For most, a calming, relaxing and much-needed night of sound sleep comes naturally. But over 16 million adults in the UK suffer from sleepless nights and over a third of these complaint of insomnia. According to Aviva
, up to two-thirds of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep, and 23% only manage about five hours of sleep at night.
From these figures, it's easy to tell that sleep problems are deeper and affect more people than you would ever think. It's no surprise that the demand for sleep aids is ever-raising. In a bid to improve sleep quality and sleep patterns, some patients are turning to CBD as an alternative. But can CBD help with improving sleep?
What is CBD?
The popularity of CBD has been on the rise. With that popularity, misconceptions and myths have surrounded the compound. Before you jump on the CBD wagon, it’s best to understand what CBD is and why it’s creating such a buzz.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. This is the same plant that marijuana comes from. However, for CBD, there are special hemp strains that have a high yield of CBD and very low THC concentration. What's more, CBD doesn't have the same psychoactive effects that THC is known for.
CBD manufacturers also ensure the products contain only trace amounts of THC that are not enough to cause psychoactive effects.
CBD has many potential health and nutritional benefits, and those that have used it to improve sleep have returned positive reports. There are also studies that have been conducted which indicate that CBD, to some degree, could help improve sleep quality and patterns.
How Does CBD Work to Improve Sleep?
Intensive research over the last 25 years has led to the discovery of the existence of a biochemical communication system found in all mammals called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
This system comprises of receptors and enzymes found throughout the body and in the central nervous system, where sleep is regulated.
The ECS exists because the body produces endogenous cannabinoids that carry chemical messages around the body. Taking CBD has the same effect as these endogenous cannabinoids, and research has shown that a deficiency in endocannabinoids can result in various symptoms
, among them sleep difficulties.
Supplementing endocannabinoids using phytocannabinoids like CBD can restore balance in the body and restore your normal sleep pattern.
The signalling and chemical messages conveyed by CBD is also thought to have influenced the production and activity of various neurotransmitters and hormones in the body, among them cells that affect the sleep-wake cycle.
Another possible explanation for CBD's ability to impact sleep is the presence of a terpene called Myrcene found in high-CBD hemp strains. This terpene has been found to have sedative effects and is also found in high concentrations in a sleep-inducing herb called hops.
Can CBD Impact Sleep?
Based on the multiple studies, it appears that CBD might help improve the quality of sleep by increasing deep, restful sleep, reducing the amount it takes to fall asleep and minimising factors that could interrupt sleep.
CBD is also thought to help your body shift from REM rest into NREM sleep, which is the deeper sleep faster.
Other than directly impacting sleep, CBD might also help improve the underlying factors that could impact sleep, like post-traumatic stress and diseases like Parkinson's, resulting in a better overall experience for the patient.
Other Sleep Conditions that CBD Might be Able to Help With
found that a dose of 160mg of CBD per day in patients with insomnia increased the total amount of sleep while reducing the number of times the patient woke up during the night. While other studies have found that CBD can potentially decrease the amount it takes to fall asleep.
The results of these studies are consistent with the fact that one of the properties that CBD users report is a calming and relaxed feeling, which could contribute to sleep.
Snoring is a factor that can impact the quality of sleep to the snorer and to those that share a bed with them. If the snoring is severe enough, it can impact the breathing and oxygenation of the brain leading to further complications.
Endocannabinoids have been found to help protect the brain from symptoms that are related to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which is a condition that causes abnormal breathing during sleep.
Based on animal models, researchers believe the cannabinoid system might help to suppress some of the symptoms of OSA, which are modulated by serotonin receptors. This can help reduce apnea occurrences during the night.
How to Take CBD to Improve Sleep
If you've decided to give CBD a try in improving your sleep quality, there are several things you should keep in mind when taking CBD that will help you improve your experience and enhance the effects of CBD in improving sleep.
CBD products are made from one of three forms of CBD. If you’re using CBD to improve sleep, choosing the right form of CBD products to purchase can go a long way in having a positive effect.
- Full-spectrum CBD – This is the most potent form of CBD. It contains all the chemical compounds found in the hemp plant, including CBD, THC, terpenes and other cannabinoids. Even in full-spectrum CBD products, the concentration of THC is restricted to the accepted maximum of 0.2%, so you can't get high. Full-spectrum CBD products have the most powerful effects.
- Broad-spectrum CBD – For CBD users that are sceptical about using products that contain THC but still want to enjoy the benefits of other terpenes found in the hemp plant, broad-spectrum CBD products are the best option. Broad-spectrum CBD products don’t contain THC but contain the other cannabinoids and all the terpenes.
- CBD isolate – CBD isolate is for CBD users that just want the CBD and nothing more. CBD isolate is stripped of all the other cannabinoids, terpenes and THC. It only contains CBD. Although CBD isolate products are still potent, their effects can’t be compared to those of full or broad-spectrum CBD products.
Types of CBD products for Sleep
Once you settle on the form of CBD products you want to try to improve sleep, the next step in learning how to use CBD for sleep is to choose the types of products. Ideally, there are tens of CBD products on the market and we have all of them at CBD Oil UK. But each product is designed to deliver CBD for specific conditions.
The best CBD products to improve sleep include:
- CBD tinctures – Tinctures are the best CBD product for sleep. They contain CBD mixed with a carrier oil like palm or coconut oil and packaged in a small bottle with a dropper. Tinctures have a high concentration of CBD and should be taken sublingually. When using a tincture, place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and hold it there for a few minutes for it to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the underlying capillaries.
- CBD Capsules – Despite tinctures being the best way to take CBD oil for sleep, most CBD users prefer to take CBD capsules. This is because CBD tinctures don't mask the bitter and unpleasant taste of CBD, but capsules do, making them a more desirable option. Capsules are also easier to dose and swallow.
Other types of CBD products that you can try out to improve sleep include CBD vape oils and vape additives, CBD edibles like gummies and chocolate, as well as topical CBD products like salves, balms and creams. If one product doesn’t work for you, you can try another.
How Much CBD Should I Take for Better Sleep?
There’s no set amount of CBD to take for better sleep. The amount of CBD to take differs depending on various factors, among them the severity of the symptoms, your body weight as well as your metabolic rate.
Because of the varying factors, the ideal dose of CBD depends on the individual. To find the sweet spot for you, start by taking a small dose of about 25mg a day for some time and observe the results. Based on how your body responds, you can increase the dose.
For sleep, it's best to take your CBD at least an hour or two before bedtime. This allows enough time for the CBD to be absorbed into the body and start working.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects?
It's not common for CBD users to experience side effects. However, a few users, mostly those that are new to CBD, have reported some side effects, including:
- Stomach upsets
- Skin rash (in the case of topical CBD products)
Most of these side effects occur when you take too much CBD at once. It’s advisable to always start with a low dose then work your way up as you monitor how your body responds.
Who Shouldn’t Take CBD?
Most people respond reasonably well to CBD. However, there are a few people that should practice extra caution before taking CBD for sleep, like children, pregnant mothers and patients with chronic conditions. Before deciding to take CBD, it's highly recommended to consult with a doctor more so if you have any of the mentioned instances apply to you.