In trial after trial, valerian seems to work as well as benzodiazepines in helping people to fall asleep. What's more, valerian's sedative effects are not significantly exaggerated by alcohol, as are those from benzodiazepines. And, unlike the benzodiazepine Valium, valerian has never been linked to birth defects.
But, for reasons not clearly understood, not all insomniacs respond to valerian. The herb, in fact, seems to mildly stimulate some people. Like all substances working in the nervous system, valerian has this type of paradoxical effect in a small percentage of people. Such individuals experience this effect beginning with the first dose, and it does not diminish; so, if you do not experience this effect upon taking the first dose of valerian, you can safely assume this effect will not occur at a later time.
In addition, valerian, like other herbs, is not regulated by the federal government. Thus, you can't always be sure about the quality of the valerian product you purchase.
The same holds true for melatonin. Consumers really can't assess the supplement's strength and purity. And, unlike valerian, which has been used safely for thousands of years, there have been no studies of the long-term effects of melatonin use.
It's also important to note that the beneficial effects of melatonin do not increase with higher dosages. Melatonin should generally be avoided by people suffering from depression. And, there is some evidence from animal studies that melatonin used during the daytime may have a carcinogenic effect.
But based on the clinical evidence so far, both natural remedies certainly seem deserving of further study.
Waking up exhausted and being sleepy most of the day are problems for many people. Thankfully, the home remedies and natural remedies in this article are designed to help you get the rest you need.