How’s your sleep? Feeling well-rested? A recent study in the UK found that 30% of our nation is severely sleep-deprived. To make matters worse, the study found that your average sleep score tends to decrease with age (just another reason to freak out on your birthday). This has led to many turning towards over-the-counter sleep aids which often have warning labels longer than the Old Testament.
So is CBD the answer? The vote is still out. Insomnia and sleeplessness occur for a wide variety of reasons, whether stress and anxiety; abnormal sleep behaviours or even physiological problems. With this in mind, CBD isn't a wonder drug that solves any underlying issues.
However, research has shown that Cannabidiol works with the endocannabinoid system, having a positive impact on the body's hormone levels, immune systems and sleep/wake cycles Furthermore, CBD is found to be non-habit forming and potentially a safer alternative to many sleep-aids.
History of CBD and Sleep
CBD and cannabis have a long-standing medicinal history, recorded since at least the 6th Century AD (check out the thrilling Chinese text Essential Techniques for the Welfare of the People by Qi Min Yao Shu for more on this). Many other cultures also have used (and continue to use) hemp and cannabis products to treat conditions like epilepsy, pain and anxiety.
How might CBD help with sleep?
As said, there are many problems associated with sleep; some have found CBD to help with the following:
Whether it's a late-night project gone awry or something more long-term, a common cause of insomnia is anxiety and stress. Studies have shown that CBD can prove beneficial to such disorders and improve sleep quality (such as this 2020 New Zealand study).
Elimination of Nightmares
You probably know from your own experience that nightmares can damage sleep quality. For those who suffer from sleep behaviour disorders (often exhibited by restlessness and increased nightmares), a good night's sleep is a distant dream. In this case study, patients treated with CBD experienced fewer side effects of sleep disorders, with no adverse side effects.
Does CBD make you sleepy during the day?
To be blunt, no. Unlike THC, which can induce a groggy and intoxicating feeling, CBD calms the mind and body without these side effects.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
Everybody responds differently to CBD, so experimentation is essential in understanding what works for your body. Furthermore, CBD has a variety of effects depending on dosage, product and when you use it. Recent studies indicate that CBD is great for short-term sleepiness, as the effects may diminish over time.
When should I take CBD before sleep?
If you're looking to enhance CBD's effectiveness, it's suggested that you should consume it at least 1-2 hours before your head hits the pillow.
Outside of CBD, how can I improve my night's sleep?
While CBD might provide successful results, there are plenty of behavioural methods that can promote better sleep, including:
Allow yourself time to calm down before bed (preferably in a dark setting without bright screens). If you need to look at a screen, make sure it has a brightness filter or has a night mode setting.
Find outlets for managing stress and anxiety, like journaling, talking with friends or seeking professional help if it's more serious.
Start following a regular sleep and wake pattern if you don't already have a routine.