It’s past midnight. You’re wide awake and hoping—pleading—for one good night’s sleep. Instead, you toss and turn only to doze off toward morning, not long before the alarm goes off. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve tried all the sleep hygiene tricks, regular exercise, no caffeine after a certain time of day, meditation, evening yoga—there’s a list—but to no avail.
Depending on which poll you read, anywhere from one-in-three to one-in-five adults don’t get enough sleep. The reasons vary, but regardless of whether it’s sleep apnea, insomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep eludes many.
So what can you do? Well, there are over-the-counter sleep aids. Most of which have negative and even dangerous side effects. That’s where CBD can come in.
CBD and sleep
For thousands of years, people have turned to a natural sleep aid: cannabidiol (CBD). In fact, a reference to using it to induce sleep has been found in a 1200 A.D. Chinese medical text. More recently Joseph Maroon, M.D., a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who has researched the effect of cannabis on the brain, has this to say. “CBD has properties that could help some people sleep better,” he says. “Most notably, it appears to ease anxiety and pain, both of which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep.”
As more studies on sleep and CBD are being conducted, there is evidence that suggests, it may be a safer alternative to help people sleep.
How does CBD help you sleep?
As I’ve noted before in this blog, CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the body to help maintain balance. It also works with proteins and other chemicals in the brain to help change the activity of neurotransmitters and hormones to reestablish normal sleep by balancing your sleep/wake pattern.
It works like this. Anxiety is often a cause of sleep problems. CBD is known to help calm anxiety, which can help improve sleep quality. Improved sleep quality leads to sleeping longer and more restfully. CBD can also help relieve pain, another sleep inhibitor. In cases of daytime sleepiness, CBD can stimulate alertness to help keep daytime performance at higher levels.
But none of what you’ve just read means that CBD will help everyone. It isn’t a silver bullet. So, if you’re thinking about using CBD to improve your sleep, here’s what you need to know.
CBD can be used in several forms—vapes, edibles, oils—and you’ll want to experiment to find out what works best for you. Oil seems to be a popular form because it gets where it needs to go relatively quickly and acts almost like a timed-release product to help you sleep longer. Dosing hasn’t been standardized, so here again, you’ll need to experiment. In order to be most effective, you’d hold the CBD oil under your tongue for 30 seconds to a minute. There is a sublingual vein under your tongue that absorbs the CBD and bypasses the digestive system. On the other hand, edibles that do pass through the digestive system take longer to act, but could help you stay asleep longer as well because it also has a time release behavior.
The bonus here is the lack of side effects, which means if you try it and it doesn’t work—no harm, no foul. Don’t try it just once and then give up. Like anything, finding the right balance takes a little time. A good night’s sleep could be on your horizon. Plus, one day soon, researchers will be cut loose on their ability to study CBD and all of its medicinal properties, which will make dosing much easier.