Last night was one of those nights: more time spent staring at the ceiling and willing myself to sleep than spent actually sleeping. I’m far from home, which means that I’m also far from my supply of kratom, one of my favorite sleep-enhancing tools. I’ll be sure to pack some next time I travel, most likely one of the strains below. These are a few good places to start if you are looking for the most relaxing kratom for a good night’s sleep.
Kratom – Traditional Medicine for Relaxation and Sleep
Kratom (botanical name Mitrangyna speciosa) is an evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia’s tropical jungles. There, it has been used for at least a century as a traditional medicine. Kratom is popular among agricultural workers in that region. In small doses, its energizing effects help keep people pepped and motivated through long days of agricultural work. During the evenings, larger doses help with relaxation and sleep. In kratom’s native region, users typically chew the fresh leaves or make it into a tea.
Kratom’s medicinal uses include wound care and a tool to quell opiate withdrawal. Macerated leaves are used as a poultice on wounds. The traditional use as an opium replacement was first observed by Dutch botanist Pieter Willem Korthals.
He noted that native populations in Southeast Asia would turn to kratom either as an opium replacement when the drug was unaffordable or unavailable or to completely wean someone with opium addiction off the drug. Although kratom does not contain an opiate substances, it binds to the same brain receptors. This allows it to interrupt withdrawal symptoms, allowing for relaxation and rest.
Over the past several years, kratom has become more and more available and popular in the United States. Thousands of users are able to find the herb online, in specialized coffee houses, and in shops that specialize in useful botanicals. Kratom can now be purchased in liquid extract, capsule and powdered leaf form.
Research into kratom is still in its infancy. However, users have networked with one another to compare anecdotal reports regarding different strains and preparations and their effects. By doing a bit of research and looking at threads about, say, the most relaxing kratom Reddit users recommend or the kratom considered the best for sleep forum users elsewhere like, you can get a few ideas of where to start. Try different strains, preparations and dosages until you find what works for you.
How Kratom Helps with Sleep
Insomnia comes in a few different flavors, and each can have a wealth of causes. Some people suffer from onset insomnia, which is a difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night. Others have maintenance insomnia, also known as early waking insomnia. These folks fall asleep just fine, but find that if they wake up, they can’t get back to sleep again.
Insomnia can occur all on its own, or be caused by outside issues. Stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain are all known insomnia triggers.
Sometimes stress is due to outside factors. If you are worried about bills, current events, your love life, school or any number of other common issues, an effect on your sleep is to be expected. Often, this sort of insomnia resolves naturally when life calms down a bit. While you’re in the grip of it, however, a sleep-inducing strain of kratom could be just the thing.
Anxiety and Depression
Chronic anxiety and depression are a little different. While they can be exacerbated by environmental factors, many people also regularly suffer from anxiety or depression. The same relaxation aids that can help with situational stress and depression can also help with chronic conditions. It’s important to note that you should double-check with your doctor before combining kratom with any medications you are prescribed.
Pain, whether acute pain from a recent injury, or chronic pain due to any number of conditions, can significantly hamper sleep. Kratom’s analgesic effects can dull pain long enough for you to fall asleep, allowing you to wake up rested. The body does most of its best healing work while you are sleeping, so, getting a full night of shut eye is important.
Kratom has the ability to address each kind of insomnia. Those who are having trouble sleeping because of pain can find that kratom’s pain-relieving abilities can also help them sleep. In the right doses, kratom that helps with sleep helps because it can help stressed out or anxious folks relax enough to let the body transition into sleep.
On top of those abilities, kratom is also quite sedating on its own, and can help relieve insomnia with no obvious external case.
Top Kratom Strains for Sleep
Kratom is divided into three separate broad categories: red vein, white vein and green vein. The names derive from the color of the kratom leaves’ veins and stems while the plant grows. It’s important to note that these stems and veins are removed when the plant is processed. So, even if you buy a red or white veined strain, the powder will still be green or greenish brown in color.
Each of these three types of kratom has different effects on the user. White kratom is considered stimulating and euphoric. Red is considered the most calming and sedating. Green kratom strains fall somewhere in between. A number of users claim that green is the best for pain and also the best at calming anxiety.
Within each of the three categories are a number of well-known strains. While preferences, tolerances and effects can be highly individual, these are among the strains most praised for their sleep-enhancing abilities.
1. Maeng Da Kratom
This kratom strain has both adherents and critics in the kratom community. any people on kratom forums and blogs recommend maeng da for sleep because of its anxiety-soothing properties. If stress, depression or anxiety is the cause of your insomnia, this could be a good pick for you. However, other people say that they find this kratom strain to be energizing as well as relaxing, and thus find it is not an ideal sleep option for them.
This red kratom, native to Thailand, is prized as one of the more potent, high-alkaloid strains. Experiment with small doses at first while finding the right strength for you.
2. Red Borneo Kratom
Red borneo is considered a classic red kratom. It’s relaxing and euphoric, but not as opiate-like as other kratom strains like red Bali. This is a strain that is associated with strong pain-relieving properties. So, if you’re like me and have joint pain keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep some nights, this can be the strain to set you straight.
Like other kratom strains, this can be energizing at lower doses and analgesic and relaxing at higher ones. Start off with a couple of grams to see how that makes you feel. At a four-gram dose, you should feel the full effects. A strong dose would be about six grams.
3. Gold Bali Kratom
More than a few kratom users recommend gold bali kratom for sleep. This kratom is a red veined strain, but its processing technique changes the way that it feels. Many people describe the sensation as somewhere between a calming green vein and a sedating red. The leaf is fermented then sundried before it is ground. The fermentation process causes it to turn yellow.
While most kratom strains are named for the region they come from, “Bali” actually comes from the product’s strength. According to some tests, this kratom has the highest concentration of the 7-hydroxymitragynine alkaloid compared to all other kratom strains. Research indicates that it is this alkaloid that gives kratom its pain-relieving effects.
4. Red Indo Kratom
Red indo is a kratom strain that is perfect for people who suffer from early waking insomnia. While it is not as strong as a strain like Red Bali or Red Thai, its effects are longer lasting. If you are especially susceptible to the effects of kratom, this milder kratom could be the perfect pick.
Indo is a wildcrafted kratom grown in rural regions on several Indonesian islands. Some sellers recommend blending it with another mild strain, green indo, for pain relief and relaxation.
5. Red Thai Kratom
Look carefully when ordering Thai kratom strains. While the red Thai kratom is a classic relaxing strain, white vein Thai is considered one of the most stimulating. As long as you get a proper red Thai, however, you will find that this strain offers good relaxation. Many people compare the effect of red vein Thai to red Bali.
6. Red Kali Kratom
This strain is considered one of the stronger kratom strains. What makes it perfect for sleep is that it has strong pain-relieving properties but is not likely to make someone feel stimulated or energetic. The result is a relaxing and mood enhancing experience that primes users for sleep.
Some experts say that Red Kali is the original kratom strain. It is originally from the Borneo region of Southeast Asia, where it is used by agricultural workers. Modern users praise this strain for its long-lasting effects, making it a perfect choice for a good night’s sleep.
Choosing Your Kratom Preparation for Relaxation and Sleep
After you’ve decided which kratom you want to use, the next choice is how you want to use it. Kratom is available in both extract and powdered leaf form. Extracts might be sold in a bottle with a dropper or already in capsules. Powdered leaf is often loose in its bottle or bag.
Consuming by Capsules
Capsules are, by the way, the easiest and most convenient way to take kratom. You can even easily make capsules yourself by purchasing and filling empty 00 or 000 size capsules. The 00 size is best for extract because of its small size. Larger 000 size are better for powdered leaf. Each capsule will hold about a gram of powder, which makes measuring convenient.
Mixing Kratom With Food
Mixing kratom with food is another popular option. Because kratom has a strong flavor, it may not work well in every combination. However, many people have had good results mixing their kratom dose with soft foods like apple sauce, yogurt or ice cream. You can also buzz some of the powder in a smoothie with flavored protein powder or chocolate milk.
“Toss and wash” is the simplest kratom consumption method, but far from the most pleasant. People who use “toss and wash” just spoon the powder directly in their mouths, then wash it down with liquid. Be sure to go with small spoonfuls, as the dry powder can make you gag and cough if you take too much at once.
Mix with Tea
The final option is mixing kratom powder into tea. Start with around a teaspoon of powdered kratom, then pour boiling water over the top, then mix thoroughly. Let steep for about 15 minutes. The powder will fall to the bottom of the pan. Decant the tea into a cup, sweeten and drink.
If the flavor of kratom tea on its own is not pleasant, try brewing it with another relaxing herbal tea such as chamomile or mint.
A few of the best ideas to mix kratom for consumption include:
- blending kratom with chocolate almond milk. The thickness and sweetness of the beverage helps hide kratom’s texture and bitter flavor.
- blending into vanilla yogurt. When tamed by a sweetened yogurt, many people find kratom’s flavor almost pleasant.
- mixed into a spoonful of peanut butter. This is a good pick for people who are worried about their sugar consumption. Serve the peanut butter and kratom mixture on toast as a late night snack.
- add kratom to a coconut milk smoothie. When blended with coconut milk, berries, honey and a banana, this kratom mix is filling enough to sate you till morning.
Beware of Kratom Restless Sleep Issues
No discussion of kratom’s sleep benefits is complete without a warning about unwanted effects on sleep.
When trying out kratom strains, be aware that, for some individuals, kratom can actually inhibit sleep. While there isn’t a lot of official research in this area, Reddit and other forums have many anecdotal reports about this unwanted effect. In some cases, the sleeplessness can be the result of choosing the wrong kratom strain. It’s generally agreed that red kratom strains are more likely to be sedating while green strains are more likely to give you a bunch of get up and go — not exactly the effect that you’re looking for when it’s time to go to sleep. In general, stick to red strains if you are looking for kratom to help you sleep.
It’s also, in part, a question of dosage. Kratom is sedating at higher doses, but stimulating in smaller amounts. If you’ve only been taking a gram or two, try gradually increasing your dose to see if you get the effect that you want. Titrate up carefully and make sure you don’t overdo it, though. In high doses, kratom can cause extreme sedation. Increase a gram at a time until you have the effect you want. If you are still having issues, it may be time to try a different strain or look at other factors that can be inhibiting sleep.