Could CBD be the key to not only helping you perform better during the day but also unlocking a better night’s sleep?
As the hemp and cannabis movement pushes forward, there has been a debate of sorts on which cannabinoid wins out in providing people a better sleep: THC or CBD. When it comes to maintaining your health , the research and people’s experiences are showing these two cannabinoids are currently standing head to head, yet CBD may be coming out on top.
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most basic things our bodies need for our overall health and well-being, and yet it is often the last thing on our priority list. The American Sleep Association estimates between 40 and 70 million adults in the US struggle to get enough sleep as a result of a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea. Many of our sleep problems, however, are brushed off and ignored because of what we attribute our lack of sleep to, such as stress and anxiety, body aches and hormone fluctuations.
Typically, adults require at least 7 hours of sleep in every 24-hour period. If we are getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night, we put ourselves at risk of sleep deprivation. In our busy world made up of ever-demanding lifestyles and a constant connection to digital technology, sleep deprivation is worn almost like a badge of honor.
In our social circles, it’s common to hear family, friends, and colleagues comment on “how tired” they are, “how busy” they are and how “burned out” they feel. And although this type of martyrdom may boost our egos and feelings of worth in the short term, it could have long-standing and devastating effects on our overall health and well-being in the long run.
Poor sleep habits are directly linked to both the development and management of other chronic health conditions, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. In our every-day lives, poor sleep habits can affect our ability to react, learn new things, coordinate our bodies, regulate our moods and retain information. In fact, living in a haze of constant sleepiness puts us at a significantly greater risk of on-the-job or motor vehicle accidents. Being well-rested is necessary for our physical, emotional and cognitive health.
Since sleep is such a vital crux in our overall well-being, many people are taking their “sleep hygiene” into their own hands by practicing things like meditation, sleep journaling, or physical exercise. When self-administered strategies don’t work, the medical community is often turned to for further help: from participating in sleep studies to taking over-the-counter and prescription medications to help us doze off easier at night, we’re all on the hunt for a better night’s rest.
But, as it turns out, the answers to the never-ending quest for better rest may lay within our own bodies’ endocannabinoid systems.
Sleep and the Endocannabinoid System
Identified and coined by Dr. Mechoulam in the early ’90s, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a critical and complex system that aids in our body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. Our individualized and complex endocannabinoid systems regulate a wide variety of functions in our bodies, from our immunity and metabolism to, you guessed it…sleep!
Simply put, the ECS is in constant motion, acting as a “master conductor” of sorts, by sending chemical messages all over our bodies and triggering biological responses that are crucial to our overall health and well-being.
Our ECS is not just directly connected to how we experience sleep but is also linked to many other aspects of our bodies that may impact our sleep, like the regulation of our emotions and moods, reproductive systems, body temperature, pain, inflammation, and digestion.
As one of the largest systems in the human body, the ECS is made up of a huge number of CB1 and CB2 receptors, that work with cannabinoids. Our bodies naturally produce endogenous cannabinoids, but our ECS can also be influenced by exogenous (external) or phyto (plant-based) cannabinoids as well. One of the sources of external cannabinoids known to interact with the ECS is the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis contains over a hundred different cannabinoids, each of which interacts with our ECS in unique ways.
Exploring Cannabis for Sleep
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is perhaps the most commonly known cannabinoid, which is what produces the psychoactive or intoxicating ‘high’ felt from consuming cannabis. THC has also been what’s most commonly used in the cannabis movement as a solution for sleep.
People have experienced and continue to experience immediate relief from sleep struggles by using THC, but some studies are suggesting that despite its ability to put folks into a solid slumber, continual use of THC for sleep could impair sleep quality in the long-term.
It wasn’t until the last decade that CBD came on the radar and is now looked at as a powerful, non-intoxicating alternative (and complement) to THC.
CBD (or cannabidiol) is one of the major cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. Growing in popularity in the health and wellness industry, many cannabis and hemp brands are isolating and extracting CBD for a wide variety of therapeutic purposes since it doesn’t produce the ‘high’ that many people associate with THC.
Because CBD is a close relative to THC, which on its own can produce sedative effects, many people are wondering “Does CBD oil make me sleepy?”
Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
People are using CBD regularly to support common problems with metabolism, pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and temperature regulation. Through its interaction with both our CB1 and CB2 receptors, research and experiences are showing that we’re just beginning to unlock the potential of this plant-based molecule.
Many people are taking CBD during the day, finding it helps to improve symptoms of chronic pain, mood disorders and mental health conditions with great success. Because CBD is often associated with sleep, if you’re using it in the day, optimal dosing becomes crucial.(LINK TO DOSING ARTICLE) In small doses, CBD stimulates the mind in a similar fashion to your morning cup of coffee. People have reported enhanced clarity, focus, and motivation using CBD in this way. In addition, some of CBD’s great potential lies in its benefits of promoting good, restful sleep.
Using CBD for Better Sleep
Despite the common uplifting daytime effects, CBD used in higher doses goes hand in hand with sleep. While there is still much research still to be done, there is great reason to believe that CBD, when taken in the right doses, at the right time, and through the right methods, could be championed as a useful tool to improve sleep regiment.
Before diving into the question, “Can I take CBD oil for sleep?” it may be helpful to consider some of the factors of why you may not be sleeping well, as your answer may impact what method of consumption could work best for you.
- Are your sleep problems chronic?
- Are your sleep problems linked to your body or your mind?
- Are your thoughts keeping you up at night?
Unlocking the Potential of CBD
Lucky for those who are exploring CBD for sleep, there are many helpful products on the market that are designed to help you get rest.
Exploring CBD gummies or softgels that contain Melatonin could help to quiet your mind as you wind down in the evening. If your experiences of stress, anxiety and/or depression are more chronic, studies have shown that taking regular doses of CBD could help regulate emotions and thoughts, aiding in easier and more natural sleep. Many people experience tremendous relief and stability through consuming CBD tinctures, as they are quick and easy to absorb and allow you to personalize your dosage to your own body’s needs.
Is physical discomfort keeping you up at night? When our bodies are aching, it can be hard to get comfortable enough for good quality sleep. Whether you’re sore from physical exertion or more chronic pain conditions like arthritis, the therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties of CBD could be a great source of relief. Many people have also had great success using topical pain relief ointments rubbed directly onto their sources of pain before bed to ease into slumber.
Since our ECS affects the body’s ability to regulate temperatures, there’s also great possibility for addressing some of the discomforts experienced in menopause that can disrupt sleep. Some studies are even suggesting that CBD could help to reset circadian rhythms and alleviate physical discomfort in our bodies as they age. We’re truly only just discovering this compound’s potential!
Putting ‘Exhaustion’ to Bed
It’s time we prioritize sleep, in both the amount and quality we get each night. Let’s stop accepting exhaustion as a new “normal” or as some kind of indicator of our productivity.
Our bodies are complex, but solutions to better sleep needn’t be. While much research still needs to be done, many studies are pointing to the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in getting better sleep. CBD has great potential to increase our quality of sleep and decrease sleep disturbances. And in smaller doses, it can be taken during the day without feeling too sleepy, when it can act as a stimulant.
With such a wide array of CBD products available these days, it may be worthwhile to try CBD oil for sleep while unlocking the true potential of your body’s endocannabinoid system.