Best Kratom Strains for Sleep Support
In general, red vein kratom strains are the preferred option for promoting sleep.
Red vein strains tend to have a higher concentration of a compound called 7-OH-mitragynine — which is a powerful alkaloid that provides the majority of the sedative action in the plant.
1. Red Maeng Da Kratom
Maeng Da strains are renowned for being highly potent. There’s some debate as to what the name ‘Maeng Da’ actually means, but the general consensus is that vendors and distributors apply the name Maeng Da to their strongest strains.
The same is true for red Maeng Da kratom. If you’re looking for a powerful red strain to help you get to sleep, red Maeng Da is a good place to start.
Red Maeng Da can also be a bit energizing in lower doses, so it’s important to aim for the higher end of the spectrum. The sedative effects usually begin around the 5-gram dose. You may feel the stimulating effects of this strain at first, but they quickly transition into more sedative qualities after an hour.
2. Red Indo Kratom
Red Indo kratom hails from Indonesia. Red Indo remains one of the most popular kratom strains, and for good reason. It’s known for producing powerful relaxation, anxiety relief, and sedation.
Red Indo is almost exclusively sedating and relaxing. While very small doses may produce a little bit of energy at first, you can expect to end up relaxed and sleepy shortly after your dose.
This strain is also a great painkiller, which makes it useful for people who experience insomnia as a result of chronic pain.
3. Red Kali Kratom
Red Kali kratom hails from the region of Kalimantan in Indonesia. These strains are known for their reliability and efficacy.
Red Kali kratom is popular for promoting relaxation and fighting pain. It’s comparable in effects to the other strains mentioned on this list; however, it may be a little bit harder to find.
What’s The Best Dose of Kratom For Sleep?
If you’re going to be using kratom for sleep, you should know a bit about the plant. Different doses will affect you differently. If you want a good night’s rest, you’re going to want to aim for higher doses.
The paradox here is that you don’t want to go too high either. Taking a high dose can make you feel nauseous, which is certainly not something you want to experience right before bed.
To find the dose that works for you, start with a dose of around 4 grams, and add 1 gram every hour until you find one that makes you sleepy, without any side effects. This is going to be your dose moving forward.
Most people find the effective dose of kratom for promoting sleep is around 6 to 8 grams.
Some people may need more, others less — the only way to know for sure is to try it for yourself.
How Does Kratom Work For Sleep?
There are a few ways that kratom helps to improve sleep, ranging from direct sedative action to alleviating common side-effects that are interfering with your rest.
1. Opioid Receptor Stimulation
Kratom contains a number of alkaloids that stimulate the opioid receptors . These are stimulated by our endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller and sedative hormones.
The alkaloids in kratom look very similar to endorphins. Much like a key, they’re able to activate the same lock — causing them to exert an action on the cells.
By activating these same receptors, kratom slows down central nervous system activity to make us feel calm, happy, and relaxed. High doses are directly sedative and work to block the transmission of pain.
Many people experience insomnia caused by anxiety. Kratom is a powerful anxiolytic substance that can help to reduce an anxious or wandering mind.
The vast majority of kratom reports are anecdotal, coming from a myriad of users who report that kratom is a powerful tool for managing anxiety. Even though nobody could argue with thousands of users experiencing relief, researchers have also proven that kratom can help fight anxiety .
Anxiety is one of the main causes of insomnia — especially sleep-onset insomnia. This form of insomnia is the type we experience when we can’t fall asleep.
Herbs like kratom reduce the impact of stress and anxiety and remove these barriers keeping us from getting to sleep at a decent hour.
3. Pain Management
Another common factor that can contribute to insomnia is chronic pain. Kratom is considered one of the best herbal painkillers.
In fact, it has proven to be such an effective painkiller that many people have used it to help them wean off of synthetic opioids . People have used kratom for opioid addiction involving both prescribed and illicit opioids.
Some find it difficult to believe that a plant like kratom could be powerful enough to help manage addiction to powerful drugs like heroin and morphine. It may be useful to remember that most narcotic painkillers are also derived from plants.
Morphine is derived from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Many other potent painkillers, including oxycodone and heroin (diacetylmorphine), are derived from or based on this plant-based narcotic.
The dosage of kratom required for pain management is higher than the dose one would require for stimulation or anxiety relief. At these high doses, it may be easier to succumb to some of kratom’s side effects. It’s worth playing around with the dose for a few days if the plant isn’t doing the trick right away.
In addition to stimulating the opioid receptors, which inhibit pain on their own, kratom also inhibits an enzyme called COX-2 . This is a part of our immune system that triggers an inflammatory response. Inhibiting it reduces pain at the source.
Aside from reducing inflammation, kratom plays a more direct role in blocking pain by activating the opioid receptors located in the spinal cord and brainstem. When active, the opioid receptors block electrical signals coming from the pain receptors before they reach the brain. This is the same mechanism of action used by opioid pain medications like morphine or oxycontin.
Kratom vs. Prescription Sleep Medications
Kratom offers a number of benefits and improvements when compared to traditional sleep medications. But there are also some things to be aware of.
Conventional sleep medications are very powerful. They can be highly addictive after just a short time.
Kratom can also be addictive — but it takes a much longer amount of time and isn’t nearly as severe in terms of withdrawal symptoms.
The most common class of prescription sleep medications is benzodiazepines. Drugs in this class include Xanax, Ativan, or Valium.
Most of these drugs form tolerance, dependency, and addiction within just a few short weeks. When this happens, skipping the medication results in the very symptoms they were intended to treat — insomnia and anxiety.
Many sleep medications also create a significant hangover effect. This can interfere with your activities the following day. People often experience brain fog, lethargy, and confusion the night after using sleeping pills.
Many sleeping pills are also able to knock you out without actually putting you into REM sleep. This means that, despite being unconscious, your body isn’t really resting. This contributes to the hangover feeling and the lack of restfulness the following day.
Quick Comparison: Kratom vs. Benzodiazepine Sleep Medications
|Origin||💊 Synthetic drug||🌱 Plant|
Stimulant (low doses)
|Mechanism of Action||GABAergic||Opioid agonist|
|Side Effects||Addiction & withdrawal|
Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure
|Availability||Prescription-only medication||Widely available online|
|Cost||$5–$20 per dose||$1.50–$5.00 per dose|
Is Kratom Addictive?
Kratom activates the opioid receptors in the body. With repetitive use, these receptors will adapt to the presence of kratom and become dependent on it. This is one of the key features of addictive substances .
When the body becomes dependent on something, it falls out of balance whenever the substance wears off. This causes side-effects (withdrawal), which prompt the user to take more of the substance to eliminate the side effects.
So yes, kratom can be addictive if used regularly over long periods of time.
With that said, kratom is not nearly as addictive as other prescription opioids or other prescription sleep medications — both of which are notoriously addictive.
To avoid developing an addiction, you should stagger your kratom use throughout the week and employ other routines and lifestyle habits that support a good night of sleep. Don’t solely rely on kratom or any other substance to help you get to sleep.
Use it when you need it, but focus on establishing a healthy balance in your life and work to find what other factors are causing your insomnia and fix them at the source.
It can also help to alternate supplements. For example, some people will use kratom one night, then CBD or another natural supplement the next night. This will go a long way in avoiding tolerance and addiction.
The first sign you may be forming an addiction to kratom is the need for a higher dose. If your kratom isn’t working the way it used to, you may need to take some time off to let your body readjust. Taking 1 or 2 weeks off is usually enough for tolerance to reverse.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a fairly common condition that makes it hard for people to fall asleep or stay asleep.
There are several different types of insomnia. Each one is characterized by different behaviors. These different conditions and symptoms can all occur alongside one another in a condition that researchers call mixed insomnia.
Here are the three main types of insomnia:
1. Sleep Onset Insomnia
This type of insomnia is marked by difficulty falling asleep.
Sleep onset insomnia is particularly common among people who work night shifts. “Tossing and turning” is a term often used to describe one of the main symptoms of sleep-onset insomnia: constantly shifting about in an attempt to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.
Some people may take twenty to thirty minutes to fall asleep normally. This doesn’t necessarily constitute insomnia. However, if it takes you much longer than this to fall asleep, or if you struggle so hard to fall asleep that it reduces your overall sleep time, you may end up struggling with some of the side effects.
2. Sleep Maintenance Insomnia
People with sleep maintenance insomnia might be able to fall asleep easily enough. However, they have a hard time staying asleep.
It’s normal to awaken once or twice during the night — usually around the same time. However, if you struggle to fall back asleep after these brief awakenings, this will impair the quality of your sleep.
This creates a pattern known as ‘fragmented sleep.’ People with fragmented sleep don’t get to rest long enough to enter into the deep, restorative sleep that leads to us feeling rested the following day.
3. Early Morning Awakening Insomnia
This type of insomnia is marked by people who wake up significantly earlier than they intend to and cannot fall asleep again. Some researchers consider early morning awakening insomnia to be a related symptom of sleep maintenance insomnia, but others consider it to be its own condition.
What Causes Insomnia?
There are lots of different things that can contribute to insomnia. Fortunately, kratom can be useful for managing most of these issues.
One of the leading causes of insomnia is stress. Stress is an issue that affects people both psychologically and physically. Physical symptoms of stress include raised blood pressure, muscle tension, and digestive issues. Psychological symptoms include anxiety, mood instability, and cognitive problems.
Stress can also cause insomnia. Insomnia can result naturally from stress itself, and it can also emerge as a secondary symptom caused by any of these other issues.
2. Chronic & Acute Pain
Pain can make it difficult for people to fall asleep. Chronic pain can present a recurring challenge for anyone hoping to get a good night’s sleep. Even acute pain caused by a short-term injury can make it hard to fall asleep.
3. Bad Sleep Habits
If you don’t take the time to develop healthy sleeping habits, you might experience insomnia as a result. This doesn’t just mean going to sleep every day at a reasonable hour (although this is very important).
Keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding screens before bed, working in bed, and sleeping in an uncomfortable area can all contribute to insomnia.
4. Mental & Emotional Distress & Anxiety
Most of us have spent at least one night unable to sleep at the mercy of our emotions or mental state.
Short-term emotions can make it impossible to fall asleep. Anyone wracked with grief after a breakup, or the loss of a loved one will attest to this.
Long-term conditions like anxiety and PTSD can also make it very challenging to fall asleep at night. A racing mind can be very distracting and create a barrier against relaxation.
5. Eating at Night
It takes a lot of energy for your body to digest food. If you’re eating big meals late in the evening, it can be hard for you to fall asleep. If you must eat at night time, make sure that you eat very light meals.
It’s a good idea to try and time your last meal at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
6. Medication & Other Drugs
A number of pharmaceutical medications can also cause insomnia.
Obvious contenders for insomnia include stimulant medications such as those used to treat ADHD. However, many other non-stimulant drugs can also cause insomnia. Common antidepressants, allergy medications, weight-loss drugs, and OTC cold medications can keep you awake at night.
Drugs and supplements, both legal and illegal, can also cause insomnia. Caffeine is one of the most common factors contributing to insomnia. Most people find that drinking caffeine in the evening, or even in the late afternoon, can cause insomnia.
Nicotine and alcohol can also cause insomnia, especially during the withdrawal process.
What Are the Side Effects of Insomnia?
In addition to draining your energy and motivation, sleep deprivation and insomnia can impact your mood, your mental health, and your physical health. Some symptoms of insomnia include:
- Cognitive problems: difficulty with focus and memory
- Lack of motivation
- Worries and anxieties related to sleep
- Grogginess, sleepiness, and daytime tiredness
- Emotional issues: irritability, depression, anxiety, mood swings
- Sleep deprivation and related issues, including hallucinations and delusions
Other Changes You Can Make To Support Your Sleep
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, kratom certainly might help. However, insomnia is always an indication that something’s not quite right. If you can fix the problem without relying on herbs or supplements, then you won’t have to worry about becoming dependent on them.
Here are a few solutions that may help support a good night’s sleep.
Practicing meditation is one of the best ways to help promote relaxation.
Meditation is a practice that has been used for thousands of years in different forms all over the world. It’s helpful with all sorts of things, including stress reduction, relaxation, emotional regulation, and improving clarity of mind.
Considering all of these things are important for anyone hoping to get to bed on time, it’s no wonder that meditation is a great sleep aid.
The best part about meditation is that it’s completely free. You don’t need to buy anything or go anywhere to start practicing — just find a quiet spot at home to sit or lie down and focus on your breathing.
2. Watch Your Diet
It’s important to pay attention to what you eat, especially before bed, if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
First, make sure that you avoid eating anything that could keep you awake. Foods rich in sugar are one such culprit. Sugar is a surprisingly stimulating substance that can easily cause insomnia.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Deficiencies of certain vitamins can cause insomnia. In particular, make sure that you’re getting enough of your B vitamins as well as magnesium.
We sleep in order to rest and refuel after the day is done. However, if you’re not actually doing much during the day, then it might be hard to fall asleep. After all, why would you need to rest if you haven’t actually burned any fuel?
This is one of the reasons that people working office jobs may have erratic sleep schedules and difficulty falling asleep. One of the best ways to fix this problem is to start a regular exercise routine.
Not only does exercise keep you fit and help you burn energy, it helps your body produce key hormones and neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that are involved in lots of different processes, one of which is sleep.
4. Start a Bedtime Routine
Having a regular bedtime routine can help to prevent insomnia.
One of the most important things is to have a consistent sleep schedule. Try to fall asleep and get up at the same hour every day, even on weekends. If you can, match your sleep and wake times to the natural circadian rhythm: the rise and fall of the sun.
You can also get in the habit of having a nightly bedtime ritual. This can prepare your mind and body to get ready for bed. This might include having a quick bath, meditating, doing some journaling, having some herbal tea, or anything else that promotes relaxation.
5. Avoid Evening Stimulation
Stimulation, in this sense, could mean anything that keeps you physically or mentally alert.
This means that you should avoid consuming anything that will keep you stimulated, whether that means violent or action-packed movies or sugar-laden ice cream. Don’t drink caffeine too late in the evening and try to withhold screens entirely for at least an hour before bed.
We’ve mentioned that exercise is a great way to get ready for sleep, but don’t exercise too late in the day. This could get your heart pumping and your blood flowing which could make it harder for you to get to bed.
Dedicate the last few hours of your night to relaxing activities like the ones we’ve listed here. Read books, play relaxing board games, listen to calming music.
What Are The Side Effects of Kratom?
Kratom can cause some side effects, though these generally tend to occur after you’ve been using the herb on a daily basis. Here are some common side effects to be on the lookout for.
Kratom can lead to some digestive problems. Acute digestive issues, such as nausea and vomiting, tend to occur only when you take very high doses.
You can also develop constipation if you’re using kratom on a regular basis. Staying hydrated can help you avoid this symptom.
2. Poor Muscle Coordination
High doses of kratom can also lead to a side effect called the wobbles. This is marked by general disorientation, coordination problems, dizziness, and confusion. You may also experience nausea and vomiting when this happens.
These side effects are a clear sign that you’re using too much kratom.
Kratom can produce relaxation. However, when you use it too often, it can also lead to lethargy and fatigue. If you’re reaching the point where you feel fatigued if you don’t use kratom, it could be a sign that you’re developing an addiction.
This is the main side-effect you’re going to want to try and avoid if using this herb to help you sleep.
The effects of kratom are dependent and biphasic — meaning it has a different effect when used in low doses compared to high doses.
The stimulating effects of kratom begin around the 1 gram mark and transition into sedative effects around the 4 or 5 gram mark. This means that when using kratom for sleep, you need to use enough of it to cause the sedative effects, or it’s going to make falling asleep even harder. Aim for about 4 grams and see how you feel before increasing the dose.
Where To Buy Kratom
Buying kratom online isn’t difficult, but not all kratom vendors are created equal. In fact, there are a lot of poor-quality kratom vendors these days selling products that haven’t been tested, contain adulterants, or contain weak or underpowered leaf powder.
Here are three of the top-rated vendors we’ve found that offers consistently high-quality kratom to help you get to sleep:
1. Kona Kratom
Kona Kratom is a popular and well-known vendor. They have a high-quality selection of kratom products. Their products have all been third-party tested, and you can check the purity and quality of each batch.
All of the strains that we’ve discussed in this article can be purchased from Kona Kratom.
2. Star Kratom
Star Kratom is another kratom company renowned for its top-notch quality and customer service. The only catch is that you’ll need to be an American resident to order from them since they don’t ship internationally.
This company specializes in red-vein kratom, which makes it a great place to shop if you’re looking for something to help you sleep. They do stock other varieties, but their red veins are their hallmark.
Star Kratom is known to ship its products quickly and discreetly.
3. VIP Kratom
If you’re looking for high-end kratom, VIP Kratom is the place to go. The prices might be a bit higher, but the quality that you’re going to get is above par.
VIP kratom has been known to send back kratom to farmers because they didn’t believe it was strong enough to sell on their website. This means that you’re really going to get your bang for your buck here.
Final Thoughts: Using Kratom For Sleep & Sedation
Kratom is a great herb to help people who struggle with insomnia.
It’s a sedative and highly relaxing plant that helps reduce anxiety and other causes of insomnia. Red strains are great for promoting a good night’s sleep.
The strains listed in this article are some of the best for improving sleep, but there are others that you might find worthwhile. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what strain works best for you. Everybody is different, so it’s worth trying out different for yourself to see which ones work with your unique physiology.
References Cited In This Article
- PubChem. (n.d.). (-)-Mitragynine. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Mitragynine
- Swogger, M. T., & Walsh, Z. (2018). Kratom use and mental health: A systematic review. Drug and alcohol dependence, 183, 134-140.
- Boyer, E. W., Babu, K. M., Adkins, J. E., McCurdy, C. R., & Halpern, J. H. (2008). Self-treatment of opioid withdrawal using kratom (Mitragynia speciosa Korth). Addiction (Abingdon, England), 103(6), 1048–1050. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02209.x
- Utar, Z., Majid, M. I. A., Adenan, M. I., Jamil, M. F. A., & Lan, T. M. (2011). Mitragynine inhibits the COX-2 mRNA expression and prostaglandin E2 production induced by lipopolysaccharide in RAW264. 7 macrophage cells. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 136(1), 75-82.
- Narita, M., Funada, M., & Suzuki, T. (2001). Regulations of opioid dependence by opioid receptor types. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 89(1), 1-15.