The Effects of CBD on Sleep
Sleep is the foundation of good health. It gives our bodies and minds the opportunity to repair and reset themselves to get ready for a new day. But the Centers for Disease Control (2012) report that millions of Americans struggle to get enough sleep, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke.
Research shows that CBD can play an important role in helping people get the sleep they need.
WHAT IS CBD AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
CBD – cannabidiol – is a unique compound found in the flowers of the Cannabis plant. (The best CBD products are all made from Hemp plants that don’t contain THC, the compound in Marijuana that makes people feel “high.”) It has been shown to decrease pain, inflammation, and anxiety ( Zuardi 2008) – some of the primary things that disrupt sleep!
The Cannabis plant has a unique relationship with the human body – it produces chemicals that interact with a special system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system that helps us regulate our hormones, our neurotransmitters, and our immune systems. CBD acts on a set of chemical receptors throughout our bodies (known as the CB-2) receptors to soothe inflammation and create calm and relaxation without slowing down our ability to think and respond clearly to what’s happening in the world around us.
Because the endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in our body’s regulation of stress (Gorzalka 2011, Senst and Bains 2014), using CBD to help balance and support this system can help mind and body be well prepared for sleep.
Instead of sedating the brain, the way pharmaceutical sleeping pills do, CBD gently but effectively helps the body overcome obstacles to healthy sleep. This amazing molecule:
- Reduces anxiety that can make you restless at bedtime
- Brings down the pain and inflammation that can make you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep
- Brings down the intensity of nightmares
- Helps you avoid tossing and turning while you dream
- Encourages deep sleep at night and healthy alertness during the day
CALMING THE MIND
Do you lie awake at night unable to put the worries of your day to rest? Anxiety often stands in the way of a good night’s sleep, and CBD can help.
As far back as the 1970’s, studies have consistently shown that CBD soothes anxiety. CBD helped healthy volunteers maintain their cool when asked to perform stressful tasks. (Zuardi 2008.) Animal studies show that CBD helps animals sleep better after experiencing stressful situations (Hsiao 2011) Human studies and case reports suggest the same thing.
In one instance, a psychiatrist and a naturopath working with a child who had a very hard time falling asleep began giving her CBD oil at bedtime. She began falling asleep more easily, and within a few months was able to consistently fall asleep in her own bed. Her grandmother told her doctors:
“My granddaughter’s behaviors are definitely better being on the CBD. Her anxiety is not gone, but it is not as intense and she is much easier to be around. She now sleeps in her own room most of the time, which has never happened before.” (Shannon and Ophila-Lehman 2016).
Pharmaceuticals can help a lot of people with anxiety symptoms that get in the way of sleep – but that can come at a cost, slowing down the brain and making people feel foggy. CBD acts with the body’s own mechanisms of managing stress, calming the mind without slowing down its ability to respond to the demands of daily life.
SOOTHING THE BODY
Physical pain can make it very hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, and CBD can be a great help here too.
A lot of chronic pain is the result of inflammation – the body’s immune system working a little bit too well. CBD is well known for its ability to soothe inflammation (Zuardi 2008) without interfering with the body’s ability to repair injuries and fight off disease.
CBD also acts directly on our body’s pain receptors, changing our perception of pain so it doesn’t feel so intense. ( Shannon and Ophila-Lehman 2016) This compound is especially remarkable because it is able to diminish nerve pain without reducing the function of the nervous system. (Ward 2014)
It likely comes as no surprise that pain disrupts sleep (Keskinbag and Karaaziz 2017) and lack of sleep makes pain worse. (Afoulalu 2018)
Whether your pain is acute or chronic, CBD can make it much easier for you to get a good night’s sleep – which in turn will help your body heal the injuries that are causing the pain.
A lot of people don’t realize the role dreaming plays in our health – for better or for worse,.
Dreaming allows us to process what we have experienced during the day, improving learning and memory and helping us better manage our emotions in our waking lives. Dreaming takes place during a phase of sleep known as REM – Rapid Eye Movement sleep – when our muscles are asleep and the parts of our brains associated with learning are very active. (Shriver Institute 2016)
But when dreams get too intense, they can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. CBD can be a great help here.
Have you ever tossed and turned and flailed in the midst of a vivid dream? This happens because the body loses the muscle rigidity normally associated with REM sleep. A study of people with Parkinson's Disease suffering from this kind of sleep disruption found that CBD helped them stay still while dreaming, resulting in better sleep with no reported side effects. (Chagas 2014)
For people who have experienced trauma, vivid nightmares can get in the way of healthy sleep. Animal studies suggest that CBD can help the body fall into a deeper sleep that won’t be as easily disrupted by bad dreams (Hsiao 2011) and doctors report similar results with people. (Shannon and Ophila-Lehman 2016).
SLEEP SOUNDLY AT NIGHT, BE ALERT BY DAY
Healthy sleep depends on our body finding healthy rhythms of restfulness at night and wakefulness in the day.
Studies show that CBD helps improve both the quality and the quantity of sleep – but it can also help you be more alert when you are awake. Our endocannabinoid system regulates our sleep rhythms, and CBD can help gently nudge it in the right direction. Higher doses of CBD given at night help people sleep deeply through the night. Low doses given during the day help people feel more awake. (Babson 2017)
Both the dosage (Babson 2017) and the time of day at which CBD is taken (Pava 2016) seem to influence whether CBD lulls you to sleep or wakes you up. This points to an effective strategy to use CBD to find and maintain a good sleep cycle:
If you feel your energy dip during the day, take some of our Maintain formula to help you feel more alert.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, take some of our Max formula just before bed – and keep it by your bedside to help you drift back into sweet dreams if you wake in the night.
DEEP SLEEP AND VIBRANT HEALTH
You need and deserve a good night’s sleep to help you recover from the trials and the tribulations of the day and prepare you for the next day’s adventure. CBD just might help your body and mind find the deep rest and restoration you need.