Kava Kava and healthy sleep
How to improve the quality of sleep with Kava?
If we sleep more than in the past, why can't you sleep well?
Methistine pepper is known around the world not only as a symbol of relaxation, but also as a natural help for sleep disorders. For many people, it is primarily a remedy for falling asleep and sleep quality problems. It is valued for its effectiveness and its natural origin!
Kava has a tradition dating back more than three thousand years. This is a good perspective to consider how we slept in the past and today. Has our need for sleep changed, and how? Does modernity “disrupt” the natural rhythm of day and night and the regenerative properties of sleep?
Is short sleep a sign of our times? You wish!
There is a common belief that we sleep less nowadays than we did in the past. And when we say ‘the past’, we mean mainly the time before the internet and smartphones, before the era of excessive media stimulation, or generally – before the technological leap. We like to imagine that people used to live in tune with the rhythm of nature: getting up at dawn and going to bed at sunset. Then kerosene lamps were invented, then the alarm clock, and so our connection with nature (and its rhythm) was irrevocably severed. Or perhaps… when we say ‘the past’ we simply mean our own lives and that period of carefree childhood when we would sleep soundly and long? Perhaps we tend to generalise our personal experiences and idealise the past? Well, we’re not the only ones who fall into this trap. Complaints about the lack of sleep in the ‘modern world’ compared to ‘the past’ were already being raised back in the 19th century.
To date, however, there has been no evidence to support the claim that our ancestors actually did sleep longer. We know that we sleep less as we get older (about 20–30 minutes per decade of life), but this knowledge comes from comparing different age groups rather than from regularly measuring a particular person’s sleep patterns over their lifetime. A lower need for sleep is associated, amongst other things, with our levels of melatonin, a known regulator of our biological rhythm. And its levels decrease with age. A full historical perspective is still simply lacking in data. Something, however, we can guess at.
How did people sleep in the past?
So how can we universally compare sleep patterns today and in the past, taking into account the civilisational perspective? Is that even possible? A study on the sleep patterns of three pre-industrial tribes in Tanzania, Namibia and Bolivia (Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies, 2015) may provide some clues.
The members of the tribes studied slept an average of between 5 hours 40 minutes and 7 hours 6 minutes per night, which is less than people in developed countries.
But how much less? Professor John Groeger compared the study’s findings with an analysis of the records of 8,000 accounts on a certain popular sleep app (The Conversation, 2016) . As it turns out, its users (modern, conscious users of modern technologies) globally sleep on average 7 hours and 50 minutes. The belief that we sleep less now than in the past is thus disproved. In fact, we sleep more!
And how much should we sleep? It is generally accepted that the optimal length of sleep is 7-8 hours per night. According to some studies, people aged 18-64 should sleep up to 9 hours a night, although at the same time all studies end the same way: stating that we are all different and everyone has different sleep needs.
There is a ‘but’, however. The restorative potential of sleep does not depend directly on its length but on its quality. And on the reasons why we increasingly suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia, as well as anxiety and nightmares, and even snoring. Insomnia affects people all over the world. In some populations, short-term insomnia (lasting up to 3 months) can affect around ten percent of the population, while in others it affects every second adult.
Where do sleep disorders come from?
Sleep disorders can be divided into three main categories: dyssomnia (primary disorders), parasomnia (intermittent disorders) and secondary disorders which are most often the result of diseases, both physical and mental. We’ll focus here on the category of secondary disorders as they are more common and more likely to be cured.
What illnesses contribute to secondary sleep disorders?
These are primarily cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension. Problems with the body’s hormonal balance are another common cause, particularly among women experiencing the menopause. Yet somatic conditions (i.e. those involving bodily functions) are not the only source of disorders. Our sleep can also be disturbed by mental disorders such as depression (according to the WHO, depression is one of the world’s most common disorders, affecting about 350 million people globally). Sometimes, people suffering from depression are not aware of it and mistakenly interpret their sleep problems (such as insomnia) as the cause rather than a manifestation of their condition.
The impact of the psyche on sleep is, of course, much broader. For example, sleep disorders are commonly caused by chronic stress. Stress in itself is not something negative, as it forms part of the body’s natural response to stressors and serves as a kind of adaptation mechanism. Many researchers even see it as a factor favourable for development. The problem arises when the stress is prolonged or too intense. It then becomes harmful, leading to exhaustion and a variety of disorders, including those related to sleep. Disturbed sleep, in turn, negatively affects our biological rhythms and weakens our immunity, including to stress. This spirals into a vicious circle, and an increasingly dangerous one at that.
Stress and healthy sleep
Stress impairs our ability to fall into the deep phase of sleep known as ‘Non-REM’ (NREM). This is the stage when we rest properly (with relaxed muscles, slower breathing, lower blood pressure and a slight drop in temperature) and recovery processes occur in the body (internal organs), such as faster wound healing. Healthy sleep means not only a lower risk of falling ill (particularly as far as heart conditions are concerned), but also greater physical and, above all, mental fitness (better concentration, greater ability to learn, etc.). The NREM phase of sleep is crucial for our brain to work properly.
For many of us, stress is part of our everyday life: it’s something we need to deal with at work, at home and in our social relationships. Sometimes this pressure is objective (such as illness or caring for loved ones), and sometimes it is more subjective, for example relating to the lifestyle we lead. Our quality of sleep is also affected by other seemingly trivial everyday factors that should not be underestimated, including lack of sport, lack of outdoor exercise, poor diet or eating patterns. Nutrition is another example of how easily a dangerous spiral of disorder can fuel itself.
Disturbed sleep means disturbed eating and the risk of obesity
Heavy meals in the evening are a sure way to get a bad night’s sleep. And poor sleep has a number of effects, including a weaker metabolism, especially of glucose. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your metabolism may be five to twenty percent slower the next day!
Sleep deficit can also impair your hormonal regulation of appetite (including levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin). A poor night’s sleep generally means a higher need to consume calories, which sadly poses a significant risk of obesity. Statistically, it primarily affects children, but adults are at significant risk too. So how do you get your healthy sleep back?
Kava Kava means a better quality of sleep
Yes, Kava helps you fall asleep. But it’s also a natural support when you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Kava promotes deep sleep, or the restorative phase of nREM – as confirmed by increased delta wave activity in the brain [source – studies on animals]
- Sleep disturbances associated with non-psychotic anxiety disorders can be effectively and safely treated with kava extract [source]
- Preliminary studies have shown Kava’s potential for shortening sleep latency.
- Thanks to its relaxing properties, Kava not only makes it easier to fall asleep but also helps your body recover during the night.
- Kava doesn’t only relax the body but it also clears the mind of sleep-disturbing factors such as everyday stress.
- Unlike alcohol, it doesn’t impair the restorative effects of sleep. And unlike caffeine, it doesn’t raise blood pressure levels.
- Kava reduces stress, and therefore the problem of stress overeating. And this can be harmful especially in the evenings, disrupting the quality of sleep.
- Kava is all-natural!
The unique properties of Kava, and especially of its roots, are attributable to its active ingredients, kavalactones. Different types of Kava contain different compositions of kavalactones and hence different chemotypes. The Kavaha range features both types characterised by a deeply relaxing effect and also those composed in a more balanced way. If you want to see how Kava improves the quality of your sleep, drink it 2–3 hours before bedtime. Bula! Goodnight!