My Trick For Overcoming Jetlag (Valerian Root)

how to overcome jetlag using valerian root man on a glacier with a camera

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. My advice comes from I use affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I will make a small commission.

Grateful for planes, not jetlag.

On the list of things I’m grateful for, planes are definitely in the top five. I am one of the rare humans that enjoys flying, and I get butterflies in my stomach just walking into an airport.

However, the least sexy thing about flying isn’t the flight. (Unless you’re the poor woman that wrote the Amazon review for sugar-free gummy bears). The least sexy thing about flying is Jetlag.

Maybe you’re going to France for Christmas to eat really good Croissants. Waking up in Paris is awesome when you wake up with the Parisians. It’s less exciting when you accidentally sleep until 3pm/15:00. Perhaps you’re a business traveler that has begun loathing planes and your job. You’re not ready to quit, but you still have to wake up at 6am even though it feels like 2am. Rough. I feel that.

I was once so tired from Jetlag that I started ugly crying in Norway in the middle of the night. Never again. I learned my lesson.

No matter what time zone you’re crossing or how many hours you’re off, there’s a tall green plant with little fluffy flowers by the name of Valerian, (Valeriana Officinalis) that is better than anything a doctor would prescribe. (Probably. I’m not a doctor). However, it’s not the flowers that hold the power of the plant, it’s the root.

Getting to know Valerian Root.

Valerian Root has been written about in medical literature as early as the 4th century B.C. It was used by Hippocrates and his followers to treat “womens diseases,” but Galen was one of the first to prescribe it for its modern use of a sleep aid. World War I and II soldiers were given Valerian Root to help shell shock. Called Spikenard in the Bible, it’s believed to be the plant Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’s feet with.

According to Darcy Larum, Valerian Roots effectiveness is “comparable to Valium, but without leaving you feeling hungover and groggy.” Throughout its history it has been used to aid with migraines, epileptic seizures, hyperactivity, heart palpitations, menstrual cramps, insomnia, a muscle relaxer, and an antiseptic.

I can’t personally vouch for every single one of these uses or condone them, but I will scream from the virtual rooftops about it’s powerfully ability to put me to sleep anytime, anywhere.

Plants are more than just little vitamin delivery systems. They contain an unbelievable array of molecules. Many of these enzymes are made by enzymatic catalysts causing chemical transformations.  Modern chemist have attempted to get to the root of Valerian Root. Through studying the DNA sequences they determined sesquiterpene and valerenadiene are the main “ingredients.” However, they are unsure of exactly what causes the sedative effects. It was part of a 6 million dollar study on plants with medicinal properties, so, don’t just take my word for it. The scientific community is on board with it even though they haven’t been able to synthesize it.

That sounds like good news to my ears. There’s something natural out in the world to help us sleep, and the fake version of it hasn’t been able to be created. Mother Nature has showed us her powers by making this plants chemical structures so complicated and unique it is (so far) unreplicatable.


A personal case study.

A friend of mine took this picture right after I shared some Valerian Root with him, and he found that it also helped him sleep.

A friend of mine took this picture right after I shared some Valerian Root with him, and he found that it also helped him sleep.

Remember when I mentioned ugly sobbing in Norway from being insanely Jetlagged? Yeah? Well, here’s my story about that very long night. I worked quite a lot up until my departure to Oslo. My to-do list was a mile long, and I delegated a very important thing to my mom. “Can you pick up a bottle of Valerian Root the next time you’re at the store,” I asked her. She said yes, and I had it packed away for my travels.

Fast forward to my second night in Oslo when I wasn’t staying up watching Westworld. I dug out my bottle of Valerian Root from the bottom of my backpack and immediately took four. I noticed it wasn’t the brand I usually use, and it didn’t smell the same. The bottle said Valerian Root Extract, not Valerian Root.

Thirty minutes later I realized I had been bamboozled. I was still red-eyed, wide awake. I read the back of the bottle. It only contained 12% of my precious plant. The rest was filler. I was fucked and not in a good way. I took two more. Then two more. Then two more again. Nothing was happening. It might have well been candy. In a panicked attempt at sleep, I took half the bottle hoping to get enough Valerian Root in my system to induce sleep, but nothing happened.

It was 3am. If I remember correctly, it was my birthday. I started crying. I was so physically exhausted, but my body would not cooperate with me. I eventually succumbed to sleep. I woke up determined to never have a repeat of that miserable night, and I went to the pharmacy in Oslo hoping with all my might to find some Valerian Root. Lo and behold, it was there on the shelf. Valerian Forte. I bought two packages and slept soundly that night, finally getting my sleep schedule right. I learned a lesson, buy the pure name brands. Also, Jetlag is unforgiving.


How to take valerian root

My mom is the person that turned me on to Valerian Root. She actually read an article like this one and decided to give it a shot after getting dangerously close to being dependent on doctor prescribed sleep aids. We found some at our local pharmacy in the vitamin and supplement isle and tried it that night.

For someone that is a heavyweight but also incredibly sensitive to medication (me), this plant walked into my life that night like a warm blanket, and I can’t believe I lived without it. It does not mess with me like Valium or Xanax does. I can take a little or a lot depending on what kind of outcome I’m looking for. If I’m trying to overcome jetlag, I take 4 pills or about 1000mg. If I just want to be a little bit tired and have been staying up late, I take one or two.

My mom is a tiny person, and she takes only one to go to sleep. Like any kind of supplement, there’s no way to know how it will work for you without trying it. Valerian Root is so easy to obtain there’s really no excuse not to try it.

You should probably phone your doctor and do your own googling before taking my word exclusively. I’m not a doctor. However, I can vouch for this as something that really works. Do your research and give it a shot.


Overcome Jetlag.

Before trying it out for Jetlag, I recommend trying the minimum dose on a regular night to see how it affects you. Bigger people may need more. (I do best when taking four capsules and getting to bed in a timely manner.)

Once you have determined how much is needed to induce sleep, it’s time to conquer jetlag. Take your personal dose about an hour before your new time zone bedtime. I also recommend taking a few more milligrams than normal when using this for jetlag to ensure you sleep through the night and get good sleep. Then, go to sleep. It really is that simple. (Again. I’m not a doctor. Consult a doctor with any medical concerns or advice).


Try Valerian Root.

Purchase Valerian Root as a seed to have a fun experiment in growing your own, from your local pharmacy in powdered capsule form, or click here to purchase from Amazon. If you use my link, I get a small share of the purchase at no extra cost to you.

However you get your hands on Valerian Root, good luck, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.