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Can Kratom Help You Sleep? (How Does It Affect Sleep Quality?)

Kratom is an herbal supplement, traditionally used in Southeast Asia to boost energy and soothe pains. There is controversy surrounding its effect on sleep.

HOW DOES KRATOM AFFECT SLEEP?

Like many other aspects of this supplement, kratom’s reported effect on sleep is complicated and controversial.

Proponents of kratom tout its ability to help individuals with sleep disorders, pointing to its relaxing effects and indicating specific strains that are known to help with sleeplessness.

However, although current research on kratom use is limited, one of the most commonly reported side effects of kratom is experiencing sleep problems, which may include problems falling asleep, staying asleep, and feeling rested after sleep.This may be due to kratom’s stimulant-like effects, which are likely to make a user feel more alert and energetic.

KRATOM WITHDRAWAL AND SLEEP

Sleeplessness is also a symptom of kratom withdrawal. While research of kratom withdrawal is also limited, at least one recent case study found that a significant portion of individuals who had become dependent on kratom experienced sleep problems as part of their withdrawal process. These problems were not as intense as those suffered by opioid-dependent individuals going through withdrawal, however.

Other withdrawal symptoms may include nervousness, agitation, shaking, muscle pain, depression, and abdominal pain.

KRATOM

In recent years, kratom has received a great deal of attention for its potential to help individuals with opioid addiction overcome withdrawal. Research on this has not been conclusive, and many medical professionals strongly advise against kratom use, citing its addictive nature and ineffectiveness as an opioid addiction alternative or treatment. Recreational kratom use has grown tremendously largely due to the marketing of kratom — once widely unknown in the U.S. — to American consumers as a safe and even health-enhancing substance.

Again, many in the health community strongly advise against the recreational use of kratom, pointing to its many potential dangers and side effects.

Today, in many states, kratom is available in bars, smoke shops, and even gas stations.

A CONTROVERSIAL SUBSTANCE

Kratom is controversial, and research is ongoing. Many disagree about the possible benefits and dangers of the supplement.

One area of interest is sleep. After all, both quantity and quality of sleep have a huge impact on overall health. If a person isn’t getting adequate sleep, it will begin to seriously affect their health, compromising their immune system and negatively impacting their cognitive function.To understand kratom’s effect on sleep, it helps to have some basic knowledge about the drug and its effects on the body.

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HOW DOES KRATOM WORK?

Kratom is an herbal supplement derived from evergreen trees in the coffee family. It contains alkaloid compounds called mitragynine (MG) and 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG). The exact mechanism of kratom isn’t fully understood, but it’s believed these compounds attach to proteins called opioid receptors to lessen pain perception.

Of course, opioid receptors probably sound familiar. Indeed, opioids are thought to work similarly — by reducing the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain. The organic compounds in kratom are not actual opioids, however. They just act similarly to reduce pain.

Like opioids, research shows that kratom can be habit-forming, although the side effects and intensity of addiction are not as severe. One of the organic compounds found in kratom (7-HMG) is highly habit-forming; the other (MG) is not. MG is the dominant compound in kratom.

Kratom also has stimulant-like effects, especially when used in lower doses. As a member of the coffee family, it can provide users with an energy boost. Many people in Thailand, for example, have taken kratom as a tea or chewed on its leaves for extra energy for hundreds of years.It is believed that kratom has stimulant-like effects when taken in smaller doses and sedative effects when taken in higher doses.

SIDE EFFECTS

One of the most serious concerns about kratom use is the potential for abuse and dependency, especially when taken in adulterated or concentrated forms. Kratom is currently unregulated in the U.S. Other side effects of kratom use include:

  •  Liver problems
  •  Nausea
  •  Itching
  •  Dark urine
  •  Abdominal pain
  •  Jaundice

CONCLUSION

Research on the use and effects of kratom is still ongoing, and more data is needed to conclude whether or not kratom is useful in treating opioid addiction or safe to be used as a recreational drug.

Because kratom has stimulant-like effects in low doses that may disrupt sleep by keeping a user more aware and awake longer, it does not appear to be a helpful treatment for sleeplessness. Kratom may be addictive or toxic at the higher doses that seem to result in a more sedative-like effect that could result in drowsiness.

Individuals who are seeking a natural treatment for their sleep condition may benefit from safer and more proven options, like mindfulness or meditation practices, gentle exercise or yoga, or more proven natural supplements.

Those interested in kratom for their sleeping issues would benefit from a consultation with a medical professional before trying an unregulated substance.

Research on the use and effects of kratom is still ongoing, and more data is needed to conclude whether or not kratom is useful in treating opioid addiction or safe to be used as a recreational drug.

Because kratom has stimulant-like effects in low doses that may disrupt sleep by keeping a user more aware and awake longer, it does not appear to be a helpful treatment for sleeplessness. Kratom may be addictive or toxic at the higher doses that seem to result in a more sedative-like effect that could result in drowsiness.

Kratom in capsules in a wooden spoon

Individuals who are seeking a natural treatment for their sleep condition may benefit from safer and more proven options, like mindfulness or meditation practices, gentle exercise or yoga, or more proven natural supplements.

Those interested in kratom for their sleeping issues would benefit from a consultation with a medical professional before trying an unregulated substance.

Sources

(January 2016) Drink to Your Misfortune: 4 Reasons to Avoid Kratom. Constance Scharff Ph.D. Psychology Today. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ending-addiction-good/201601/drink-your-misfortune-4-reasons-avoid-kratom-0

(January 2019) Kratom Uses and Side Effects. Cathy Wong. Verywell Mind. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/kratom-for-pain-management-4089380

(February 2019) What is Kratom? Why is it Being Used for Opiate Self-Detox? Adi Jaffe Ph.D. Psychology Today. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-addiction/201902/what-is-kratom-why-is-it-being-used-opiate-self-detox

(July 2018) Severity of Pain and Sleep Problems During Kratom Cessation Among Regular Kratom Users. D. Singh. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29558272

(July 2018) Kratom: A Look at the Risks and Possible Side Effects Related to Taking the Herbal Product. Lindsey Konkel. Everyday Health. Retrieved March 2019 from https://www.everydayhealth.com/kratom/risks-side-effects/

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