With so many activities on hold due to countrywide stay-at-home orders, 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, it also helps keep our bodies running at maximum efficiency.
Given the trying times we’re all going through, it may seem as though all of the sleep support options are equal when you are choosing one to help achieve a better night’s sleep. But not all sleep aids produce quality sleep.
Many people are talking about CBD oil for sleep. But, does CBD oil help you sleep by promoting a sense of relaxation at bedtime? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of adding CBD to your evening routine 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?
Quality sleep is necessary for the body and brain to slow down, recover, and promote improved physical and mental well-being. But there’s a lot to the science of sleep.
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) trigger the production of 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 how it works, 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 Quality Sleep?
Circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock that runs on a 24-hour cycle and helps you wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. It follows the timing of the sun and synchronizes with the light and dark cycle. Unfortunately, many 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. Common stress 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.
CBD and Sleep
So how does CBD fit into this? Does CBD help you sleep by encouraging a sense of calm and relaxation in the evening?
Like many other ingredients of the cannabis plant, CBD 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 CBD does seem to encourage a sense of calm when dealing with common daily stressors. But it doesn’t depress the central nervous system, which can be dangerous.
Whole cannabis, however, includes many components – including THC, the stuff that makes you high. cbdMD’s formula comprises several 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 users do not experience those same results, but it appears to encourage a feeling of calm. 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 play a role in a wide range of bodily functions.
Preliminary research seems to indicate that CBD can be calming without disrupting the normal sleep cycle.
How to Take CBD Oil for Sleep
While many people find that CBD encourages a sense of relaxation, whether it makes people feel sleepy seems to depend on the user. The only real way to be sure is to try it out for yourself.
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 useful 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 need to evaluate your daily serving size after two to three weeks. It’s a smart practice to incorporate CBD into a healthy sleep hygiene regimen.
Depending on your personal preference, the method you choose to take CBD oil has some bearing on when you should take it for sleep.
- Gummies are an easy, delicious, and discreet way to take CBD. The CBD is delivered through the digestive system, so you’ll want to eat the gummies at least an hour before bedtime.
- CBD oil tinctures offer more rapid interaction with the body when held under the tongue for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. You can take tincture oils 30 minutes before bed.
- CBD capsules provide a convenient and mess-free way to take CBD oil. Once these are swallowed, allow at least an hour or two for these to be digested.
- CBD bath bombs deliver a different approach when wanting to take CBD oil for sleep. Simply run a bath, drop in the bath bomb, and get ready for a soothing and relaxing wave to take over. For optimal results, soak for at least 30 minutes.
- CBD topicals like moisturizing lotions and gels can incorporate CBD into your everyday lifestyle. Rather than using CBD topicals specifically for sleep results, topicals are ideal for recovery from strenuous exercise and activity.
10 Additional Ways to Stimulate Melatonin
Although melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone whose levels follow a circadian rhythm, there are additional ways to stimulate the production of melatonin.
1. Minimize the Use of Artificial Light
As I noted earlier, melatonin generally responds to darkness, so minimizing the use of artificial light in the evenings can help to get your body in the mood for slumber.
2. Turn Down the Thermostat
Melatonin production also takes place as a response to cooler temperatures. Rather than turning on the heater at night, try aiming for a cooler temperature and see if you experience better sleep.
3. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol consumption can suppress the production of melatonin. Similarly, caffeine can decrease melatonin output and should be avoided several hours before bed.
Aerobic exercise has the potential to acutely increase melatonin levels at certain times of the day. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you may discover improved sleep.
5. No Working in Bed
Working in bed generally entails looking at a laptop screen or even a cell phone. These devices emit blue light which suppresses the production of melatonin. To ensure technology doesn’t get in the way of your quality sleep, take a break from the screens before bedtime.
6. Create Peace and Quiet
Quietness also helps in both getting sleep and following healthy cycles once you are asleep, even if you don’t consciously notice noises.
7. Sip Tea
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, tea is a great way to relax before bedtime. Some of the best choices are chamomile, passionflower, valerian root, and lavender.
Meditation practices may enhance melatonin levels. Taking even a few minutes a day to relax and meditate has the potential to improve your quality of sleep.
9. Take a Hot Bath
You can also induce the temperature-drop effect by taking a hot bath about 90 minutes before bedtime. Baths can help relax your body. Bathing with a 100 mg CBD bath bomb could bring the benefits of CBD into the routine.
10. Try Supplements
Another approach is to take melatonin directly. It’s available 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 soothing herbs for sleep, such as chamomile, valerian root, and hops.
An advantage to a tincture is it can begin interacting with your body quickly. Just empty the dropper under your tongue and let it absorb for at least 30 seconds before swallowing.
If you don’t like that approach, you can also use CBD PM softgels. Just swallow one an hour or two before bedtime.
You can also combine the benefits of melatonin and a hot bath with our nighttime bath salts, which include a formula similar to CBD PM and can be dissolved in water.
Properly Using CBD for Sleep
Before using CBD oil for sleep as part of an evening relaxation routine or starting any CBD regimen, talk to your doctor. You should make sure that the CBD won’t interact with any medications you are currently 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 after the first few nights, but it may take longer for your body to respond. So increase the amount slowly and monitor how you feel over time.
With proper use, you’ll be able to answer the question, ‘Does CBD oil help you sleep?’ And you might just find that CBD oil for sleep in your evening routine – not just more sleep, but better sleep – is just the thing for these stressful times. Check out our full range of CBD products or take our CBD quiz to find the product that 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.