CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia: Does It Really Work?


woman sleeping on bed with puppy

CBD oil may be able to help you fall asleep and stay asleep for a good night’s rest.

CBD oil is becoming a go-to treatment for all sorts of conditions, but does it work for promoting sleep and reducing insomnia? Anecdotally, people have used CBD oil as a sleep aid for some time, and now, scientific research is starting to validate their claims.

This page will present a range of information on the benefits of CBD oil for sleep and insomnia that is intended to educate and guide you towards making an informed decision. But like any change to your health regimen, it’s best to talk to your doctor before you begin using CBD oil.

 

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Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Help You Sleep

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. These two substances are the most familiar to the average person and are most closely associated with smoking marijuana. THC produces an intoxicating effect and is largely responsible for the sensation of being ‘high.’ CBD, in contrast, does not have an intoxicating effect, and will not negatively impact your mental or physical capabilities. In short, CBD oil will not get you high.  

CBD oil works indirectly on the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system, as well as non-cannabinoid receptors, ultimately prompting a range of beneficial internal responses.

CBD Oil for Anxiety

CBD oil can help calm anxiety that keeps you awake at night. Whether you are experiencing mild stress and anxiety related to something specific, or suffer from an anxiety disorder like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), CBD shows promising, calming, results.

In a 2019 retrospective review of the effect of CBD on 103 individuals with anxiety or sleep disorders, CBD was found to reduce anxiety scores by 79.2% and improve sleep scores by 66.7% with limited side effects over the course of three months. The conclusion reads, “In this evaluation, CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications. Furthermore, CBD displays promise as a tool for reducing anxiety in clinical populations…”

So, if stress and anxiety are keeping you from falling asleep, CBD oil may be able to mitigate your symptoms and help you get to bed.

CBD Oil for Reducing Pain

One of the ways CBD oil can help you sleep is by reducing physical pain symptoms. Sufferers of chronic or acute pain know all too well how difficult it can be to fall asleep. Traditional pain medications like opioids can provide relief but they also have negative side effects and can be highly addictive. CBD oil does not have these same risks.

Glycine receptors, located in the central nervous system, are inhibitory receptors that play a significant role in your perception of pain. CBD has been shown to affect these receptors in a way that reduces inflammation and neuropathic pain (pain associated with the nervous system). CBD also inhibits equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1), which slows the reuptake of the neurotransmitter adenosine. Ultimately, this impacts adenosine receptors in a way that helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body, lessening the pain that’s keeping you from a good night’s sleep.

CBD Oil for REM Behavior Disorder

More than reducing pain and anxiety, CBD oil can help reduce REM behavior disorder (RBD), which is sometimes associated with illnesses like Parkinson’s Disease. REM behavior disorder causes people to move around and physically act out what they’re dreaming about. This movement can lead to sleep disturbances and injury to oneself and any person who may be sharing the bed.

In a 2014 study, CBD was shown to reduce the symptoms and movement associated with RBD, resulting in a more restful and restorative sleep for the test subjects. These promising results may be reason enough for you to try CBD oil as an RBD treatment.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia

Sleep is an incredibly important activity for human beings and also one of the hardest to come by. Working long hours, not exercising enough, eating processed foods, and staring at television, computer, and cellphone screens all disrupt the natural circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) of your body. This disruption can make it difficult to fall asleep and prevent you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, which are crucial for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Luckily, CBD oil may help promote relaxation, allowing you some quality shut-eye.

Why Sleep Is Important

When you sleep, your body performs a variety of functions to maintain and repair everything from your memory to your muscles.

Lack of sleep can negatively affect your memory and overall mental wellbeing. A review of numerous sleep-related studies focused on the effects of sleep deprivation in the human brain. In numerous studies, lack of sleep often corresponded to reduced reaction times, difficulty paying attention, decreased reasoning skills, and poor memory. When you get enough sleep, your brain is able to fully recharge before wakefulness, which allows you to function at your highest potential.

Sleep also regulates hormones like leptin and ghrelin, which directly correspond to metabolism and can significantly impact your weight. In a 2004 study, test subjects who slept for shorter periods of time (less than 7-8 hours) had unbalanced leptin and ghrelin levels that corresponded to a higher body mass index (BMI). So, getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy body weight.

Finally, much of your physical body is in recovery and repair mode while you sleep. During slumber, muscles are repaired, grown, and regenerated, meaning some shut-eye is crucial to recovery after exercise or muscular injury. Too, in a 2014 study researchers found significant cellular damage in the liver, lungs, and intestines of sleep-deprived rats and stated, “We speculate that these outcomes may be borne out in humans…”

Because sleep is so important, it is—or should be—a top priority. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, there are a variety of treatment options out there; however, CBD oil may offer some benefits other medications cannot.

CBD Oil vs. Sleeping Pills

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommend adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for optimal mental and physical function. Unfortunately, this can be hard to do.

Improving your sleep hygiene by making small changes to your daily habits may be the key to unlocking your sleep potential. Some adjustments might include drinking less caffeine during the day, turning off electronics (phone, computer, TV) at least an hour before bedtime, meditating, and getting some form of physical exercise. However, if these methods aren’t eliciting the results you and your doctor were hoping for, or if you have a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea, you may be prescribed sleeping pills (e.g. Ambien or Lunesta).  

Sleeping pills are classified as sedative hypnotics, meaning they help you fall asleep and stay asleep. While they can be effective for treating conditions like chronic insomnia, sleeping pills come with a long laundry list of negative side effects, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Attention and memory issues
  • Parasomnia (sleepwalking)

Sleeping pills can also become addictive for some people, which then presents a spectrum of other issues.

CBD oil presents none of these side effects and is not addictive. (In fact, CBD oil was found to actually help prevent relapses in a recent study performed on rats.) CBD oil presents little to no negative side effects and the World Health Organization has stated, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

So, if you’ve tried sleeping pills and weren’t happy with the results or side effects, or if you want to try a more natural sleep aid, CBD oil may be the supplement you’ve been waiting for. As with any new treatment, consult your doctor before adding CBD oil to your sleep regimen as CBD can interact with certain prescription medications.

By putting time and effort into getting a good night’s sleep, you’re ensuring your brain and body will function at their highest and healthiest potential.

How to Take CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia

Before trying CBD oil as a sleep aid, consult your physician. If you’re looking for a secondary opinion or want more information on CBD oil as a health supplement, you can also speak to a cannabis doctor.

When you’re ready to start adding CBD oil to your sleep regimen, you’ll have to decide which form to take it in. You have a variety of options including vape, drops, tincture, capsules, and edibles. Of all these ingestion methods, capsules and edibles will yield the longest lasting effects. However, since they need to be digested by your body, capsules and edibles will also take the longest to kick in. Vaping, on the other hand, will elicit change almost immediately, but also wear off the soonest. You’ll have to experiment with the different administration methods and CBD brands to find what works best for you and your sleep routine. (Be sure to do your research and only purchase from CBD oil brands that produce high-quality products.)

When it comes to CBD oil dosage, it’s important to understand that there is no universal dose. Because no two people are the same, no two people will respond to CBD oil in the exact same way. So, start by taking the dosage recommended on your CBD oil product; if you’re having trouble finding a starting dosage, we recommend the following, having tested hundreds of CBD products:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg taken twice daily.

If you are not getting results from this amount, we recommend increasing the serving size by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find relief.

 

For more information about dosage, check out our general dosage advice here.

 

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