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Valerian for Sleep Apnea 

valerian for sleep apnea


  DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment


Sleep apnea is a major sleep issue that is widely prevalent and often associated with various health complications. The benefits of valerian for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have long been studied since the time of Ancient Greece. Therefore, the effectiveness of valerian for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders has been revealed for decades and this herb has long been used as a treatment of various sleep conditions. 

In this article, we’ll explore exactly what valerian is and how it can help with sleep apnea. But we’ll start with the basics of sleep apnea first. So let’s get started.    

Table of contents 

  • What is sleep apnea? 
  • Types of sleep apnea
  • Symptoms of sleep apnea
  • Causes of sleep apnea 
  • Risk factors of sleep apnea 
  • Complications of sleep apnea
  • What is valerian? 
  • How valerian can help with sleep apnea 
  • How to use valerian
  • Precautions and side effects 
  • Final words 

What is sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition in which breathing recurrently stops and starts. It’s a potentially serious disorder that’s mainly characterized by loudly snoring during sleep. While lifestyle changes and treatments may ease sleep apnea, they may lead to serious health issues such as heart problems if left untreated.     

Types of sleep apnea 

There’re mainly three types of sleep apnea. These are: 

Central sleep apnea -A condition in which brain cells can't send proper signals to the  muscles  

that control breathing. 

Obstructive sleep apnea - This is the most common form of sleep apnea which happens due to the obstruction of the breathing airways by throat muscles when they relax.  

Complex sleep apnea syndrome - It’s a combination of both central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea, also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea 

The signs and symptoms of central and obstructive sleep apneas often overlap each other, making it hard to diagnose which type a patient has. However, symptoms of them may include: 

  • Snoring loudly 
  • Episodes of breathing stop and start repeatedly during sleep, which can be reported by other persons 
  • Gasping for catching air during sleep  
  • Awakening during sleep due to dry mouth
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping  
  • Morning headache 
  • Hypersomnia or excessive sleepiness during day time 
  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty concentrating while awake
  • Feeling exhausted and fatigue throughout the day even after a full night’s sleep

Causes of sleep apnea 

Central sleep apnea 

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain cells fail to send signals to the muscles that regulate breathing, making it difficult to breathe as well as difficult to get asleep due to shortness of breath.  

Obstructive sleep apnea 

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles of the back of the throat relax and obstruct the airways during sleep. When the oxygen levels in the blood lower, the brain awakens the patient very briefly so that airways can be reopened. This awakening phase is normally so short that the patient can’t remember it. This pattern repeats itself throughout the night in a rotational way with certain times each hour, impairing the patient to have a deep and restful sleep and the patient may choke, gasp, and snore.    

Risk factors of sleep apnea 

Sleep apnea may occur in anyone, even in young children. But there’re some factors that may increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. 

Central sleep apnea 

Factors that increase the risk of central sleep apnea may include: 

  • Older ages 
  • Males 
  • Narcotic pain drugs 
  • Strokes 
  • Heart diseases 

Obstructive sleep apnea 

Factors that increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea may include: 

  • Obesity or overweight 
  • A narrowed airway 
  • A thicker neck
  • Family history  
  • Males 
  • Older ages 
  • Nasal congestion 
  • A habit of Smoking
  • A habit of alcohol, tranquilizers, or sedatives 
  • Certain health conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, hormonal imbalance, or Parkinson’s disease

Complications of sleep apnea 

Sleep apnea can be both harmless as well as serious. It may lead to some serious complications if not managed earlier. Common complications are as follows. 

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure 
  • Daytime fatigue 
  • Metabolic syndrome ]
  • T2DM or Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver issues 
  • Complications with surgeries and medications    

What is valerian?  

Valerian, botanically known as Valeriana officinalis, is a grassland flowering plant endemic to Europe and Asia that now also grows wild in Canada and the United States along with many other parts of the world. 

Valerian has historically been used as medicine for centuries to treat various health conditions especially sleep disorders and moods.  

How valerian can help with sleep apnea 

Improving sleep conditions is one of the most studied and popular benefits of valerian. The phytochemical compounds found in valerian roots have been described to have beneficial effects in treating various sleep disorders and associated conditions including sleep apnea. 

Several clinical studies have suggested that valerian has significant power to improve sleep quality and quantity and thus, can be used as an effective and safe treatment for promoting sleep and preventing associated conditions.  

How to use valerian 

The dose of valerian for sleep apnea depends on the type, severity, and associated conditions. In general, 300 mg to 600 mg of standardized valerian root extract can be taken two to three times a day. 

Valerian supplements work wonders when taken in combination with other sleep-supporting herbs such as passionflower, chamomile, and hops. It’s recommended to consult with a certified naturopathic doctor to determine the best dose for your specific condition.  

Precautions and side effects 

Valerian is generally safe and well-tolerable for most people in recommended doses. Side effects are very rare and uncommon. They may include stomach upset, headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and a metallic taste in the mouth. 

Since valerian has sedative effects on the brain, avoid activities that require mental awareness such as driving and operating heavy machinery for at least up to two hours after consumption. 

Valerian may interact with other medications. Check with your healthcare professional prior to using valerian supplements especially if you’re taking medications for any underlying medical conditions or you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.  

Final words 

Valerian has a long history of medicinal use to promote sleep and prevent associate issues. Modern scientific studies have also substantiated its most traditional uses. The benefits of valerian for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are increased when it's combined with other sleep-supporting herbs such as passionflower, chamomile, and hops.

Since valerian has sedative actions and may affect the efficacy of other medications, it’s strongly recommended to consult a qualified naturopathic doctor prior to using valerian or any sleep-promoting supplements. 

Check out Vorst’s Sleep Aid for Sensitive Adults Capsules here that contain Valerian, Passionflower, Chamomile, and other sleep-promoting herbs.    

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