Does CBD Oil Promote Better Sleep?
With so many activities out on hold due to country-wide stay-at-home orders in response to COVID-19, a lot of us have more time to sleep. But are we using it well?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get seven hours or more of sleep a night, on average. Getting enough sleep not only feels better, but it also helps prevent longer-term health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Given how anxious of a time we’re all going through, it may be tempting to use prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids to help achieve a better night’s sleep. But not all sleep aids produce quality sleep.
That’s why many people are interested in using CBD oil for sleep. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of using CBD for sleep, how it differs from other sleep aids, and how to use CBD oil tinctures with melatonin and other products if you choose to do so.
What Do We Mean By “Better” Sleep?
It may seem like nothing much is happening when you’re asleep, but a lot is going on actually.
First of all, an hour or two before you fall asleep, your body starts producing melatonin. This hormone signals to all your bodily systems that the time for rest is drawing near. With most people, signs of nightfall – darkness, drops in temperature – starts up the melatonin, along with simply having been awake for 14 hours or so.
Once you fall asleep, things keep happening. In a healthy sleep pattern, your mental state travels from light sleep down to deep sleep in about 90 minutes. Deep sleep is when your body does its most intensive repair work, repairing tissues, and strengthening your bodily systems.
After you fall into a deep sleep, you also start to dream. This phase is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. While it’s still not clear, dreaming is important to maintaining mental health, even if you don’t remember it.
Usually, your first dip into dreamland is only about 10 minutes, but it gets longer each time you cycle back into it. Your last stretch of dreaming might last an hour.
What Interferes With Good Sleep?
Lots of things can interrupt a healthy sleep cycle. There might be noises or light changes, bringing you back to a lighter stage of sleep at the wrong time. You might have a disorder like sleep apnea, which disrupts your sleep with breathing disturbances. Nagging worries might also stop you from a deep sleep.
Substances that you take before going to bed can also interfere with your sleep cycle – including, ironically, those that can help you get to sleep.
Alcohol is a good example. It can help you relax and doze off, but the rebound effect kicks in within hours, so you may find yourself abruptly waking up just a few hours later.
Other popular sedatives, such as benzodiazepines, work similarly by depressing your central nervous system. Their effect usually lasts longer, but as a result, users often have trouble fully waking up in the morning, feeling groggy rather than refreshed.
CBD and Sleep
So how does CBD fit into this?
CBD acts in a completely different way from sedatives like alcohol and benzodiazepines. Like many other ingredients of the cannabis plant, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of neurotransmitters and receptors found throughout the body.
Scientists are still discovering just what the ECS does, but one thing that’s clear from millennia of cannabis use is that it can mellow people out. Many users swear it helps them get to sleep.
But it doesn’t depress the central nervous system in the same way, which is fortunate because doing so is dangerous.
Whole cannabis, however, includes many components – including THC, the stuff that makes you high. cbdMD’s formula comprises most of the beneficial components of cannabis except for the THC – bringing the relaxing qualities of cannabis without making it intoxicating, or illegal.
THC vs. CBD
Although CBD and THC both act on the ECS, they do so in different ways by binding to different receptors in the system. THC’s effects are not only intoxicating and psychoactive, but can also result in increased appetite – which is its main medical use – and, for some users, paranoia.
CBD does not have those same effects, but it appears to share some of the calming aspects. Research on both animal and human subjects put in stressful situations found that those on CBD showed fewer signs of nervousness, and in the case of humans, less self-reported nervousness. CBD also interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are responsible for a wide range of bodily functions including mood and stress.
Research indicates that CBD can be calming without disrupting the normal sleep cycle. One study gave healthy subjects 300 mg of CBD before bed – a much stronger amount than you’ll get from most over-the-counter products – and it did not disturb their normal sleep patterns.
When to Take CBD Oil for Sleep
While many people find CBD relaxing, whether or not it makes people feel sleepy seems to depend on the user. The only real way to be sure is to try it out.
If you do feel like CBD oil makes you drowsy, then you don’t want to take it earlier than an hour or two before bed. However, many people find it most effective when taken morning and evening to promote an overall sense of calm.
There’s some evidence that CBD builds up in the system over time, so you may find that two or three weeks of daily use increases the effects.
However, if you need stronger intervention, it helps to incorporate CBD into a more extensive sleep regimen.
Other Ways to Stimulate Melatonin
As I noted earlier, melatonin generally responds to darkness and coolness, so minimizing the use of artificial light and heat in the evenings can help to get your body in the mood for slumber. Quietness also helps both in getting sleep and following healthy cycles once you are asleep, even if you don’t consciously notice noises.
You can also induce the temperature-drop effect by taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bedtime. Baths can help relax your muscles and ease sore spots. Bathing with a 100 mg CBD bath bomb could help bring the benefits of CBD into the routine.
Another approach is to take melatonin directly. It’s available over the counter in capsule form, but you can also try award-winning CBD and melatonin: with our CBD sleep aid, CBD PM. In addition to 500 mg of CBD and 150 mg of melatonin per bottle, it includes a special blend of traditional herbs for sleep, such as chamomile, valerian root, and hops.
An advantage to a tincture is that if you take it under the tongue, it acts more quickly than if you swallow it. Just empty the dropper under your tongue and let it absorb for at least 30 seconds, and you should start to feel the effects in about 30 minutes.
If you don’t like that approach, you can also use CBD PM softgels. Just swallow one an hour or two before bedtime.
Using CBD For Sleep Safely
Before using CBD oil for sleep or starting any CBD regimen, talk to your doctor. You should already be talking to your doctor anyway if you have persistent sleep problems because that could be a sign of an underlying health condition. But either way, you should make sure that the CBD won’t interact with any medications you might be taking.
Also, if you do take CBD in combination with melatonin, be sure to do it strictly before bedtime or a long flight, and not before attempting to drive or work.
If you feel like you need more than a single serving a night, you may gradually increase the amount you take. You’ll get a good idea of how you respond to melatonin on the first night, but as I noted above, CBD may take longer to build up. So increase the amount slowly and monitor your reaction carefully.
With proper use, you might just find that CBD oil for sleep – not just more sleep, but better sleep – is just the thing for these stressful times. Check out our full range of CBD products to find out what works best for you!
Disclaimer: The cbdMD page contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.