Restless legs syndrome is a common complaint among ME/CFS patients and recent research has been done to see if Valerian can improve RLS symptoms and sleepiness. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum recommends Valerian for ME/CFS sufferers to help with deep sleep. Dr. Teitelbaum says,
“Valerian is a mild sleep aid that has the interesting effect of calming people when they are anxious while at the same time acting as a stimulant when people are fatigued.”
In this study, researchers compared the effects of 800 mg of Valerian with a placebo on RLS patients to research their sleep quality and symptom severity. The study ran for 8 weeks and involved 37 patients who ranged in age from 36 – 65. The results of the data:
Data were collected at baseline and 8 weeks comparing use of valerian and placebo on sleep disturbances (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale) and severity of RLS symptoms (International RLS Symptom Severity Scale) from 37 participants aged 36 to 65 years. Both groups reported improvement in RLS symptom severity and sleep.
In a nested analysis comparing sleepy vs nonsleepy participants who received 800 mg of valerian (n=17), significant differences before and after treatment were found in [daytime] sleepiness (P=.01) and RLS symptoms (P=.02). A strong positive association between changes in [daytime] sleepiness and RLS symptom severity was found (P=.006).
The study found that 800 mg. of Valerian use for 8 weeks helped improve RLS symptoms and decreased daytime sleepiness in patients. Valerian may be an alternative treatment for the symptom management of RLS with positive health outcomes and improved quality of life.