Valerian root is a herb used to treat insomnia and sleep disorders. It is also an effective treatment for anxiety, as it reduces the dangerous effects of stress. In 1982, a double-blind study was conducted on 128 subjects. Results showed that Valerian was just as effective as some prescription sleep aids and also increased the quality of sleep. This herb has been researched extensively. While not as potent as some prescription sleep medicines, it is safer and has fewer side effects.