Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
By now you already know that high-quality sleep is critical for physical and mental recovery. Yet, many of us struggle to get enough rest. Finding natural products to help can be confusing, as it can be hard to know where to start. With more supplements becoming available, the task becomes even more difficult. For those seeking a safe and natural solution to help them sleep, finding natural products can be time consuming and confusing.
As CBD has become more widely available, more people have started to integrate it into their daily lives, particularly to see if CBD can help them sleep. At Champions + Legends we take the science of CBD seriously. We get these types of questions a lot and we’re here to help you answer the question: does CBD make you sleepy? Furthermore, can CBD oil help you sleep better and more deeply?
Introduction to CBD
CBD is one of one of at least 120 identified plant compounds, known generally as cannabinoids, which exist in the hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive, so it won’t get you “high” like THC does. Instead, it has shown a variety of health benefits without causing negative effects in most.
CBD works by interacting with receptors in the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to help enhance its responses to factors such as stress, pain, inflammation, and fatigue. A few potential benefits of CBD include:
- Supporting healthy sleep cycles
- Helps with managing and recovering from inflammation and pain
- Improved blood flow and circulation
- Relief from everyday stress
- Sense of calm or focus
- Improved athletic performance
Does CBD make you sleepy?
As to whether CBD oil can make you sleepy, it’s still open for discussion. Although more research is needed to definitely answer whether or not there is a direct link between CBD and feeling sleepy, research has shown that CBD can support better sleep.
Feelings of relaxation and the diminished anxiety brought on by a regular evening CBD routine can be effective as a sleep aid for people seeking to calm down and relax before bed.
Does CBD make you sleepy during the day?
No research has shown that that CBD makes you sleepy during the day. CBD’s ability to support feelings of calm can lead to improved focus and well being, whether you’re gearing up for a big day at work or preparing for athletic training or competition.
Studies (Blessing et al, 2015; Berger et al, 2009) show that CBD’s anxiety-reducing properties make it a useful tool to manage stress levels, boost focus, and improve mental clarity, all without experiencing drowsiness or lethargy. CBD also supports increased serotonin levels in the brain and can help decrease levels of cortisol, a natural byproduct of stress that can have harmful effects on the body.
CBD vs THC for Sleep
Some cannabis users depend on THC as a sleep aid, however, evidence suggests that CBD has definite advantages over THC (and other sleep aids) when it comes to helping you get a good night’s rest. CBD does not have intoxicating properties like THC, so it won’t cause any negative effects like excessive sedation, drowsiness or feelings of fatigue.
Additionally, CBD has been shown to be a safer alternative to over-the-counter and prescription sleep medications, which can cause undesirable side effects and lead to dependence. Research studies (Iffland & Grotenherman 2015) have shown that CBD is safe to use for sleep, with no major side effects.
THC can also have other negative effects on sleep cycles as well. According to a 2008 study (Schierenbeck et al, 2008) ingesting marijuana strains with higher levels of THC typically reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. This is key because REM sleep is extremely important for healthy cognitive and immune functioning, and ultimately using THC as a sleep aid could impair your sleep quality over the long term.
Can CBD help with sleeping disorders?
For many, trouble sleeping goes beyond difficulties letting go of the day and relaxing or getting sustained deep and restful sleep. Many suffer from more severe sleep disorders like insomnia, which can have a significant impact on their quality of life. In many cases people struggling with sleep disorders don’t want to resort to medication or intoxicants, leaving them to wonder: can CBD help with sleeping disorders and other serious sleep issues?
In addition to supporting better sleep in general, CBD has shown to be a great option for many people with sleep disorders. Because CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system (responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within the body), it can help regulate sleep patterns and support the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
A 2019 study (Shannon et al, 2019) showed that CBD can also serve as a natural solution to combat insomnia, helping individuals fall asleep. The research also demonstrated that CBD helped reduce the number of instances of waking up and other night time disturbances.
How does CBD make you feel?
Overall, your response to CBD will depend largely on factors that are specific to you. This includes your body type, weight, gender, and metabolism. Additionally, the effects of CBD can be influenced by other variables including how you consume CBD (such as ingesting oil or applying a topical to your skin) as well as existing medications or supplements you may be taking.
Another important factor to consider is the type of CBD you’re using. CBD comes in three primary types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Full-spectrum contains over 120 of naturally-occurring plant compounds found in the hemp plant. Research shows that full-spectrum CBD can offer the maximum potential of benefits because all of the compounds from the plant interact together, referred to as the “entourage effect”.
Other types of CBD include broad spectrum and CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum contains most of the other cannabinoids and compounds within the plant, with the exception of THC, which is removed after the initial extraction.
CBD isolate is the most simple form of CBD and results from the removal of all of the plant compounds found in hemp except for just CBD. While some people prefer these forms of CBD because they do not include THC, they’re commonly seen as less effective than full-spectrum CBD because they do not benefit fully from the “entourage effect” mentioned earlier.
With this in mind, some of the ways CBD can affect your body and make you feel include:
- Feeling relaxed
- Sense of calm and focus
- Decreased anxiety
- Sense of improved well being
It’s also important to know that, per a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, different doses of CBD may affect you in different ways. Lower doses can cause feelings of focus and alertness while higher doses may be relaxing.
Additionally, a 2017 study showed that CBD can have anxiolytic effects, meaning that it can reduce anxiety and be calming. When this potential for reducing anxiety and enhancing calm is combined with CBD’s potential to help muscle relaxation, many experience feelings of relaxation in both the mind and body.
The Bottom Line
In order to answer the question “Does CBD make you sleepy?” you need to understand how CBD works within the body and the factors which affect how you will respond to it.
If you’re considering a CBD routine to help you sleep, it’s important to determine the dosage that’s right for you. While we recommend starting with 12mg – 20mg twice daily, there is no standard dosage or ‘official serving size’, as it varies based on individual factors mentioned earlier. You will need to adjust your dosage in response to how you are feeling to find the amount and form of CBD that’s right for you. If you are interested in know more about CBD dosage tips and guidelines, we have another blog post on this subject that you can read by clicking here.
As with any supplement or nutrition product you’re considering adding to your regular routine, consider speaking to a health professional first.
Solutions For Quality Sleep & Recovery
Now that you have read through facts and research, how about some potential solutions if you are looking for all-natural sleep aid supplements? Our RECOVER Tincture 500mg, RECOVER Tincture 1000mg, and our RECOVER SoftGels 750mg are great to take post-workout or 60 minutes before bed.
By now you already know that high-quality sleep is critical for physical and mental recovery. Yet, many of us struggle to get enough rest. Finding natural products to help can be confusing, as it can be hard to know where to start. With more supplements becoming available, the task becomes even more difficult. For thos
Can CBD Help You Sleep?
Some research suggests it might be worth a try
People have been turning to cannabis for its possible health benefits for a long, long time. Its ability to help people, for example, is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, a Hindu text that dates back to around 1500 B.C., and its use for inducing sleep is described in a 1200 A.D. Chinese medical text.
Today, people are still using cannabis to help them sleep, particularly one form of it: CBD, or cannabidiol. That’s a compound found in marijuana and hemp that doesn’t get you high, and that has recently exploded in popularity because of its potential to treat other health problems, including pain and anxiety.
In a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, about 10 percent of Americans who reported trying CBD said they used it to help them sleep, and a majority of those people said it worked.
It’s easy to understand why people are turning to CBD to help with sleep: Almost 80 percent of Americans say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week, according to another recent nationally representative CR survey of 1,267 U.S. adults. And many existing treatments, particularly prescription and over-the-counter drugs, are often not very effective—and are risky, too.
A small but growing body of scientific research provides some support for CBD as a sleep aid. A study out this month, for example, suggests CBD might help people with short-term sleep problems.
And Joseph Maroon, M.D., a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who has researched the effect of cannabis on the brain, says that CBD has properties that could help some people sleep better. Most notably, he says, it appears to ease anxiety and pain, both of which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Some other research hints that CBD may also affect sleep directly, by interacting with receptors in the brain that govern the body’s daily sleep/wake cycles, according to a 2017 review of sleep and cannabis in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports.
But “many questions still remain as to timing, the amount to take, and route of dosing CBD for sleep,” Maroon says. All of that could affect who CBD helps for sleep, and who it doesn’t.
And how it affects people does seem to be hit or miss. For example, Melissa Giovanni, age 32, a licensed dietitian in Nashville, Tenn., takes CBD regularly for sleep and says it often helps. But Liz Fuller, age 47, a makeup artist in Boston, says she tried two different CBD brands—spending about $135—to treat her insomnia, and neither worked.
Maroon says he doesn’t see CBD as a treatment for insomnia, but instead as an “alternative natural method to help calm anxious thoughts that often delay or interrupt natural sleep.” He points out that next to nothing is known about the safety or effectiveness of CBD in children, pregnant women, or older people when used for sleep or anxiety. Maroon urges those with insomnia to see their doctor before using any treatment.
Still, he notes that if you occasionally have difficulty sleeping, CBD is considered a safe, non-habit-forming, natural alternative.
For those looking to try CBD to see whether it helps improve sleep, here’s what you need to know.
How CBD Might Help With Sleep
One way CBD may help with sleep is by easing anxiety. In a study in the January issue of The Permanente Journal, published by the Kaiser-Permanente health insurance company, Colorado researchers looked at the health records of 72 patients who were treated with CBD for either anxiety or poor sleep.
During the three-month study, anxiety levels did decline, even in people whose main complaint was poor sleep. For those with sleep problems, the results weren’t as clear cut, though people did report some improvement in the first month.
Those benefits might be due to the placebo effect, says Scott Shannon, M.D., the study’s main author and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado-Children’s Hospital in Denver. But Shannon, who is also founder of the Wholeness Center, an integrative medicine clinic in Ft. Collins, Colo., also thinks that some people may have slept better because they “worried less about their sleep issue.”
Scientists have some biological explanations for how CBD may affect both sleep and anxiety. Recent studies have shown that cannabis compounds interact with receptors throughout the body—the so-called endocannabinoid system—including in the brain. At least one of those type of receptors is thought to affect the body’s sleep/wake cycle, offering one explanation for how CBD could affect sleep directly. And CBD also interacts with another receptor in the brain that researchers have linked to anxiety.
Should You Try It?
Shannon and other experts we spoke with say that before turning to CBD for sleep, you should try more proven therapies. The best evidence is for a form of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, which focuses on changing habits that disrupt sleep. Research shows it’s more effective and safer than prescription or over-the-counter sleep drugs, which can cause dependence and pose a risk of overdose and death.
Although CBD’s benefits for sleep are still unclear, Shannon notes that CBD poses few side effects. The most common one in his study was fatigue. Other common side effects can include diarrhea and changes in appetite and weight.
If other remedies haven’t helped and you want to give CBD for sleep a try, experts we spoke with said here are some things to consider:
CBD may work better for anxiety than sleep. There’s more evidence for CBD’s ability to ease your anxiety than to help you fall asleep, though helping you relax could help you sleep, too.
Short-term use might be best. CBD’s ability to improve sleep may diminish the longer you use it, so you may not want to use it daily or long-term. In Shannon’s study, people whose main complaint was sleeplessness improved in the first month, but then faded during months two and three. And Michael Backes, an expert in cannabis science and policy and author of “Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana” (BDL/Hachette, 2014), says his research and interviews with users suggest that once a person is no longer chronically sleepy, CBD might, paradoxically, keep people awake.
Higher doses could work better. There’s not much research on dosing, but what there is suggests low doses might not be very effective. A 2004 study found that low doses (15 mg in this case) didn’t help people fall asleep and might actually have made people more wakeful. And an even earlier study found that a relatively large dose—160 mg—worked better than a lower one. In Shannon’s study, patients were given a 25 mg dose.
Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and on the advisory board the marijuana advocacy group NORML, suggests starting with a modest dose of 30 mg and slowly working up if that doesn’t work. And he cautions that a dose of 160 mg “is going to be incredibly expensive.”
Consider the form. Vaping CBD might work faster, because that quickly gets the compound into your system, says Earleywine, who is also the author of “Understanding Marijuana” (Oxford University Press, 2005). But pills, oils, and edibles such as gummy bears might help you sleep longer, because they release the CBD more slowly. If you opt for one of those forms, Earlywine suggests taking it about an hour before bedtime. (Read more about the different forms CBD comes in and how they affect the body differently.)
Look for quality products. Some studies suggest that many CBD products don’t have what they claim or are contaminated with pesticides or other harmful substances. (Read more about how to shop for CBD products.)
Use it safely. Last, talk with your doctor—especially if you take other meds—because CBD may interact with medications. (Read more about how to use CBD safely.)
Consumer Reports looks into whether CBD can help you sleep better, and what to look for in a product.