a cup of this and I am going to sleep.

No matter the science. Chamomile helps me relax. Valerian puts me to sleep. Now the effects may sometimes be short lived. Did I just hear someone say, “A-Ha”? Well, let me say to the brainiac over thinkers, when you aren’t sleeping, getting even a few hours of rest can make all the difference in the world the next day. The alternative of no sleep, or worse the groggy, wish I could wake up, feeling from over the counter sleeping pills, is far less attractive. It is also potentially less dangerous.

Now that you know both sides of the issue, give chamomile and valerian a try for yourself. Then report back and let the rest of us know your personal results.

11 comments:

  1. chamomile helps me to sleep better than melatonin :)

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    1. I have not tried melatonin. sounds like maybe there is no need. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks for the summary! My husband has had great success with valearian.

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    1. Does he have a favorite? Better Rest is the only one I have tried so far but it is a good one.

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  3. thanks for sharing.

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  4. Melatonin does not hel me sleep. I have tried the lowest to the highest and I'm awake all night. Chamomile does do a little better but i have to be consistant with it. but I will try chamomile and valerain. Let you know my out come.

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    1. Looking forward to hearing your results. Celestial Seasonings has a fairly inexpensive bagged chamomile with valerian. It is called Sleepytime Extra. I have had better success with Two Leaves Better Rest. It also contains hops which seems to also be a nice sleep aid for me.

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  5. I drink a chamomile and valerian mix. It knocks me out

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  6. Thanks for your article. I'm suffering from insomnia for months now (lost count) and my doctor advised me to try valerian - for the record he refused to prescribe me pills bc I'm 24. Sometimes it does work, sometimes it doesn't and sometimes I get sleepy but I still can't sleep. I would like to ask how do you prepare a valerian tea? The guy I bought it from told me to put a pinch of it in a cup with warm (not boiling) water, leave it there for half an hour and then drink it. Any other preparation methods? Is there something you can mix into for better results? I'm gonna try that chamomile-valerian tea for a start (thanks anonymous)

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    1. I have never tried valerian in raw form.I understand it can be bitter. I buy it already added to teas. Have you tried melatonin? It is supposed to be a non-prescrition sleep aid. Google it. I have not used it myself. My sleep teas are usually enough for me.

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  7. No I haven't tried melatonin... I must confess I've never heard of this before until now. Valerian in raw form isn't bitter at all. It has a sweet taste with a little spicy aftertaste but it is pleasant to drink. The only thing that is unpleasant is the smell. It smells ugly and the smell unfortunately is a bit persistent but I put it in a cup with a lid and problem is solved. :)
    p.s. Thanks for your response!

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