As many as 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders, one of the most common being insomnia. Those with insomnia have trouble falling or staying asleep, leaving them with daytime sleepiness, low energy, decreased productivity, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic insomnia can also increase your risk of developing serious health issues, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Fortunately, it’s possible to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. There are a variety of different treatments available. One of the first recommendations for improving sleep is often making lifestyle changes. These changes may include quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. While effective for some, these methods don’t work for everyone.
Some physicians prescribe medications, such as Lunesta or Ambien. While these medications are proven to help you to sleep, they often leave you feeling drowsy in the morning. Some users experience side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, and memory problems. You may even develop a tolerance over time or become dependent upon them.
If you’re looking to avoid prescription medications, you may try mental exercises such as deep breathing or meditation. The goal is to clear the mind and alleviate stress. The problem with meditation, however, is that practicing too close to bedtime can confuse the body, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
There’s another natural method to combat insomnia that’s growing in popularity, and that’s CBD. Hemp-derived CBD products are available just about everywhere these days. They’re said to help with a wide array of different issues, including pain, anxiety, depression, and more. The question is, can CBD help you sleep?
What Causes Insomnia?
There is no singular cause of insomnia. There are numerous medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, habits, and biological factors that can lead to difficulty sleeping. Some causes include:
- Chronic pain
- Neurological conditions
- Anxiety and depression
- Alcohol or nicotine use
- Caffeine use
- Your lifestyle
Can CBD Help You Sleep? 6 Things You Should Know
Not all that long ago, CBD was pretty much an unknown term. Over the last few years, however, interest has skyrocketed. According to JAMA, search volume increased by almost 126% in 2017 compared to 2016, and approximately 160% in 2018 compared to 2017. There were 6.4 million searches related to CBD in April 2019 alone, beating out searches for other forms of alternative medicine, including meditation and acupuncture. If you’re interested in CBD for sleep, here are six things to know.
1. Studies Show CBD May Help You Sleep
So, does CBD help or hinder sleep? One study in 2019 looked at a small pool of only 72 adults with primary concerns of anxiety and poor sleep. The study found that CBD may be beneficial for sleep. According to the study, sleep scores improved for about 66% of the patients in the first month. The benefits fluctuated over time, with only just over half of the patients reporting improved sleep after two months.
Another study looked at a much larger pool of participants to determine the effectiveness of CBD for sleep. The study found that participants fell asleep faster and awoke fewer times during the night when using CBD compared to when they didn’t. It also found that a majority of the participants woke up feeling better after using CBD.
2. CBD Is Different Than OTC and Prescription Sleep Aids
There are numerous over the counter and prescription sleep aids on the market. While they can help you to fall asleep faster and may be an effective short-term solution, they do have some significant drawbacks. These drawbacks include:
- Unwanted side effects such as daytime sleepiness, dizziness, and headaches
- Risk of dependency
- Potential for tolerance development
- Erratic behavior such as sleepwalking
Additionally, many sleep aids don’t treat the cause of insomnia. Instead, they only provide a sedative effect to help you sleep.
CBD, on the other hand, may help to treat the root cause of your insomnia. While some may experience side effects, such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, or fatigue, it does not have the same risk of dependency that conventional sleep aids do.
3. CBD Has Many Sleep-Related Benefits
Understanding the sleep-promoting benefits of CBD is vital for determining if it’s the right course of action for you. Benefits of CBD for sleep include:
- Reduced anxiety: Stress and anxiety are common causes of insomnia. When you’re stressed, your body may release more of the stress hormone cortisol at night, which can make it difficult to sleep. CBD may help to regulate your cortisol levels, enabling you to fall asleep faster and wake up less during the night.
- PTSD relief: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to anxiety and sleep disorders, which can result in problems sleeping. Studies are finding that CBD oil may be an effective treatment for alleviating PTSD-related anxiety, thus allowing you to get better quality sleep.
- Pain reduction: CBD provides a welcome alternative to conventional pain medications, which often come with significant side effects and a risk of dependency. Unlike OTC and prescription sleep aids, CBD helps to treat the cause of your pain rather than only providing a sedative effect.
- Regulating sleep/wake cycles: CBD can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and your natural sleep/wake cycles. For some users, CBD can have a dual effect. Depending upon the time of day you take it, it can promote wakefulness during the day and relaxation at night. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness both can inhibit productivity and make it difficult to fall asleep. Using CBD during the day may help to boost your wakefulness, which can then make it easier to fall asleep (and stay asleep) at bedtime.
- Promoting relaxation: Tremors and hypermobility in patients with Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease can lead to insomnia. CBD may be able to help reduce these movements, enabling patients to get better sleep.
4. You Don’t Have to Worry About Mixing CBD with Some Sleep Aids
Some individuals who use CBD for sleep are also combining the cannabinoid with other natural sleep aids, such as melatonin or CBN. The question is, are these combinations safe?
CBD and Melatonin
Both CBD and melatonin occur naturally within the body. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your natural circadian rhythm. Its release increases in the evening and remains high during the night, decreasing around dawn. A melatonin supplement can help to increase your levels, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.
There are no known negative interactions between CBD and melatonin. Some CBD companies make oils, capsules, and gummies that have added melatonin in them to help to rebalance your body and restore a more natural rhythm.
Some people are allergic to melatonin, however. If you have an adverse reaction to the supplement, there are other alternatives to consider, such as:
- Valerian root
These supplements can also help to alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as promote better sleep.
CBD and CBN
CBN is a lesser-known cannabinoid. Studies on minor cannabinoids are limited, but CBN may hold the potential to improve sleep, especially when combined with other cannabinoids.
The thing about CBN is that neither hemp nor cannabis plants make very much of it naturally. It occurs as a result of the degradation of THC, a cannabinoid much more prominent in cannabis. CBN develops when THC is exposed to light or heat. Because it’s derived from THC, it may cause a slight high.
When it comes to CBD, CBN doesn’t appear to interact with it. Instead, the combination may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It may also help you to avoid the grogginess associated with conventional sleep aids.
The problem with using CBN in conjunction with CBD, however, is that there aren’t many hemp-derived CBN products available on the market. In many cases, hemp-derived CBN requires chemicals or oxidation to create. Most CBN products that are available are derived from cannabis plants, and therefore only available in dispensaries.
5. It May Have Adverse Effects When Combined with Other Sleep Aids, Though
The same enzymes in the liver that metabolize certain medications also break down CBD. CBD can slow the metabolism of some medications, causing side effects of those medications to increase. For example, mixing CBD with sertraline, an anti-anxiety medication, can increase the risk of nausea, decreased libido, and tremors. The combination may also negatively affect your sleep rather than help.
On the other hand, CBD can speed up the metabolism of other medications, making them less effective. If you are currently taking any prescription (or over the counter medications) for sleep, you should speak with your physician first before incorporating CBD.
6. CBD Likely Won’t Appear on a Drug Test
Some employers require drug tests, which may be administered randomly or following an incident. Many individuals using CBD for sleep understandably worry that their supplement will trigger a positive result.
If you’re taking a hemp-derived CBD product, you likely don’t have to worry about a positive drug test. Drug tests typically look for things such as amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and THC. They don’t test for CBD.
What if you’re taking a CBD product with trace amounts of THC? By law, hemp-derived CBD products can’t contain more than 0.3% THC. Some, such as broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolates, don’t contain any THC at all. Even if your CBD oil (or other product) has 0.3% THC, it’s highly unlikely that you will get a positive drug test result.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
There are numerous CBD products on the market today, including oils, tinctures, sublingual sprays, gummies, capsules, topicals, and more. Products like alcohol-based tinctures and sublingual sprays offer immediate results. Oils, gummies, and capsules take longer to process. Topicals like creams and balms are often used for pain and provide targeted relief.
Why Use CBD Oils?
While they take longer to process, one of the reasons you should take CBD oil for sleep is because they linger in the system longer than faster-acting forms. They can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
If you’re looking for the best CBD oils for sleep, Vimtality offers several brands, including:
- Lazarus Naturals
- NuLeaf Naturals
Since it takes some time for CBD oils to take effect, try taking a dose about an hour before your bedtime. You may also benefit from other pre-bedtime rituals that may help you to sleep better, such as turning off your technology, reading a book, taking a bath, or meditating.
How Much Do You Need?
Everyone is different. CBD has a variety of effects depending upon the dosage, the product itself, the time of day you take it, and your individual physiology. What works for one person may not work for you. The best thing that you can do is to experiment.
If you’re new to using CBD for sleep, begin with a small dose. CBD oils come with a dropper, which can help you to measure how much you’re getting. Start with 0.5 to 1 ml. Place your dose under your tongue for fast absorption. If you don’t notice any difference in your sleep after a few days, gradually begin increasing your dose until you find what works best for you.
CBD gummies and capsules are also easy to dose. The packaging indicates how much CBD is in each serving. Start with a single serving (typically one gummy or capsule) and monitor your results. Again, if you don’t notice any improvements in your sleep, gradually increase your dose. Remember that gummies and capsules take longer for the body to process since they need to be digested first, rather than absorbing into the bloodstream under the tongue.
It’s also important to keep in mind that studies indicate that CBD is best used for short-term sleepiness. The effects can diminish over time, so you may want to avoid using it as a long-term solution.
Is CBD Right for You?
Is CBD oil good for insomnia? If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with a sleep disorder, CBD may be able to help. The available studies on the effectiveness of CBD are showing promising results. The cannabinoid may be effective for treating the root causes of insomnia, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. What’s more, CBD doesn’t have many of the negative side effects associated with other sleep aids.
Are you ready to find out if CBD can help combat your insomnia and help you sleep? We invite you to browse our selection of products to see all that we have to offer.