Insomnia may be caused by a variety of physical and psychological factors but stress-induced insomnia is a particularly common complaint in many industrialised nations.
There is good evidence that kava on its own or in combination with other natural substances may be of use in the treatment of this type of insomnia.
Stress, anxiety, and insomnia
The Sleep Foundation reports that anxiety-induced insomnia affects ‘most adults’ at some point in their lives. But when this becomes a regular pattern, it is more serious and can affect health, performance at work, and ability to carry out everyday tasks.
The types of psychological factors that can interfere with the regular sleep pattern are:
- Thinking about past events
- Worrying about future events
- Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities
These types of factors can cause either trouble falling asleep or waking up during the night and not being able to get back to sleep. Both can deprive you of valuable rest and, if they occur regularly, will likely impact your quality of life.
Kava: a proven insomnia treatment
Though not technically a sedative, kava is well-known to decrease anxiety, which would point to it being of use in treating stress-induced insomnia.
This is not news to people in the Pacific islands, who have been using kava for its soothing, soporific effects for many centuries. In the west, it has been widely reported in respected medical journals that kava may be as effective as benzodiazepines like Valium for treating anxiety.
Then there is a study from 2001 that specifically looked at the use of kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia. In this study, 24 patients with this type of insomnia were treated with kava, then valerian, and finally a compound of both. The following results were very encouraging:
“Total stress severity was significantly relieved by both compounds individually (p < 0.01), with no significant differences between them; and there was also improvement with the combination, significant in the case of insomnia (p < 0.05).”
While it was a small study and further research is needed, kava has no risk of dependence or any major side effects, unlike many of the sedatives and sleeping pills on the market. So, if you’re suffering from stress-induced insomnia, it’s safe to try as a natural, alternative treatment.