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Best Kava For Sleep

June 01, 2021

Best Kava For Sleep featured image
“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” Charlotte Bronte

If you have had insomnia, anxiety, a puppy, a teenager, or a newborn, then you know what it feels like to have a terrible night’s sleep. A few winks here, a few winks there. You know what it feels like to tackle your day like a zombie on autopilot. 


You guzzle a cup or five of coffee, do some jumping jacks when you doze off. That’s it. Just get your blood moving. Your brain will turn on … eventually. 


Tomorrow has to be better. Maybe tonight you’ll get some real sleep. 


Right. 


You’ll just try those relaxation exercises again. Deep breathing. Drink a little chamomile tea. It hasn’t worked yet, but maybe tonight’s the night. 


Mmmhmm … Wishful thinking always gets you there. 


No. It’s time for a new solution. One that works. One that has worked for generations. If it’s good for folks in the Pacific Islands, why wouldn’t it be good for you, too? 


It’s time to talk a little kava.


Best Kava For Sleep

 

Wooden spoon containing ground Kava.

#1 Ü Relax Anti-Stress Calming Shot

This, right here, is what the ideal kava root supplement is for us. It’s easy. It’s portable. It’s instant. Ü Relax was developed by a Ph. D. in molecular cell biology who has been repeatedly published for his genius. 


This kava supplement offers additional benefits that have been designed to give you optimal relaxation and sleep. And best of all, it comes in a range of flavors that put every other kava drink on the market to shame.


Ü Relax Anti-Stress Calming Shot is a one-of-a-kind calming and relaxation formula that has been specifically created and scientifically proven to relieve stress in a big way. During the creation of Ü Relax, each ingredient was individually tested in a clinical trial environment. The formula has been perfected through constant refinement and innovation, and is available ready-mixed in the perfect dosage.


Not only does Ü Relax Anti-Stress Calming Shot contain the best noble kava components, but since it is formulated and created for single-serving stress relief and top-tier sleep enhancement, it also contains ashwagandha and chamomile. Ashwagandha further enhances the stress relief and feeling of well-being that kava creates. Chamomile aids in full-body relaxation and muscle stress release.


The formula has also been enriched with L-Theanine to boost your body’s natural feeling of calm, and to enhance a natural, relaxed focus. Additionally, the formula features lemon balm, to reduce agitation and built-up stress, as well as inositol to inspire a feeling of well-being and happiness to remove any final barriers to calming your mental state.


That… was a mouthful. If you need a little shot of somethin-somethin’ to help you be calm and chill, grab yourself a little Ü Relax Anti-Stress Calming shot. 

What We Like

  • It works so incredibly well that we haven’t strayed from Ü Relax since we first tried them. It doesn’t matter when you need it ... in the middle of a hectic workday to help you tackle the afternoon, or at the end of the night to make sure you fall fast asleep to wake up refreshed and ready to be your best you.
  • They come in two flavors, pineapple and mixed berry. You can order them separately or in a half-and-half pack so that you always have a delicious kava option for instant relaxation.
  • They are super-fast and are generally felt within thirty minutes of consumption, so you aren’t left waiting around for relief of your stress and anxiety.

What We Don’t

  • We thought hard about what could be improved with Ü Relax Anti-Stress Calming Shots and were hard-pressed to come up with much of anything. On the one hand, we thought an extra-strength version would be nice. On the other hand, the formulation is so naturally effective, that another potency isn’t really needed. You know what your mama says … If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

#2 DrinkRoot Non-Micronized Dehydrated Noble Kava Juice

This one almost took the top spot by a pretty narrow margin. Even though it’s a kava root extraction, it’s a water-based extraction, so it’s perfectly healthy as a supplement. Most kava powder is a product made from the ground-up kava root parts, but the DrinkRoot formula is a fully pre-steeped and dehydrated kava juice powder.


This means you get a product that has been prepared and filtered and just needs mixing. The high-grade kava root is steeped into the water then dehydrated, so you do not have to worry about mixing and keeping out the grit like usual. Just grab the powder, scoop, mix, and drink. This is one of the most convenient kava solutions available.

What We Like

  • The DrinkRoot Non-Micronized Dehydrated Noble Kava Juice is super concentrated, so you don’t need much to get the effects you’re after.
  • No steeping needed, just mix and go, this is nearly the perfect kava product.

What We Don’t

  • You still have to mix it, but since it’s a pre-steeped drink mix you can cut out the hassle of steeping your kava. Therein lies the rub. This also makes it very powerful as well, and dosage can be challenging.
  • It tastes like every other kava powder product on the market, which isn’t always a bad thing ... But it can certainly be monotonous.

#3 Kavafied Kava Supreme Noble Root Powder

Kavafied Kava Supreme Noble Root Powder is one of the best kava root supplements out there right now. They produce a top-tier noble kava powder that is completely raw and unextracted. This means you get the full benefits of raw, steeped kava root, without the potentially damaging side effects of solvent-extracted kava isolates.


Kavafied also markets its kava supplements with a convenient kava shaker and steeping ball, called the AluBall. This lets you make an authentic kava drink by simply filling the ball, shaking it with warm water, and letting it sit for a bit. 


Once it’s ready, you pour it off into the included cup-lid, which looks just like a half-coconut shell. Kavafied Kava Supreme Noble Root Powder lets anyone have a quick Polynesian relaxation aid, with a touch of island whimsy, no matter where they are. Easy peasy.

What We Like

  • The companion AluBall helps reduce the insoluble solids while making steeping a little easier on the go.
  • It’s sourced from noble kava, so you’re not at risk for the hangover and headaches of the less safe tudei kava.
  • The resealable pouch helps keep the unprepared kava powder handy, as well as protected from excess humidity and moisture. Nobody wants sticky kava powder. That’s annoying.

What We Don’t

  • Kavafied Kava Supreme Noble Root Powder needs to steep, and that means it’s just not our favorite. It’s more time that we want to get our chill on and can’t because we’re waiting on the kava to steep. 

#4 Kalm with Kava Micronized Instant Noble Kava Powder

Kalm with Kava Micronized Instant Noble Kava Powder is a nice alternative for those who don’t particularly like having to deal with the process of steeping their own raw kava root powder. Steeping your own kava can be time-consuming and bothersome when you want kava right now. 


Going through that can lead many people to not take their kava supplement. This is where Kalm with Kava Micronized Instant Noble Kava Powder makes it significantly easier, by removing the majority of the insoluble grit and fiber. Who wants to chew their drink? No thanks.


Kalm with Kava Micronized Instant Noble Kava Powder is a micronized raw kava powder that has had all of the coarse fibers and grit eliminated. Once the coarse material has been pulled out, the micron-fine grounds are pulverized even finer. This creates a raw kava powder that can instantly mix into liquid, emulsifying completely and requiring no steeping bag or cheesecloth to release the components of kava that do the stuff you love.

What We Like

  • The zero insoluble part is awesome. There’s no grit left in the bottom when you’re done, and you still get all the benefits of raw kava root.
  • This formulation is not extraction-based, so you don’t need to worry about the extraction method or the potential side effects of bad solvent extraction.
  • The easy mixing, no-steep process gives you a quick cup of warm kava with minimal hassle.

What We Don’t

  • While the powder is very finely processed and dissolves almost completely, there is still a mixing process and warm water required to help the kava activate. Basically, you lose the convenience factor. 

#5 Wakacon Noble Kava Waka Powder

Wakacon’s Noble Kava Waka Powder is another decent kava powder that is from one of the bigger kava brands on the market. Kalm With Kava is certainly one of the more well-known brands, but Wakacon is making huge strides in its online sales. Wakacon Noble Kava Waka Powder is another kava supplement made from 100% pure kava root that has been ground into a powder ready to be steeped into a relaxing cup of kava.


Since Wakacon Noble Kava Waka Powder is completely pure-ground kava root, it does require some filtration to keep the fibrous root grit from getting too friendly with your beverage. Just toss it into a fine strainer bag or even cheesecloth if you happen to be in a rush and run out of bags. The warm water lets the Waka Powder dissolve completely for a delicious, natural-flavored kava drink.


The Wakacon Noble Kava Waka Powder is one of the stronger noble kava powders on the market, so that definitely plays into how popular it is and how well it sells. When you try it for the first time, watch your dosage relatively closely or you will get a strong case of the sleepies when it might not be convenient. The manual measuring and dosing can complicate this for beginners.


Like most other dried kava preparations, Wakacon Noble Kava Waka Powder is sensitive to atmospheric moisture, or humidity. This means you have to keep it dry to keep it potent. Luckily Wakacon packages their kava powder in a sturdy resealable pouch that is simple to keep handy.

What We Like

  • It’s made from noble kava, so there are no worries about the potential side effects of tudei kava.
  • This is nice, strong kava, so it is easy to take a sufficient dose to induce an energizing sleep state.
  • It’s not an extraction, so you don’t have to worry about any potential negative effects from poor extraction methods.

What We Don’t

  • Let’s face it, it’s another mix that you need to steep and prepare ahead of time. It’s just not convenient. That is a deterrent. 

What Is Kava?

Kava in plant form, shown in nature.

Piper methysticum, also known as Kava, is a medicinal plant from the Western Pacific Islands. It comes from a Polynesian word meaning “bitter.” In the areas where the plant grows naturally, Kava is often treated as a social lubricant, similar to how the US treats alcohol. It is largely used for relaxation and in special ceremonies.


Let’s call a spade a spade. Wherever kava is indigenous, it is pretty much known as the life of the party. 


The similarities between Kava and alcohol end there. While Kava is known for the relaxing and calming effects, it also improves concentration. It also has little to no addictive qualities, unlike alcohol. This makes it a very attractive option for a recreational relaxant, without the potential dangers and ill health effects of alcohol.


That’s a win-win-win. Seriously.


So Why Is Kava So Great?

Now that the boring definitions are out of the way, let’s dive into what makes kava a great supplement, hash out who has the best kava for a good night’s sleep, and what makes it better than others.

Stress Reliever

Reducing anxiety and stress is the main way that kava is used. It may even be an effective way to treat the symptoms of various anxiety disorders. 40 million adults in the United States live with some form of an anxiety disorder, so it’s no surprise that many people turn to a natural remedy rather than medications.


One of the things that people like about using kava to treat their stress and anxiety is that they don’t have to wait fifteen to thirty minutes for a pill to take effect. There are also minimal side effects and risks associated with kava use, unlike most of the medications that are available to treat anxiety disorders.


The effects are also considered much more gentle on the body when compared to conventional stress-relieving substances like alcohol and others. Kava has been used in traditional Pacific Island medicine for generations to reduce stress and anxiety in a natural way, without harmful side effects or dangerous intoxication.


Faster relief, minimal side effects and risks, it’s gentler on our bodies, and it’s natural?! Yes, please. 


Mood Enhancement & Depression Reduction

The relaxation aspect of kava works in multiple ways, including a reduction in the symptoms of depression and enhancing a more positive mood. It is believed that kava has similar chemical properties to monoamine oxidase inhibitors. 


If you can get past the taste, you should feel happier and more relaxed in just a few minutes. Because of its similarity to MAOIs, it would be best not to mix kava with your depression medications because it can interact with many types of drugs.


If you are on any similar medication, consult your doctor before using kava.

Improved Sleep

Another instance where you’ll reap the benefits of kava’s relaxative properties is when it is used to help with sleeping problems. Kava is full of kavalactones, which contain sedative properties. Thanks to the kavalactones combined with the pain relief plus the reduction in anxiety, restlessness, and stress-related symptoms, you can expect to see your sleep improve once ingested.


Kava is a great alternative to sleeping medications, as it helps to promote deep sleep without having any impact on the restful REM sleep you need. It is even said to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, although not many studies have been done on kava’s effect on sleep.


This is one of the most sought-after benefits of kava since the calm and relaxation it induces are very helpful to not simply sleep but to sleep restfully. This makes it easier to be used regularly, or even during the week when sleep is most important, without the dangerous (sometimes deadly) side effects of sleep medication.


Isn’t it worth trying a natural alternative to improve your sleep without worrying about dependency? You bet it is. It’s just smart to try a product that gives you what you need without harming you.

Cognitive Benefits

Kava has long been seen as an effective nootropic, and additional research has determined that kava does indeed have valuable cognition-enhancing benefits. Not like Dr. Strange, okay. You can’t bend reality or move things with your mind. (But if you try, please, send videos.) 


In perfectly healthy subjects, there was a measurable increase in each subject’s visual attention, as well as improvement in memory-based tasks. Now, that’s a bonus everybody can love.


Similar studies have found improvement in reaction time, as well as visual recognition agility. Subjects were able to recognize items more quickly than without kava supplementation. While the exact mechanisms behind these improvements are not known and further research is needed, it is thought that the improvement in performance may be due to the reduction in anxiety of the test participants.

Kava Quality

The quality of any particular kava brew is going to depend primarily on what strain of kava it is. There are two primary strains of kava, tudei kava, and noble kava. Noble kava is the better option for safe supplementation. 

Tudei Kava

Tudei kava is a variety of kava that has much higher levels of flavokavains, which are kava compounds that can be fine in trace amounts but can cause liver and bladder damage in higher concentrations. Yep. Danger Will Robinson. Danger! 


Tudei kava also contains kavalactones, but they contain harmful versions of them. That can be dangerous in the amounts present in the tudei kava. It can also cause what feels like a “kava hangover” in many users, which can last about forty-eight hours from when the kava was taken.


Do your research. Do NOT take tudei kava. You won’t like what it does to you.

Noble Kava

Noble kava is nearly the opposite of tudei kava and contains large amounts of the beneficial kavalactones but only trace amounts of harmful kavalactones and flavokavains. Noble kava is safe to be taken continuously in supplement amounts and is considered a nootropic in many parts of the world. 


The reason it is much higher quality than tudei kava is that it takes four to five times longer for noble kava to mature. The fact is that it’s safer overall and won’t result in a kava hangover. Yuck to a kava hangover. Let’s avoid that at all costs.

Kava Source

While all kava comes from the kava root, the kava and its effects can differ significantly based on what part of the root the kava originated from. There is kava waka and kava lawena, with each having its own benefits and possible drawbacks.


Yes. Yes, that does in fact sound like something Fozzy Bear would say … kava waka waka. Or perhaps what one might hear when exiting your plane in Hawaii as a lei is placed over your head … aloha, kava lawena. Right?! 

Waka

Kava waka is kava that is created from the lateral root offshoots of the kava plant roots. It will often have a much heavier and more noticeable effect, taste, and color. The taste will be far more bitter than kava lawena, the effects will be much stronger and more potent, and the color will be deeper and darker.


Seriously. You can’t miss it. Bitter, stronger, darker. It’s the heavyweight kava.

Lawena

Kava lawena s kava made from the lawena section of the roots, or the root corm. The corm is similar to the stump and is the thickest part of the root, closest to the surface and the plant. Kava lawena will often have a much lighter, paler color, and will be less bitter than kava waka. The effects of kava lawena are much lighter than kava waka and can be used much more liberally without worries of drowsiness.


Lawena is kinda like the light beer version of kava. It’s the lightweight kava.

How Are Kava Preparations Made?

How Are Kava Preparations Made? Wooden bowl and spoon containing Kava.

Water Extraction

Water extraction is the most common method of getting the full benefits from kava. Water extraction can happen either by the manufacturer or by the user at home. If it is done by the manufacturer, it occurs after the kava preparation has been created and fully steeped. 


Once the active ingredients are extracted into the water, the juice is either bottled or dehydrated. Bottled is faster and fresher, while dehydrated extractions can give a very high potency for at-home mixing.


When kava is extracted into the water at home, it is more or less like making tea. Super simple. The kava powder is placed into a steeping bag, like a teabag, cheesecloth, or a specialized steeping ball like the AluBall, and allowed to mix and steep in warm water. This allows the beneficial compounds of kava to permeate the water, where you can consume them in a tasty drink.


The traditional method of extraction for the indigenous Pacific Island nations who’ve consumed kava for centuries is to grind the root into a paste with water. There you have it. Water extraction has been proven safe from generation to generation through traditional use.

Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is a method used to create kava extracts without pre-steeping in water. The kava root powder is mixed with one of many industrial solvents, which are then allowed to evaporate, leaving the extracted isolate behind for packaging and consumption. Solvent extraction is often very effective and very affordable.


The problem with solvent extraction is that it can, and often does, leave behind harmful or dangerous compounds or residues. Some research indicates solvent-based extraction is harmful and is even illegal in many kava-producing countries. On the flipside, studies have determined water extraction to be perfectly safe and poses no long-term health risks inherent to the process.


Solvent extraction is so undesirable in the kava supplement community that we have made sure all of the kava products we have covered are either fully raw and natural kava root powders or water-extracted concentrates that are safe to use and consume daily.


Bottom Line


Kava is a really natural alternative to many things that fit into the relaxation category. Wanna chill socially without a hangover? Drink some kava. Is your sleep pattern wacky and you cannot seem to get out of that funk? Try a bit of kava before bed.


You can’t mess around with it. Kava can be pretty powerful. You know how Bruce Banner became the Hulk? Too much gamma radiation. Don’t do that. Do not overindulge in kava. It’s much better in moderation. It does the job when taken in moderation.  


If you’re a kava newbie, go for noble kava that is created with water extraction. That is your best bet.