Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or perhaps staying asleep? Rest assured, you’re not the only one. Sleep disorders are a common problem in modern society.
Maybe it’s all the notifications that bombard us from morning till night. Or perhaps it’s the lack of exercise and time outdoors. It might even be the four cups of coffee that keep us functioning throughout our many daily tasks.
Whatever the cause, a lack of sleep can do far more than leaving us tired the next day. You see, sleep is restorative. So when you have problems sleeping, it can quickly start to affect other areas of your life negatively.
Your mood and energy suffer first. Your ability to focus reduces. Your risk for other health issues like high blood pressure and depression increases. Therefore, it is clear to see that sleep is vitally important to staying well and healthy.
And one way that people with sleep issues are tackling the problem is with CBD, a legal and non-intoxicating ingredient of cannabis. Many are reporting that ingesting CBD a few hours before bedtime has a balancing effect that helps them calmly drift off into the land of slumber.
But before we look at how CBD can help with sleep disorders such as insomnia, let’s take a look at the most common sleep complaints.
Insomnia and other common sleep disorders
In the United States, about 70 million people suffer from insomnia, insufficient sleep or some other sleep disorder. Needless to say, this is a clear sign that not all is well when it comes to the population’s sleep health.
Three of the most common sleep disorder are insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. Here’s a quick breakdown of each condition and its symptoms.
- Insomnia - This is a sleep disorder in which people have difficulty falling or staying asleep. People with insomnia will wake up often during the night and having trouble getting back to sleep, leaving them unrefreshed and fatigued the following day. A number of factors can cause insomnia, including illness, pain and depression.
- Sleep apnea - A potentially serious sleep disorder, sleep apnea causes a person's breathing to be interrupted during sleep. People with sleep apnea often repeatedly stop breathing during their sleep, which, as you can imagine, can be a serious risk. This is either caused by a blockage in your airway or when your brain fails to signal your body to breathe.
- Restless legs syndrome - RLS is a sleep disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. It typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Certain medications can cause RLS, as well as illness and psychological issues.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of hundreds of different compounds found in cannabis, a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. CBD is part of a group of cannabis-derived compounds known as cannabinoids.
These cannabinoids have been found to offer a variety of therapeutic benefits. The most famous cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the compound responsible for the ‘high’ associated with cannabis use.
And the cannabinoid that is currently generating the most interest among scientists, doctors and patients alike, is CBD. This is because scientific studies on CBD have found it to be very safe, non-intoxicating, and a potential treatment for a wide range of conditions. These conditions include chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders, among many others.
CBD is also widely accessible as it is legal in all 50 states and most other places in the world. So even if you live in a state where medical cannabis is currently prohibited, you can still purchase and use CBD in a variety of forms.
How does CBD work?
Although cannabis research has been hindered massively by prohibition, scientists have made great progress in understanding how CBD works in the human body. But it’s far from simple.
CBD has been found to act on the human physiology in a number of ways. Although, surprisingly, it doesn’t work by activating either of the two cannabinoid receptors that are present in the body. It does, however, activate several other receptors and pathways.
These include the adenosine receptor, which healthy bone and heart health; serotonin receptors, which help regulate mood; and the capsaicin receptor, which is known to play a part in regulating body temperature, inflammation, and pain.
Can CBD help you sleep?
The most obvious way in which CBD is helping people to improve their sleep or help treat their sleep disorders is by reducing anxiety. A number of studies have shown CBD to have potent anti-anxiety properties. This effect can help you relax and drift off easier.
It is thought that CBD reduces anxiety by stimulating a serotonin receptor in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (the brain’s chemical messengers) that is believed to help you regulate mood, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire.
Scientists have also discovered that CBD has pain relieving properties. Therefore, if pain is stopping you from sleeping well, CBD may be effective at reducing the pain and helping you get to sleep and stay asleep.
Additionally, in smaller doses, CBD can make you feel alert and reduce daytime sleepiness. This may not sound useful to someone trying to get to sleep, but it can help. By keeping you alert and awake in the daytime, you may find it easier to sleep when the evening comes.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence for the use of CBD to help with insomnia and other sleep problems. But there are also some rigorous scientific studies that suggest a link. Let’s have look at them…
Looking at the effect of CBD on the sleep-wake cycle, this study found that patients given varying amounts of CBD increased their overall time asleep. This includes the amount of REM sleep, which is the restorative part of your sleep cycle.
This study tested whether CBD could help insomniacs with their condition. It found that subjects who received the highest dose of CBD (160mg) reported having slept significantly more than those receiving placebo. Interestingly, the volunteers also reported significantly less dream recall. This may indicate a deeper sleep.
In this case study, from 2016, CBD oil was shown to be a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with posttraumatic stress disorder. The administration of CBD oil resulted in a decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the girl’s sleep.
How much CBD for sleep?
CBD has been shown to be extremely safe, even at high doses. Even so, consulting your doctor or caregiver prior to starting any CBD protocol is wise. CBD can interfere with certain medications, so this is especially important if you are already taking a prescribed drug.
When first starting out with CBD, it is always recommended that you begin with a relatively small dose and gradually increase until the effect you desire is attained. A small dose would be in the range of 5-10mg.
Having said that, if you are using CBD to induce sleep, a slightly higher dose will probably be more effective. As mentioned above, small doses of CBD can be more energizing than relaxing. This is because CBD is what’s known as a “biphasic” compound. Meaning that it can have completely different effects in low and high doses.
A low dose of CBD in the morning, therefore, might work well for staying bright and alert during the day. When evening comes, a higher dose, perhaps 40- 60mg, may be more suitable. Again, we are all unique and what is a perfect dose for some may not be for others.
The only true way to find what works for you is to experiment with doses until you find your ‘sweet spot’. Just to repeat, we always recommend you start low with a low dose of CBD and working your way up.
Herbs to mix with CBD for a good night’s sleep
CBD has been shown to increase sleepiness and drowsiness. It can, therefore, be of great use if you suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder. In fact, cannabis has been used for thousands of years as a sleep aid.
Similarly, a number of other herbs have been traditionally used to promote a healthy night’s sleep. When these herbs are used in conjunction with CBD, you can increase the sleep-inducing effects of both.
Here are some of the most popular herbs to use in tandem with CBD in order to get the most restful of slumbers:
- Lavender - One of the most well-known sleep-promoting herbs, lavender has been used for generations treat mild insomnia. A UK study even confirms it does improve sleep quality.
- Valerian - The valerian root is, without doubt, the most well-studied herb for insomnia. It has been shown in multiple studies to be highly effective and with minimal side effects. Valerian makes a great complement to CBD.
- Hops - Both cannabis and hops are actually related. Both are from the Cannabinaceae family. So then it’s little surprise that hops also offer a relaxing, sedative effect that combines well with CBD.
- Kava Kava - This medicinal herb hails from the exotic South Pacific, where it has traditionally been used for its calming effects. Kava has been shown to have sleep-enhancing properties and hypnotic effects.
- Chamomile - Another well-known herb for inducing calm, chamomile is safe and effective. It works well in conjunction with CBD to promote sleep.
- GABA - This is your brain's neurotransmitter for feelings of calm and relaxation and works extremely well when combined with CBD. These supplements are a very popular natural solution for better sleep.
CBD vs sleeping pills
If you go to your doctor to complain about your insomnia or other sleep disorders, a prescription for sleeping pills or sedatives will likely be the most common response. And while these drugs can offer a quick fix, they do not come without dangers.
A brief search on the internet will provide you with lots of information regarding the risks of taking sleeping pills and sedatives. There is even a fair amount of medical research highlighting the potential side-effects of these pharmaceuticals. So do the benefits outweigh the dangers? Or is CBD a better option?
One of the most worrying side-effects of sleeping pill is the increased risk of cancer. A number of studies have linked the use of sedatives and sleep aids to an increased incidence of cancer.
Just as disturbing is this 2015 study, which discovered a significantly increased risk of death for people taking certain sleeping pills regularly. It found that people taking these types of drugs are more than twice as likely to die compared to the comparison group.
On the other hand, CBD is incredibly safe. Apart from interacting with certain medications, the only side effect of CBD that has been noted is a drowsiness. CBD is also non-intoxicating and non-addictive. And it offers much more therapeutic benefits than just improving sleep.
Please note, however, that if you are currently taking any medication, you should always consult your doctor before you stop or change your regiment. Your doctor knows your condition and history best. They are, therefore, best placed to advise you.
Final thoughts on CBD and insomnia
Sleep disorders like insomnia are incredibly prevalent in our modern world. The technological age that we all live in is hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep. We are more distracted and than ever. And our sleep is suffering.
As well as making you feel groggy and irritable, not getting your full forty winks can have disastrous effects on your health. Just as worrying, the medication most often prescribed for sleep disorders - sleeping pills and sedatives - come with plenty of their own serious health risks.
That’s why many people are now finding solace in the cannabis-derived compound CBD. In fact, cannabis has been used as a safe and effective treatment for insomnia for centuries. Therefore, in this time of meteoric technological advancement, it makes perfect sense that people are turning to a trusted, traditional alternative to tackle sleep problems.
Recent scientific research has shed some light on how and why CBD is so effective at treating insomnia and other sleep disorders. Through various biological pathways, CBD has been found to relieve anxiety and stress, reduce pain, and improve the quality of patients' sleep.
Of course, a lot more research is still needed. The results we have so far are promising, however. And our understanding of the benefits of CBD is growing all the time.
Therefore, if you are currently suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorder, CBD could be the answer you are looking for. Try our Good Vibes 250mg+ CBD oil today and see if it can help you regain your sleep health.