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Trouble sleeping? There are several nonprescription sleep aids that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better through the night. The two most common options are valerian and magnesium so let’s take a look at what these are and which one is better to help you get quality sleep.

Valerian is an herb extracted from the valerian plant which is a popular garden option as it’s quick to grow and easy to maintain. The roots have been harnessed for their medicinal qualities for centuries and now you can find these in powder, liquid, and capsule form.

Valerian is used as a mild sedative, but research has shown that dried valerian root could decrease insomnia symptoms when taken at bedtime for 28 days. However, another more recent research of 16 days has also shown valerian did not appear to improve sleep. Overall, the NIH concluded that there are not enough studies to determine the effect of valerian on sleep.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient; our body needs this but does not produce enough of it on its own so that’s where magnesium supplements come in. There are many supplements on the market but the most common is magnesium glycinate which we carry at The Remedy Pharm (ships nationwide). Glycine is an amino acid that makes magnesium easier to absorb and the combination of magnesium and glycine has been shown to help people sleep faster and for longer periods of time.

One study of 46 elderly participants showed that those who took the magnesium supplement vs the placebo had longer and deeper sleep by the end of the trial, concluding that the supplement appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia.

Magnesium also elevates melatonin levels and decreases cortisol levels which is important for our body to get quality sleep.

Be cautious though as both can have slight side effects such as stomach discomfort.

So Which One is Better for Sleep?

If you’re looking for a supplement to help you wind down and relax, Valerian may be the way to go. Like most herbal medicine, it may take some time before you start to notice the effects since it’s gentle. But if you’re something stronger that’s known to be effective in aiding with sleep, magnesium is the better option. "Magnesium helps to calm the central nervous system, which helps to prepare the brain to turn off and also to keep it functioning at a calmer level throughout the night," family medicine physician Robert Rountree, M.D., says of the supplement.

Speak with your nutritionists/ doctor before taking any of these supplements though as it may interfere with other prescription medications. Our team of in-house nutrition experts can help guide you in finding the best vitamins and supplements for your body. Schedule a free nutritional consultation today (phone call or in-person)!

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