Melatonin and valerian are two naturally occurring compounds that are often used as sleep aids. They are both alternatives for people wishing to avoid stronger pharmaceutical sleeping pills. One of the more common questions regarding these substances is whether it is safe to combine them. These substances can usually be combined safely in moderate amounts, but it is important to consider the safety profile of each before mixing them.
With regard to dosage, both melatonin and valerian pose little threat of harm from excessive doses. Individuals can respond quite differently to identical doses of the same supplement, however, so taking the minimal amount of these compounds to achieve the desired effect is usually the safest way to begin. Doing so can help to avoid any potential adverse effects.
Clinical studies performed by German and American universities have revealed the minimum dosages of melatonin and valerian needed to induce sleep. Valerian is usually effective at 450 milligrams (mg) to 600 mg, without leaving most people feeling tired the next day. This dosage is for a standardized extract of the herb, or a preparation that has been scientifically determined to contain a certain amount of an active compound. Active dosages for melatonin are in the range of 0.3 mg to 5 mg.
Supplements like melatonin and valerian may sometimes have stronger effects taken together than would be expected. For this reason dosages should be decreased when combining these supplements. To use both compounds safely with the least possible side effects, users may cut the dosage of each in half on the first night. Dosages can be slowly increased each night until the proper combination is found.
Doctors that specialize in sleep problems have noted that while combining melatonin and valerian is usually safe for most people, it may not be the best option for dealing with sleep problems. These types of supplements should be considered short-term solutions to be taken as occasional sleep aids, they caution. Neither compound causes physical dependence, but mixing the two may not always be necessary.
Before combining melatonin and valerian, some doctors recommend becoming familiar with the effects of both compounds individually. For some people, just one or the other may be needed to induce sleep. Consulting a medical professional to determine the underlying reason for poor sleep can also help relieve sleep problems without having to take these compounds on a nightly basis.