by Jacquelyn Nause
Dating back to 1500 B.C., historical texts indicate the use of cannabidiol for inducing sleep. Legalization has increased access to and research of CBD, with more scientists turning their attention to studying its medicinal effects. Keep reading for a review of what the literature says so far.
Sleeplessness in America
Millions of Americans report issues with sleeplessness or falling asleep. Many turn to over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, which often carry lengthy warning labels and side effects. Furthermore, they can be addictive and ineffective.
Enter cannabidiol. CBD acts on receptors throughout the body known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system affects many physiological processes, including the body’s hormone levels, immune system, sleep/wake cycles and pain receptors.
Effects of CBD on insomnia and sleeplessness may vary based on each person’s individual biology and tolerance. But for individuals looking for a possible treatment for sleep issues, CBD is a safe, non-habit-forming alternative to pharmaceuticals that shows great promise for those who struggle to get restful sleep.
CBD for Sleep
How does CBD ease sleeplessness? Let us count the ways.
1. Reduced Anxiety
A common cause of insomnia is anxiety and stress. CBD helps to regulate cortisol, a stress hormone, which has a significant impact on non-REM sleep cycles. A large case series review found that CBD is beneficial for anxiety-related disorders and an increase in sleep quality.
2. Pain Relief
For those who struggle with sleeplessness due to chronic or acute pain, CBD offers a welcome alternative to pharmaceutical pain relievers. CBD helps reduce pain-induced sleeplessness by working on the symptoms themselves rather than providing a sedative effect like many sleep-aids.
3. Relaxed Muscles
Studies show that CBD is a promising treatment for movement disorders, helping to reduce tremors and hypermotility in Parkinson’s disease patients. By reducing muscle tremors, CBD helps insomnia in patients with movement disorders like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
4. Pregnancy Symptoms
Many women struggle to get restful sleep during pregnancy due to a variety of factors: stress, pain, nausea and general pregnancy-induced insomnia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found no adverse health outcomes from CBD, though studies on pregnant women have been slim. Talk with your doctor before using CBD during pregnancy.
5. Elimination of Nightmares
Nightmares can have a negative impact on overall sleep quality for many people. For those who suffer from REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), marked by restlessness and increased nightmares, a good night’s rest is nothing but a dream (pun intended). Patients in a case series treated with CBD experienced fewer side effects of RBD, with no negative side effects.
6. Relief From Somnolence
CBD has a dual effect depending on the individual and time of day it is administered. This is because it regulates the body’s sleep/wake cycles, helping to promote wakefulness during daytime and relaxation at night. Insomnia, daytime sleepiness, or somnolence, can impact both daytime productivity and the ability to fall asleep at night. Administration of CBD during daylight hours helps promote alertness, leading to more restful sleep at night.
7. Relief from PTSD
Sleep disorders can be a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting in sleep disturbances and REM cycle issues. An increasing number of research studies indicate the effectiveness of using CBD oil for sleep issues related to PTSD. CBD helps to relieve anxiety related to PTSD, which reduces anxiety-induced REM sleep disturbances.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
Everybody is different, so experimentation is key in finding what works for you. CBD can have a variety of effects depending on dosage, product and time of day as well as individual body chemistry. Studies indicate that CBD is best used for short-term sleepiness, as the effects may diminish over time.
Products like tinctures and sublingual sprays offer immediate effects, while edibles and oils tend to release CBD more slowly, helping you stay asleep longer. Try CBD an hour before bedtime and take a night off from counting sheep.
Jacquelyn Nause is a contributing writer with specialties in cannabis, real estate and wellness. She enjoys traveling with her husband, being a doting mother to her two incredible kids and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest playground.