Can CBD Oil Help Me Sleep?
The analysis conducted by PMC states that almost 70 million Americans are insomniacs or they suffer from some other form of sleeping disorder. That’s why a lot of people are willing to take any measures for a sound, peaceful and calming sleep.
It is a natural effect of CBD to cause sleep because both CBD and THC reduce anxiety, stress and evoke a soothing response in the body.
So it can be said that if you are able to manage your anxiety and stress, then you can sleep better.
Aimée Gould Shunney, who is a licensed naturopathic doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine, said that CBD improves the endocannabinoid system of our body. This system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis- to protect our internal body systems from changes in the environment in order to sustain a balance.
CBD also protects anandamide- the major endocannabinoid of human beings- from breaking down into other much less active compounds. So by using CBD, we have plenty of our own endocannabinoids circulating in our bloodstream that prevent us from responding too much to stress and also help us to recover over baseline mood faster. So it can be said that this system is like a recovery system.”
But before we go into the details of the relation between CBD and sleep, let us first discuss the most common sleeping disorder-Insomnia.
A general introduction to insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which a person has difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep especially at night. So the person feels sleepy during the day and is not refreshed even after lying in bed for many hours.
According to a report published by Cleveland Clinic, almost 50 percent of adults experience insomnia at some point in their lives. But only One in ten people are reported to have what’s called chronic insomnia.
Anyone can be a victim of Insomnia, but women and adults are generally more prone to it. It can be acute or chronic depending on the underlying cause and the ability of the person to resist it. Menopause, stress and some other medical and mental health conditions can lead to insomnia.
Different types of insomnia
The following are the different types of insomnia. Each of them is characterized by its duration, effect on sleep and the underlying cause.
It is the type of insomnia that lasts for a few days to a few weeks. It’s the most common type of insomnia.
Acute insomnia is also called adjustment insomnia because it is usually caused by a stressful event, such as the death of a close one, losing business or even by the change of living place.
Along with stress and anxiety, the following are some other causes of acute insomnia:
- environmental factors that disrupt your sleep, such as noise or light
- sleeping in an unfamiliar bed or surroundings, such as a hotel or new home
- physical discomfort, such as pain or being unable to assume a comfortable position
- certain medications
- jet lag
Acute insomnia can become chronic if lasts for more than a few weeks and occurs with a frequency of at least three days per week.
Chronic insomnia can be further of two types depending upon the underlying cause - primary or secondary. Primary chronic insomnia, also called idiopathic insomnia, in which no underlying cause can be established.
Secondary insomnia, which is also called comorbid insomnia, has an established underlying cause which can be a tragedy or some medical or clinical condition.
Common causes include:
- chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, and obstructive and central sleep apnea
- mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- medications, including chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, and beta blockers
- caffeine and other stimulants, such as alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs
- lifestyle factors, including frequent travel and jet lag, rotating shift work, and napping
In this type of insomnia, a person is having trouble falling asleep. But once the person falls asleep, he or she will have a peaceful sleep.
The following are the main cause of onset insomnia:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Periodic limb movement disorder.
- Caffeine and other stimulants
In this type of insomnia, a person has difficulty staying asleep or waking up too early and unable to fall asleep again.
The following are the main cause of maintenance insomnia:
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- sleep apnea
- asthma and other respiratory conditions
- restless leg syndrome
- periodic limb movement disorder
Risks and side effects of insomnia
Insomnia can have a large number of adverse effects on your body both physically and mentally. It can impair your ability to function properly. A number of risks and side effects that affect your mental and physical health and impact your ability to function.
Some of the proven adverse effects of insomnia are mentioned here:
- decreased performance at work or school
- increased risk of accidents
- increased risk of depression and other mental health conditions
- increased risk of chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity
Traditional treatments for insomnia
The different types of insomnia are treated differently. In most cases, treating the underlying cause will help to eliminate insomnia.
Acute insomnia treatment: Acute insomnia can even be treated at home by using an over-the-counter sleep aid or by simply managing your anxiety and stress.
Treatment for chronic insomnia: chronic insomnia requires you to eradicate the underlying cause that is causing your insomnia. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can be used to treat chronic cases of insomnia and is proven to be more effective than most of the medications.
CBD as the new method of treatment
Research has proved that CBD can provide you relief from insomnia. Let us discuss the mechanism of action of CBD and the way in which it affects the sleep pattern of humans.
Research relating CBD with Sleep
New research from Kaiser Permanente has proven that CBD can be used as an effective treatment for sleep disorders. It has a calming effect on the central nervous system. And the people in the study who used CBD were able to get relieved from their anxiety and insomnia during the first month of the study.
CBD as an Alternative to Sleep Medication
There are many demerits of using sleep medication. As many of these can have adverse side effects or interactions with the substance present in the body or other medications the person is taking. Furthermore, there is a limit to the number of sleep medications that you can use during a specific period of time due to their addiction and other side effects.
On the other hand, CBD has only a few side effects that include fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. So CBD can provide the best alternative for sleep medications for treating sleep disorders.
How CBD Helps Your Sleep
There is evidence relating to CBD to sleep and insomnia relief too. As discussed in the start that it affects the endocannabinoid system in such a way that regulates sleep stability. This research was carried out using mice as subjects. This study showed that those mice which were treated with CBD, their NREM (non – REM sleep) time increased, increasing sleep stability.
So concluding this, we can say that CBD can help to shift your sleep from REM to NREM- a deeper, restful sleep.
That’s obviously far better than sleep medications with adverse side effects.
CBD and REM sleep
It has been found that CBD can also help with certain sleep disorders that occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Sleep is basically of two types: non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep occurs in cycles of 90-minutes leading up to REM sleep. The activity of the brain increases and dreaming occurs in REM sleep. Previously learned things are solidified into memory during the REM sleep.
In normal REM sleep, the limb muscles are temporarily paralyzed so that a person cannot act out what he or she is dreaming during the REM sleep. In Parkinson’s disease, REM sleep is disturbed so the people tend to do flail movements during vivid and violent dreams. 75 to 300mg of CBD is effective in the treatment of these patients.
Medical Effects of CBD on the Body While Sleeping
The following are some of the effects of CBD Oil on our body when you are sleeping:
- CBD oil reduces anxiety, thus improving the quality of sleep and limiting insomnia.
- When taken in smaller doses, it helps to stimulate alertness thus reducing daytime sleepiness. In this way, it helps to regulate your circadian rhythm (the natural body clock for sleep).
- CBD can also help improve sleep abnormalities in people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dosage value of CBD Oil before Sleep
All of the above discussion makes it clear that CBD definitely helps to improve the quality of sleep and its ability to treat people suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders as well.
The next question is what should be the appropriate dosage value of CBD to be taken before sleep so that it may provide you with all the listed benefits.
Even if the effects of overdose are not too noticeable, you shouldn’t overdose on it.
Keep this thing in mind that not all CBD oils are created equal. Different oils have different concentrations of CBD. No matter which product you chose, just keep this in notice that the concentration of CBD in that product should be between 10 and 20 mg in order to work properly.
Using less than 10mg of CBD will produce almost no effect. On the other extreme if you use more than 20mg you may experience adverse effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You don’t want diarrhea before bed.
I suggest you trust your body in this regard. You should select a CBD oil that suits your body and then adjust the dosage starting with the recommended one and then adjusting accordingly.
Some Tips for Using CBD as a Sleep Aid
The following are some of the tips that will help you to use CBD more effectively to support healthy sleep.
Try using CBD as a supplement: CBD can be beneficial but you shouldn’t make a habit of using it every time you go to sleep. You should try your best to ensure good sleep habits, such as shutting down screen time at least an hour before bed, avoiding caffeine in the evening, shutting down all the screens at least one hour before bed and following a regular sleep schedule. Sleep can also be improved by an overall healthy lifestyle including physical activity and a good diet.
Don’t overdose on CBD: Although using a too small dose of CBD may not produce the desired effects yet you should avoid overdosing on it. If you are taking it on a regular basis then it will become your habit and you can’t sleep without it. You should start with a small dose working your way slowly up to 25 to 30 mg.
Choose a suitable delivery method: Edibles and oils can provide a sustained delivery of CBD that can help you stay asleep during the night. But vaping can provide you with a faster relief, although its effects wear off more quickly.
Only use it when you need it: keep this in mind that CBD is not a recreational drug and doesn’t provide the psychoactive effects like THC. Although it has a low risk, it can give you a tough time. You might not be worried about overdosing on it, but you should be worried about its effectiveness that decreases over the course of time. The Kaiser Permanente study proves that CBD’s effectiveness as a sleep aid could drop off after about a month of regular use. So you should use it only when you are in need not on a regular basis.
Recent research has shown that CBD has pain-reducing and anxiolytic properties. By considering this, we can say that CBD can be of great help to the people having trouble sleeping and also those who are suffering from chronic pain and anxiety. More than around 23% of people with chronic pain have inconsistent sleep patterns and are unable to get a peaceful sleep. Current Studies have also shown that CBD can also be used for the treatment of REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness. Taking this a step further, early studies on experimental animals also suggest that CBD can be used to increase the duration of sleep.
But there is one thing that I want you to keep in mind, CBD has a “biphasic effect”. It means that it produces different effects in different doses. In small amounts, CBD can create alertness, thus helping you to overcome daytime sleepiness. On the other hand, when taken in moderate amounts, CBD will produce a calming effect that is required for sleep. This effect is known as a biphasic effect.
But when you overdose on CBD, then instead of getting the desired benefits you get nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
There is a common rule when you are using CBD or related products, “Start low, go slow”. It means that you should start with the lowest recommended dosage and then slowly work your way up to the concentration that gives you the desired results.
Coming to the methods of intake, the best ones are to take sublingual drops of an oil or tincture. If you don't want to try the sublingual method then you can use vaping CBD instead. It will also produce the desired effects within 15-20 minutes and may last for a few hours.
Summarizing all this, we can say that CBD can be a good choice for sleep, especially if you are suffering from stress, anxiety, or some sort of chronic pain at night. By using it carefully, you can improve your bedtime sleep and feel more relaxed and fresh during the day.