Kava root or kava kava is a traditional root originating from the Pacific nations, where the people grind the roots of the plant and drink it as a concoction rather much like alcohol. The drink is said to have sedative and some anesthetic properties. The active ingredients in kava kava are called kavalactones.
Kava kava has been exported to the west and made into sleep supplements. For a while, there was some controversy over its safety, as its leaves and stem contains a certain toxin that can damage the liver. These kava kava side effects caused many people to shun it.
Recently, herbal supplement manufacturers have adopted strict processing methods, and now, only the roots are used. In many Pacific nations, the islanders certainly have no problems drinking kava kava beverage, where it is highly popular, and has been so for many generations.
If you cannot sleep, you may want to give kava kava a try.