We’ve all experienced it: a night of restless tossing and racing thoughts. Sometimes, the culprit is the anxiety (or excitement!) before a big event. Other times, however, there doesn’t seem to be a reason why we can’t get a good night’s rest. A large population struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep, and it can have major implications.
Those who have trouble getting proper sleep are likely to have tried all the tricks in the book. As a last resort, many turn to pharmaceuticals. This works well for some but may not appeal to others. Those who are seeking a more natural remedy may have heard of cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from cannabis.
Cannabis has been used as a sleep aid for centuries. This can be largely attributed to its active compounds, called cannabinoids.
In combination with other compounds such as terpenes, certain cannabinoids have been shown to promote a better quality of sleep.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Although research is in the beginning stages, CBD shows promise as a treatment for ailments such as anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Due to the range of benefits CBD is being studied for, many have wondered about the potential of CBD as a sleep aid.
CBD and Sleep
It is known that THC helps to modulate sleep but the relationship between CBD and sleep is lesser known. Contradictory results have been published and researchers have not yet clarified how CBD assists with sleep (if at all).
Several studies suggest CBD increases wakefulness during the day, which in turn assists in a better sleep at night. It is presumed CBD could influence dopamine levels which, in higher levels, increase the feeling of being awake. Since CBD encourages alertness, it may be of value in treating sleep disorders.
The science on CBD and sleep is not definitive at the moment. However, this does not mean CBD should be overlooked as a sleep aid. Other factors play into the quality of sleep and CBD can be a valuable supplement for overall wellness.
Reducing Symptoms to Aid Sleep
While the exact effect of CBD on sleep is unknown, what is clear is that CBD inadvertently helps with the quality of sleep by reducing symptoms such as anxiety and pain.
CBD and Anxiety
We have difficulty resting when anxiety overrides our body. Promoting a restful night’s sleep may start with relieving anxiety. In many cases, CBD has been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, therefore aiding in better quality of sleep.
Several animal studies and an increasing amount of evidence from human studies display the anti-anxiety properties of CBD. Human studies have been small and need further research, however, the initial findings are promising. Not to be forgotten are the personal anecdotes that support what has been found so far. When consumed as needed, CBD has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated option for treating anxiety-related disorders.
The state of our mind plays an important role in our quality of sleep. A reduction (or elimination) of anxiety may be the key for some to find the peace to rest fully.
CBD and Pain
Pain can be a major contributor to a poor night’s rest. Relieve the pain and rest can come much easier. For many, however, pain relief does not come so easy. Chronic pain is an emerging public health issue and treatment often comes in the form of addictive painkillers.
Many are finding pain relief with CBD, which has been studied as a natural analgesic (painkiller). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is active in the control of pain, and CBD has been shown to help the ECS mediate pain. More controlled human studies on CBD and pain are needed; however, personal stories have been encouraging.
Finding a natural and effective pain reliever could play a major factor in the quality of sleep for many. Reducing the amount of pain could play an important role not only in sleep but in the overall quality of life.
Drowsiness as a Side Effect of CBD
From the current evidence, it appears CBD does more for keeping us awake than it does for promoting sleep. Personal anecdotes, however, say otherwise. One of the reported side effects of CBD is drowsiness. This comes from both studies and testimonials. While researchers have not found the root cause of this side effect, it should not be ignored. Anecdotes can give us important insight while research is being conducted.
Some take advantage of this side effect and take CBD oil an hour or so before bed to promote a more restful night’s sleep. Whether we will experience this side effect can only be determined by adding CBD to our sleep regimen.
CBD as a Part of a Sleep Regimen
To determine if CBD is the right wellness supplement to add to our routine, we need to try it. Every body is different and therefore interacts with supplements in unique ways.
The World Health Organization considers CBD to be safe and well-tolerated. It does not pose the risk for dependency and, when derived from hemp, does not produce any intoxicating effects. Therefore, we do not need to be wary of trying CBD.
As always, we recommend consulting with a doctor before adding a wellness supplement to your routine. This will reduce the risk of side effects and drug interactions.
CBD and Sleep: Does it Help?
So, does CBD help with sleep? Directly, it is too soon to tell, although there have been reports of drowsiness when consumed in higher quantities. Indirectly, however, CBD alleviates symptoms that are often the cause of a poor night’s rest. For many, CBD has played an important role in achieving proper sleep.
Non-Consumption Methods for a Good Night’s Rest
A good night’s rest is important to our mental and physical health. In addition to pharmaceuticals or natural remedies, there are non-consumption methods which promote a better night’s sleep. Some examples include:
- Exercise early in the day
- Reduce caffeine consumption, especially later in the afternoon
- Turn off electronics before bed
- Maintain a healthy sleep space
- Write out tasks to have a clear head space
- Meditation and breathing work
Quality sleep is determined by a number of factors and we should be aware of how our actions affect our sleep. Being aware of our daily habits can be beneficial to our overall quality of sleep.
How does CBD affect your sleeping patterns? Do you have any suggestions for a healthy sleep regimen? Leave a comment below!