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Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. The root of the plant has long been used as a herbal remedy to treat insomnia.
The use of Valerian root dates back to the Greek and Roman Empires and was noted by Hippocrates to treat headaches, nervousness, trembling, and heart palpitations.
Valerian contains a substance known as valerenic acid that is believed to affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain. It is believed that one of the purposes of GABA is to control fear or anxiety experienced when nerve cells are overexcited. By doing so, Valerian may act as a mild sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing drug).
Stress and anxiety are part of life because of the numerous activities we go through daily. We’re faced with pressure at home, at work, on the road, and every other place and action in which we engage. According to the American Institute of Stress, about 33% of people report feeling extreme stress, and a high percentage (48%) of that population reported having trouble sleeping because of anxiety. https://www.stress.org/daily-life
This stress and anxiety can be physical, mental, emotional, or all three. Such difficulties can lead to many unpleasant conditions including insomnia, headaches, risk of heart attack, increased depression, fear, and tension, irritability, social awkwardness, chest tightness, fertility problems, weakened immune system, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction amongst others.
To combat stress and anxiety and increase sleep quality, the Mental Health Foundation (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-manage-and-reduce-stress) recommends lifestyle changes, including eating healthily, exercising, being mindful, and keeping a positive attitude amongst others. However, in a bid to gain faster results, people take alcohol, smokes, and drugs. HelpGuide (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-medication.htm) points out that stress and anxiety medications can have unpleasant common side effects, including nausea, fatigue, agitation, drowsiness, weight gain, diarrhea, and the like.
Amongst the most effective ways of managing stress and anxiety and increasing sleep quality is by eating a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and vitamin supplements. Nutritionist Resource https://www.nutritionistresource.org.uk/articles/stress.html#whydowegetstressed and research suggest that proper nutrition and all-natural oxidative stress relief supplements can be a remedy for stress management.
A new study out of Colorado State University has found that physical stress in one’s job may be associated with faster brain aging and poorer memory.
Aga Burzynska, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and her research team connected occupational survey responses with brain-imaging data from 99 cognitively normal older adults, age 60 to 79. They found that those who reported high levels of physical stress in their most recent job had smaller volumes in the hippocampus and performed poorer on memory tasks. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is critical for memory and is affected in both normal aging and in dementia.
Their findings were published this summer in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience under the research topic “Work and Brain Health Across the Lifespan.”
“We know that stress can accelerate physical aging and is the risk factor for many chronic illnesses,” Burzynska said. “But this is the first evidence that occupational stress can accelerate brain and cognitive aging.”
She added that it is important to understand how occupational exposures affect the aging of our brains.
“An average American worker spends more than eight hours at work per weekday, and most people remain in the workforce for over 40 years,” Burzynska said. “By pure volume, occupational exposures outweigh the time we spend on leisure social, cognitive, and physical activities, which protect our aging minds and brains.”
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