(NaturalNews) Lack of sleep is a common and serious problem that has personal health consequences as well as public health consequences. Increasing numbers of Americans are reporting that they suffer from a lack of sleep. Treatments for sleep issues range from meditation to natural remedies to prescription drugs. Due to the side effects of many sleep aids people often turn towards more conservative methods to help address their sleep problems. Valerian root is one of the most well known and effective natural treatments for sleep problems.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) reported in its 2009 Sleep in America poll that the numbers of Americans who reported sleep problems has jumped 13% in the last eight years. Stress seems to be a common factor as one-third of Americans reported that they are losing sleep over money and economy concerns.
The NSF reports that result from their poll show that lack of sleep is associated with decreased health and safety. People who get enough sleep (eight hours or more) are more likely to have healthier lifestyles and a better quality of life than people who do not get as much sleep.
Woodie Kessel, MD, a member of the Sleep in America poll, states "Getting enough sleep is as important as eating healthy and being physically active....Sleep is as vital as eating right and exercising to our health."
To help fall asleep and calm anxiety, many people turn to valerian root. Also known as Garden Heliotrope or Vandal Root, valerian root is a flowering plant native to Europe, South Africa, and Asia. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat insomnia, nervousness, hysteria, and digestive ailments. Today it is most commonly known for its use in alternative and complementary medicine as a sedative and to treat insomnia.
A double-blind study published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior in 1989 showed that a valerian preparation had a "good and significant effect on poor sleep" when compared to a placebo. In fact, 89% of the participants taking valerian reported an improvement in sleep and 44% reported perfect sleep.
Besides being effective, valerian root has been shown to be safe. The American Herbal Products Association has given valerian a class 1 safety rating, which means that it is a safe herb with a large dose range. Even though it is safe, some people experience unpleasant side effects such as nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, and heart palpitations. Pregnant and nursing women are told not to use valerian.
Because of its negative impact on health, it is important to address sleep problems. Research shows that valerian can be considered a safe and effective option to treat insomnia. Increasing sleep is positively associated with better health and improved quality of life.
Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner. Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.