Valerian root and melatonin are two natural sleep aids.
Here, learn about their differences, how well they work, possible side effects and interactions, and the best dosages in various situations.
Valerian root is an herb that people use as a sedative or sleep aid. It is available as a supplement in the United States.
In an older review of studies, from 2006, researchers found that valerian helped improve the quality of sleep without having negative effects in most people.
They highlighted the need for further research to investigate the best dosages, as well as valerian’s effectiveness and possible side effects in more detail.
Three years earlier, another review had found that valerian root can help ease mild insomnia with minimal side effects. The researchers determined that the supplement was most effective when taken over a longer period.
Still, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found that there is inconclusive evidence to support the use of valerian root. Overall, further studies into the safety and effectiveness of the supplement are necessary.
Melatonin is a hormone that the brain produces after dark to help the body fall asleep.
In a 2014 review of studies, researchers found that melatonin may help:
- prevent sleep disturbances from jet lag
- improve insomnia
- initiate sleep
- improve sleep efficacy
They did not find that melatonin would help ease sleep for people who work night shifts, however, and they highlighted the need for further studies into the supplement’s uses.
The NIH conclude that melatonin may help improve insomnia symptoms and echo that it may not help reset sleep schedules for people who do shift work.
Melatonin and valerian root have different recommended dosages. As always, it is best to start with a dose at the lower end of the recommended range and increase it gradually as needed.
Valerian root dosage
The best recommended dosage is unclear, but the authors of the 2006 review found that dosages ranged from 225–1,215 milligrams (mg) per day.
However, they acknowledged that most of the studies in their analysis were low-quality. It is also worth noting the lack of more recent findings.
According to Poison Control, the following are typical doses of melatonin:
- for insomnia: 1–5 mg 1 hour before bed
- for jet lag: 5 mg 1 hour before bed for up to 4 days after a flight
Like most health authorities, they warn against purchasing supplements that have not been independently tested and verified.
Third-party verification helps ensure that a supplement:
- contains accurate information about the ingredients and their quantities
- is free from contamination
- releases into the body in the advertised amount of time
A 2017 study confirms the need for independent verification of melatonin supplements, finding that 71% of those tested did not contain the amount of melatonin advertised.
Valerian is generally considered safe, and most people tolerate it.
However, as Poison Control note, the short-term use of valerian root can cause side effects, including:
People who use valerian for a longer period may also experience:
Oxycodone and OxyContin are two prescription medications that contain the same active ingredient: oxycodone. Oxycodone is an immediate-release tablet, whereas OxyContin is an extended-release formulation.
Doctors prescribe these medications for treating and managing pain. Oxycodone and OxyContin are part of the narcotic family of medicines, so they are subject to strict regulation because of their potential for addiction, abuse, and misuse. Depending on the type of pain, a doctor may choose oxycodone or OxyContin.
In this article, we review the similarities and differences between oxycodone and OxyContin.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved oxycodone for the management of acute or chronic pain. As oxycodone is a narcotic, doctors will reserve this treatment for people who are living with moderate-to-severe pain and have found other medications ineffective.
Oxycodone is a narcotic prescription medication. Other prescription oral narcotics available for pain treatment include:
Among oral narcotic prescription medications, codeine is the least potent, and hydromorphone is the most potent. To compare different narcotic pain relievers, doctors convert the dose of the narcotic to the equivalent dose in morphine.
When switching a person from one type of narcotic to another, doctors must prescribe an equivalent dosage. The oxycodone-to-morphine dose equivalent ratio is approximately 1-to-1.5.
For people who find swallowing pills difficult, doctors may prescribe oxycodone in a liquid formulation. There are also some medications that combine oxycodone with other pain relievers, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and acetylsalicylic acid.
Oxycodone is an immediate-release tablet, so people can take this medication as necessary every 4–6 hours. The product information contains a warning about the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse.
Some people require long-term narcotic therapy for pain. For these people, doctors should schedule regular follow-up visits. These visits should focus on reassessing the person’s level of pain and monitoring for signs of narcotic abuse.
OxyContin also contains the medicinal ingredient oxycodone, but it is in an extended-release formulation. These extended-release tablets offer longer lasting pain control than immediate-release oxycodone, which has a shorter effect on pain.
With the extended-release delivery system, the oxycodone in OxyContin provides continuous delivery over 12 hours. So, people take OxyContin twice daily.
The FDA approved OxyContin for the management of pain that is severe enough to require 24-hour pain relief. Doctors may prescribe OxyContin to someone experiencing severe, continuous pain for which no other treatments provide relief.
When doctors switch people from one narcotic to OxyContin, they must calculate the equivalent morphine dose. The OxyContin-to-morphine dose equivalent ratio is 1-to-2, which is slightly higher than that of the immediate-release oxycodone.
As with oxycodone, the product information for OxyContin contains an addiction, abuse, and misuse warning.
Doctors will reserve extended-release OxyContin for people with severe pain that requires 24-hour treatment. People with acute or chronic pain that is moderate to severe may take immediate-release oxycodone. As an add-on, some doctors may recommend oxycodone combination formulations, such as:
- oxycodone-acetylsalicylic acid
These combination formulations offer additional pain relief or anti-inflammatory effects without increasing the dose of the