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Valerian: Towards Rediscovered Sleep Through Its Natural Benefits

Who hasn't heard of valerian? Although its name is easily associated with our grandmothers' herbal teas, this famous plant is far from having said its last word.

Its action on sleep and its beneficial properties on stress make it still a very appreciated remedy by those looking for natural solutions. Focus on the action of valerian on sleep and stress. We've also put together some practical tips for consuming it properly. 😊🌿

A woman sleeps peacefully thanks to valerian

Spotlight on Valerian

With a sound reminiscent of a feminine name, valerian evokes softness and femininity. But beyond its pleasant sound, this plant also possesses many benefits.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a plant native to Europe and Asia. Its use dates back to ancient times, as Hippocrates already mentioned it in his writings! It is the underground parts of the plant (roots, rhizomes, and stolons) that are used.

Valerian is a widespread plant. It grows in temperate regions, and prefers cool, moist soils. It is commonly found in ditches, wet woods, and along watercourses. Although valerian is present in mountainous areas, this plant usually does not grow above 1000 meters in altitude.

Renowned for its beneficial action on sleep, valerian works thanks to several active components:

  1. Valerenic acids, which are natural compounds. They inhibit the degradation of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Put simply: GABA is like a messenger that tells the brain to calm down. So, by preserving GABA, valerenic acids help you relax.

  2. Valerenal, a natural compound found in valerian, which promotes sleep by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA.

  3. Valerenic acids, it's thanks to them that valerian promotes deep and restorative sleep. 😴🛏️

Valerian: For Natural Sleep

Are you having trouble falling asleep, experiencing nocturnal awakenings, or are your nights restless? Do not despair, valerian can help you find sleep.

For more tips, do not hesitate to consult our article “How to Fall Asleep Faster?”

How Does Sleep Work? 🌙

To help you understand how valerian affects sleep, here is a simplified overview of the process.

Sleep consists of alternating cycles that last about 90 minutes. These are divided into several phases:

  1. light and slow sleep;

  2. deep sleep;

  3. REM sleep.

Let's take a closer look at each of these phases.

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Light and Slow Sleep 😴

During the light and slow sleep phase, you are in a state of transition between wakefulness and sleep. Your brain activity slowly decreases, your muscles relax, and your heart rate slows down. During this light sleep phase, we remain sensitive to external noises.

Deep Sleep 💤

During the deep sleep phase, you reach a state of maximum relaxation. Brain waves slow down, your muscles are deeply relaxed, and your breathing is slow and regular. In short, you sleep like a log. It is during this phase that your body truly recharges its batteries.

REM Sleep 🌀

REM sleep is a phase that is aptly named. Indeed, while your body seems deeply asleep, the brain becomes very active. This period is conducive to the emergence of the most intense dreams. REM sleep plays a key role in the processing of emotions and memories.

The Natural Action of Valerian on Sleep

According to a placebo-controlled clinical study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2002, valerian was shown to reduce the time it takes for menopausal women to fall asleep. This suggests it acts during the light sleep phase. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) considers "the use of valerian to relieve sleep disorders, but also to reduce mild nervous tension, as scientifically well established."

Valerian sleep

Fight Stress with Valerian

A real scourge, stress is omnipresent in our modern society. So, how does it work and how can we truly get rid of it?

What Exactly Is Stress?

Faced with a stressful situation, the body never remains indifferent. Stress is actually a response to a situation perceived as threatening. It involves a series of biochemical reactions, with the main hormone being cortisol. Released by the adrenal glands, it forces the body to react by increasing blood sugar and blood pressure, and accelerating heart rate. These reactions allow the stressed person to mobilize the energy needed to face the threat.

However, when stress becomes chronic, its consequences can be harmful.

Numerous studies, such as that of R de Gaudemaris, would highlight the onset of pathologies due to regular exposure to "constraints experienced as aggressions".

Our Natural Solutions for Overcoming Stress

Incorporating valerian into your daily routine will help you regain physical and mental well-being. Thanks to its soothing properties, irritable people will access a feeling of calm and relaxation.

A course of ashwagandha and/or a course of magnesium bisglycinate can also help you overcome stress by contributing to improved stress resistance of the body and to normal psychological functions respectively. Also consider reading our “7 tips to fight against stress”.🧘‍♀️

Sleep well thanks to valerian

Our Tips for Regaining Restorative Sleep with Valerian

Taking valerian to find sleep is a very good option. However, to optimize the effects of this herb, we advise you to consume it regularly. We recommend, as with all good things, not to overdo it.

Dietary supplements based on valerian for sleep are very popular. As usual, we advise you to follow the dosage instructions indicated on the packaging carefully. Also, check the reputation of the brand you choose and the quality of the product, including the ingredients in the formula and their dosage. Do not hesitate to consult consumer reviews as well.

You can also try our Sleep Formula based on melatonin and plant extracts, including what? Guess! (va-ler-..?)

Herbal Tea

Valerian for restoring sleep can of course be consumed as a herbal tea. Just let a tablespoon of finely chopped, dried root infuse in a bowl of boiling water for 10 min. Then enjoy and… sleep ;)

Sleep herbal tea with valerian plant

In the Kitchen!

Valerian, to improve sleep and stress, can also make its way to your table. For that, you just need to add its leaves and flowers to your salads. Its leaves have a mild and slightly bitter flavor that pairs well with citrus, nuts, and soft cheeses.

In Conclusion

Using valerian for sleep and stress can really help you find well-being. However, this virtuous plant sometimes requires a bit of patience to fully feel its benefits. We therefore advise you to consume it regularly and to respect the recommended dosages!


Co-founder of NOVOMA

Passionate and expert in micronutrition, Lucas founded Novoma in 2012. With conviction, he develops dietary supplements with effective, carefully chosen active ingredients that are 100% clean to best meet the body's needs.

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