Sleep is essential for our health since many of our bodies’ processes are being healed and repaired when we get some shut-eye. When we don’t get enough sleep, this can lead to an increased risk of mental and physical health conditions.
Unfortunately, many life stressors can get in the way of getting a good night’s sleep. While typical treatment includes medications, more people are choosing natural alternatives to use, like CBD.
CBD oil and sleep
CBD oil is a type of CBD product available on the market. It is made by extracting the cannabinoid compound from the cannabis plant. As it is absent of the THC cannabinoid found in the plant, CBD retains its therapeutic effects without the additional ‘high’.
CBD can work to promote restful sleep in several ways. It can help ease physical symptoms that prevent you from falling asleep, like chronic pain, while helping quieten your mind from the stress of everyday life by decreasing anxiety and insomnia.
Chronic pain prevents us from feeling relaxed and comfortable, two of the most critical elements for falling asleep. Luckily, CBD has shown promising results in its interaction with pain output. CBD can achieve this by interacting with several receptors in the brain, decreasing pain and inflammation throughout the body (1).
A commonly experienced chronic pain symptom is migraines. A recent review found cannabis and CBD as a promising method of relieving migraine pain while also reducing the frequency of migraine headaches (2).
While research is still in its early stages for CBD’s treatment of overall chronic pain, many researchers have shown CBD as having modest yet effective benefits. They found that CBD’s interaction was so strong in some cases that inflammation was lowered, improving sleep quality and duration (3).
It’s no secret that excess fear and worry make it harder to fall and stay asleep during the night. In a cruel stroke of luck, sleep deprivation can also worsen anxiety, leading to a negative cycle that is hard to get out of!
CBD use has been shown to reduce several key elements of anxiety. These include lowering heart rates in rats with high-stress levels, while increasing serotonin levels (4). Serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone’, can be affected by CBD, as CBD interacts with receptors in the central nervous system.
Anxiety and stress are often closely linked. A recent study investigated the use of CBD in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After eight weeks of treatment, 91% of patients experienced a decrease in PTSD symptoms after taking CBD orally. CBD was also shown to offer relief in some patients who had frequent nightmares due to PTSD (5).
Insomnia is more common than you might think. While it typically affects older adults, children and teenagers can also experience it. In fact, after analysing the sleep habits of New Zealanders, 45% of the population reported experiencing insomnia symptoms at least once per week (6)!
Insomnia is often linked with high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol decreases sleep quality and promotes feelings of alertness. CBD may help control cortisol levels by functioning as a sedative, limiting cortisol release (7).
Researchers recently found that people who take moderate amounts of CBD oil daily had lowered cortisol levels, which improved anxiety levels and sleep (8).
How does CBD help with sleep?
Getting a good night’s sleep is influenced by many factors. While the obvious ones are caffeine and using technology late at night, others are more serious. Luckily, most of these can be mitigated with CBD.
When sleep is affected long term, this can lead to insomnia, which causes the inability to fall and stay asleep. Many symptoms walk hand in hand with insomnia, including anxiety and stress, which can interrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle. In addition to this, other physical ailments, like chronic pain, can prevent you from even falling asleep in the first place!
While research on CBD and sleep is still in its early stages, some research suggests that CBD can lower anxiety, stress, and pain due to its relationship with the endocannabinoid system (9).
This system can influence our anxiety and stress levels and how well we respond to pain. CBD can interact with the receptors present in the endocannabinoid system to lower these symptoms (10).
How to use CBD oil for sleep
When starting any new addition to your daily health regime, it is good to talk to your doctor, and incorporating CBD oil is no different! They will be able to assess your sleep needs directly to determine whether CBD oil is a suitable product for you and the correct dosage for your body.
You can take CBD oil any time during the day, but you can also alter it depending on what time you want to sleep. CBD oil tinctures are generally fast-acting, especially when applied directly under the tongue to encourage quick absorption into the bloodstream (11).
Because of this, an excellent time to take CBD oil for sleep is around an hour before your usual bedtime. This allows the CBD to be absorbed effectively before your head hits the pillow!
CBD side effects
While most high-quality CBD products from reputable companies should not give any side effects, body composition may influence how the CBD is processed.
Commonly experienced side effects include dizziness, changes in appetite or bowel movements, and nausea (12). Talking to your doctor about potential side effects or interactions with other medications before starting CBD is therefore essential.
The bottom line
Getting enough sleep is essential for our health. Luckily, numerous studies have shown CBD’s role in decreasing chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. These are all significant factors that can affect our sleep quality.
Because CBD can affect our bodies in various ways, talking to your doctor before using CBD is recommended for tailoring individual sleep preferences. They will be able to determine whether CBD is suitable for your sleep needs and the dosage required.