It’s becoming more and more popular for people to use CBD for sleep. A good night’s sleep is essential to your well-being, health, and ability to function at an optimal level. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get their recommended 7 to 9 hours of rest per night. Approximately 70% of Americans report sleeping poorly, and nearly a third say they sleep for 6 hours or less each night.
The epidemic of poor sleep facing countless people around the world has prompted exploration of various natural sleep aids for battling insomnia. While medications exist to help facilitate sleep, many of these prescription sleeping pills can cause unwanted side-effects and dependence. A natural sleep aid such as CBD oil is much safer than a sleeping pill, and that’s why using CBD for sleep has become so common.
What Does Science Say About Using CBD for Sleep?
CBD is a form of cannabinoid extracted from hemp (cannabis). Unlike THC (another well-known cannabis extract), this substance has zero psychoactive effects, and no symptoms which may lead to dependency. This natural, plant-based substance is not reported to have negative side effects.
Research shows taking CBD at night may be effective in promoting better sleep by making it easier to calm the mind and fall asleep, maintaining a longer sleep duration, and a higher quality of sleep. One investigation discovered that, compared with a placebo, 160mg of CBD increased sleep duration for participants. Another study found cortisol levels (commonly associated with high levels of alertness and stress), dropped significantly when participants consumed between 300 to 600mg of CBD oil.
Unlike other substances intended for sleep management, CBD doesn’t cause next-day drowsiness in users. Many sleep aids cause a feeling of drowsiness the next day, which CBD doesn’t seem to do. Instead, using CBD for sleep works by addressing underlying problems which could be impacting sleep quality, such as by reducing anxiety, racing thoughts, or chronic pain. This is why CBD can be suitable for both improving sleep and increasing productivity.
How Does CBD Support Good Sleep?
Sleep issues are caused by a variety of factors, from your consumption of caffeine to your exposure to certain environmental factors (such as temperature or blue light). Some issues are easy to address with better sleep hygiene practices. For instance, you can change your mattress if an uncomfortable one is keeping you awake, or stop using electronic devices one hour before bed.
Other sleep problems are more difficult to manage on your own, such as anxiety or chronic pain keeping you awake. These problems could all potentially improve with regular consumption of CBD. While research into the impact CBD can have on sleep is still in its early stages, the results of many reports have been positive.
Let’s explore some of the ways CBD improves sleep:
1. Anxiety, Stress, and Mental Health
Though anxiety, stress and other mental health issues aren’t classified as sleeping disorders on their own, they’re frequently connected with trouble sleeping. Individuals with high levels of anxiety often struggle to slow their thoughts when trying to fall asleep.
CBD helps combat anxiety, stress, and depression, by positively influencing the central nervous system, helping you feel more relaxed and calm.
A study published in 2019 explored the impact of CBD on sleep and anxiety levels. The report, which explored the sleeping patterns of 72 subjects, found that within 1 month, subjects who took CBD capsules (25mg per day) reported lower anxiety. 66.7% of the study’s participants reported better sleep.
People with insomnia experience significant difficulties with falling asleep or staying asleep at night. This disorder can affect one’s mental alertness during the day, leading to issues with grogginess and lethargy. People with insomnia generally struggle with concentration problems, mood problems, and anxiety.
A pilot study examining the impact of CBD on anxiety and symptoms of chronic insomnia disorder found that CBD could be effective at improving overall sleeping patterns and combating circadian rhythm disorders. The research is still underway, with more insights on CBD for sleep emerging frequently.
Insomnia can also be worsened by an increase of cortisol (the hormone related to both stress and alertness) in the brain. Taking high doses of CBD has been linked to a reduction of cortisol production. When cortisol is reduced, the brain is more capable of releasing melatonin – one of the substances required for good sleep. This is another reason why using CBD for sleep can work.
3. Physical Conditions and Chronic Pain
Pain is one of the primary issues which can prevent people from getting a good night’s sleep. People who suffer from chronic pain may find it difficult to get comfortable at night, making it very challenging to fall asleep.
Chronic pain can also cause anxiety and increase cortisol levels, and keep the brain active at night, so sleeping feels almost impossible. For those who do manage to fall asleep, moving slightly during your slumber could be enough to aggravate a condition and cause you to wake up.
Fortunately, research indicates CBD could be valuable at reducing various forms of pain. One study from 2016 looked at the benefits of applying CBD gel to rats with arthritis for four days in a row. The rats who received 6.2 mg or more of gel per day saw significantly reduced pain and swelling.
Though research into the influence of CBD on pain is ongoing, a trusted review from 2018 indicates there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest CBD can reduce many types of chronic pain.
4. Medication Replacement
Medications are one of the main causes of sleep disorders for many people suffering from conditions such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Although additional research would be required to ensure CBD could safely replace many medications, there is potential that CBD can be a natural sleep aid used instead of prescription medication.
Current insights suggest CBD could be an effective supplement for people looking to reduce their doses of certain prescription medications that are causing unwanted side effects. For instance, if a patient finds CBD to be effective at reducing anxiety or depression, they could talk to their doctor about possibly reducing their dosage of medications such as SSRIs, which are known to cause insomnia.
Because CBD can effectively help to relax the mind and body, it could also be a replacement for a number of other substances which can harm sleeping patterns, such as alcohol use.
5. Sleep Disorders
As various studies continue to demonstrate the potential benefits of CBD for sleep and its ability to combat issues such as insomnia and anxiety, some researchers have also begun to experiment with CBD for more complex sleep-related conditions.
One 2014 study found Cannabidiol could potentially improve the sleep-related behaviors associated with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). People with RBD are more likely to act out their dreams or lash out during sleep, which can lead to injury and poor sleep patterns.
The study from 2014 examined four patients with both Parkinson’s Disease, and RBD, and found CBD significantly reduced the number of RBD related events.
Additional studies carried out since then have also highlighted the potential advantages of CBD for treating RBD, as well as showing this substance could be useful for treating issues of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Is Using CBD for Sleep Safe?
CBD is considered to be one of the safest and most natural sleep aids out there, but it’s still wise to speak to your doctor first. It’s important to discuss your options with your care provider before you begin taking CBD, to ensure there will be no negative side effects or interactions with current prescriptions. The most important thing is to speak with your doctor before deciding to replace a prescription medication with CBD.
CBD is considered to be a safe and natural treatment for various conditions, including anxiety and sleep disorders. Studies of short-term CBD use indicate patients don’t typically experience withdrawal symptoms or dependence when they use CBD.
There aren’t any particularly dangerous side-effects associated with CBD. However, doctors and professionals will often recommend starting with a low dosage and increasing your intake based on how you respond to the substance.
The dosage of CBD you use for sleep, the time you take it, and how you choose to consume it (via tinctures, capsules or edibles), will depend on a number of factors. Most clinical trials on CBD involve giving subjects between 25mg and 1,500mg of CBD per day, and many find different people respond in unique ways based on their body chemistry. This means that depending on the person, they’ll need a smaller or larger dose to achieve better sleep.
Should You Try CBD for Sleep?
CBD is a natural and effective solution for treating a range of conditions which can cause sleep disorders, insomnia, and unwanted nighttime alertness.
While it may take a while for you to see a significant difference from CBD, many people find CBD to be a helpful part of a complete strategy for better sleep hygiene. CBD is often used as part of a detailed sleep management plan. You can use CBD alongside other methods for improving sleep such as:
- Following a routine every night and ensuring you have good sleep hygiene practices.
- Creating a comfortable and cool sleeping environment.
- Avoiding consumption of caffeine and other stimulants in the evening.
Compared to other options to induce sleep, such as sleeping pills, CBD doesn’t have the same negative side effects or associations with dependence or addiction. However, different people will respond to this substance in unique ways, so it’s important to experiment with patience when deciphering if CBD works for you.
If you plan to use CBD for sleep, you’ll want to use an Indica strain, since that’s the strain that helps you wind down. Try Wunderkind Extract’s OG Kush Indica CBD Oil.