Can CBD Help You Sleep?
A sleep psychologist says you should reconsider stocking up on CBD products for catching some zzz’s.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil seems to be all over the place, used as treatment for anxiety, chronic pain, acne and even infused in some foods and drinks. It’s readily available in various doses and forms over-the-counter. It’s natural to wonder what this mystical compound of marijuana is and what it does in the body.
You might be thinking, “Wait, marijuana? Doesn’t that make you high?” But let’s set the record straight: unlike CBD’s counterpart delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it doesn’t alter your cognitive state.
Similar to THC though, CBD can help you relax and people are wondering if it will help them finally get some good shut eye.
“It’s a tricky question to answer,” says Deirdre Conroy, Ph.D. , clinical director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at Michigan Medicine. “There have been few studies on CBD and its effect on sleep, and those published have few participants with differing doses and forms of CBD administered.”
However, many of these studies suggest there could be some benefit to using CBD as a sleep aid, and it’s worth researching. “For example, there’s evidence that CBD can be helpful in managing anxiety . If someone’s anxiety is creating their sleeping problem, a CBD product may benefit them,” Conroy says.
But reaping the rewards of CBD is a slippery slope since much of its long term safety or efficacy is still unknown. One study showed taking less than 160 mg of CBD oil may actually promote wakefulness . While higher doses can promote sleep, the FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. Because other CBD products aren’t regulated, you might not know what you’re really getting.
“This compound is used in various forms and their doses may differ, so you might not know how much CBD you’re actually using,” Conroy says. Regular usage of high dose CBD could harm you before you become aware of it, according to the FDA. It can cause liver injury and affect how other drugs are metabolized, causing serious side effects. Similarly, when used with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, the increased risk of sedation and drowsiness can lead to injuries.
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“Non-pharmacological interventions have long-term, long-standing data that proves their safety and efficacy,” Conroy says. “I know CBD oil for the treatment of sleep disorders is intriguing, but we’re looking for answers we just don’t have yet. The products are outpacing the science.”
Setting yourself up for sleep
Melatonin for sleep , like CBD, needs more research to unmask its benefits and harms. “We secrete melatonin naturally as our bodies prepare for bed,” Conroy says. “I believe in harnessing what you already have.”
Until we have more answers about CBD, there’s a plethora of behavioral strategies that promote better sleep, including:
Allowing yourself time to wind down before bed in a dark setting without bright screens. If you need to look at a screen, make sure you use a brightness filter.
Having outlets for managing stress and anxiety, like journaling or seeking professional help with a therapist if it’s more serious.
Training your body to follow a regular sleep and wake cycle if you don’t already have a routine.
If you’re having trouble sleeping on a regular basis, you may have an underlying sleep disorder that a sleep specialist could help diagnose and manage.
If sleep problems persist, Conroy recommends seeking help from a sleep medicine specialist. “We might recommend undergoing a sleep study or offer other therapies to improve your quality of life,” Conroy says. “This also opens dialogue between you and a medical professional about what kind of treatment option you’re looking for, what your sleep goals are and what your expectations from a sleep aid are.”
A sleep psychologist says you should reconsider stocking up on CBD products for catching some zzz’s.
CBD Oil for Sleep
Our endocannabinoid system is made up of several receptors that help the body maintain balance, stability or homeostasis. Cannabidiol is commonly known as CBD; the main chemical compound in the hemp/cannabis plant that acts on cannabinoid receptors in the hemp/cannabis plant. It is common for people to believe the CBD compound to be associated with THC; a psychoactive compound. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is known to generate a high or euphoric feeling it is important to note that the CBD compound is non-psychoactive.
Insomnia is a disorder that can be characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep. There are two types of insomnia, primary insomnia has no other health condition or problem associated with it. While secondary insomnia is typically caused by another health issue unrelated to sleep deprivation. Insomnia is a broad term that can be caused by several life changes. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that poor sleep/insomnia may be caused by:
- Depression or Anxiety
- Stress or Stress Disorders
- Chronic Pain
In a study taken by the US National Library of Medicine, out of 72 adults who presented themselves with health concerns relating to sleep and anxiety 57 patients experienced an improvement in quality of sleep and anxiety after CBD treatment. These results suggest that cannabidiol may be linked to reduced anxiety symptoms and/or insomnia relief. According to recent research; It seems that the activation of cannabinoid receptors is important to inducing fatigue, while the dormancy of these receptors promote wakefulness, as well as anxiety and depression, somewhat resembling insomnia in humans. By leveraging the endocannabinoid system; which directly impacts our bodies ability to process fatigue and wakefulness; we can encourage the use of holistic alternatives as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs in order to achieve a restful sleep cycle. In some cases, CBD and sleeping pills combined may also propose a helpful solution to individuals who are interested in leveraging both strategies.
Does CBD Help You Sleep?
Research shows that the endocannabinoid system directly impacts the ways humans interpret stress pain and fear. With that being said, we can assume that CBD can indirectly induce a deeper sleep cycle by alleviating the root causes of sleep challenges.
A common challenge in falling or staying asleep is pain. Unlike many sleep aids that induce drowsiness. CBD approaches the root cause of the problem. In this case, that would be pain. CBD binds to CB1 AND CB2 receptors in order to reduce pain sensation in the body. Moreover, research proves that the endocannabinoid systems directly interacts with major endogenous pain control systems. By interacting with this receptor we can actively control pain while reducing the possibility of side effects than many other pain medications.
CBD is well known for its ability to bind to key receptors in order to achieve homeostasis (balance) in the brain. Sleep disorders are commonly caused by fluctuations in mental health. Research speaks to the positive impacts of CBD on mental health. More specifically, “CBD helps to relieve anxiety related to PTSD, which reduces anxiety-induced REM sleep disturbances”. In addition, CBD can potentially regulate cortisol levels; a hormone-related to non-REM sleep cycles. By regulating stress hormones and reducing anxiety symptoms it is possible that challenges in sleep will be reduced.
Relief From Somnolence
A common misconception is that CBD induces drowsiness or fatigue, which is false. Taking CBD during the day promotes alertness, leading to a more restful sleep cycle at night. Somnolence can be defined by “a state of strong desire for sleep, or sleeping for unusually long periods”. CBD is able to relieve this feeling without causing disruptions in one’s ability to fall asleep by regulating sleep/wake cycles.
Can CBD help Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by interruptions in breathing during the sleep cycle. Sleep Apnea is considered to be a very serious sleep disorder that could be life-threatening and is most commonly caused by excess weight and obesity. There is speculation that CBD may be able to help with relieving Sleep Apnea. In this case, muscle relaxation can potentially improve fluid breathing during sleep cycles. This research suggests that CBD can help Sleep Apnea indirectly. However, there is not enough research at this time that speaks to CBD helping Sleep Apnea directly.
What is the best CBD oil dosage for Sleep?
There are a few variables that you should use when considering how much CBD you should intake. For more information, see our dosage chart for specific instructions.
The concentration of CBD is incredibly important. An oil tincture containing 1000mg of CBD will impact the body differently than an oil tincture containing 250mg. Be sure you understand how much CBD is in each dose before ingesting any product.
More serious/chronic illness demands more from the CBD molecule. For example, an individual who has trouble falling asleep should not consume the same amount CBD as an individual that is battling Arthritic pain. Serious illnesses require higher potency than minor health challenges.
Bodyweight influences how we process CBD. A lighter weight person will require a lower potency whereas a heavier weight person will require a higher potency
An individual with a history of cannabis, will likely have a higher tolerance to the CBD molecule than an individual who does not have a history with cannabis products.
CBD Oil for sleep provides a great alternative for those who are interested in holistic approaches to sleep challenges. The holistic approach to health takes the long term effects of body, mind and spirit into account. Research shows that CBD Oil for sleep can assist in regulating one’s sleep/wake cycle by “keeping you awake throughout the day and encouraging proper sleep at night”.
Research suggests that challenges in sleep are linked to fluctuations in mental health. CBD products can also assist in reducing cortisol levels (a stress hormone related to several mental health disorders). By reducing bodily reactions related to anxiety and depression it is possible that disruptions in sleep will be reduced. Lastly, CBD binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain in order to reduce pain sensation, potentially assisting in creating a fluid resting experience.
If you are constantly having sleep challenges, this article explains the benefits of CBD for sleep and why it may be a great alternative option for you to try.