Desperate to say good night to insomnia?
In a world that is always switched on and experiencing major changes, it’s no surprise that compromised sleep and insomnia are becoming more prevalent. A full 8 hours of sleep is seen as a luxury - and yet as something we spend a third of our lives doing it is thought to be the essence of our wellbeing.
Good sleep improves our productivity, mood, mental health, cognitive performance and also boosts our immune system – which is very important during this time where we need to be in good health and take care of ourselves. Allowing your body to have the right amount of rest is essential, but why is that so hard?
Well, it can feel close to impossible when whirling thoughts are plaguing your brain, as one of the main causes of insomnia and sleep issues relate to the stress and anxiety we experience in our day-to-day lives.
However, it can also be a result of chronic pain, the medications we take, caffeine and poor diet, external environmental factors such as the bright light from our mobile or laptop devices, loud noises like traffic and snoring partners... the list is endless.
So how can cannabidiol (CBD) oil help you have a good night’s rest so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle… life?
What the science says...
Although there is a lot more research to be done around CBD and sleep, there are a few studies available that have been conducted which seemingly affirm that it does work - as does endless anecdotal evidence from soundly sleeping cannabis users.
There is not very much known or understood about how exactly CBD works to improve sleep, but it is generally thought to be that it helps by treating the root causes of insomnia and sleep disruption.
Stress very often goes hand in hand with sleep deprivation, and so the anti-anxiety properties of CBD are thought to be behind its apparent potential to promote a greater sense of calm. Helping to relax tension in the body and mind will in turn provide a better night’s rest.
A 2019 study set out to explore the effect of administering CBD to a group of 72 patients with primary concerns of anxiety or poor sleep. Their sleep and anxiety was tracked every month with results that speak for themselves. 78% of the patients indicating significantly decreased anxiety scores and 67% experiencing vastly improved sleep.
There has also been a lot of research conducted on how CBD can be used to relieve chronic pain, due to its strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Which is helpful when trying to get some solid shut eye, as understandably discomfort can be the cause of a severely disrupted sleep cycle.
This is also great news considering the effects of popular pharmaceutical pain and sleep medications, which can have numerous negative side effects on your body - including constipation, diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, daytime drowsiness, heartburn and more.
CBD, on the other hand, is a natural remedy and thus has limited to no side effects.
Your Circadian Rhythm
We all have a hardwired biological clock that determines when we sleep and when we wake, and it is calibrated by the presence and absence of light.
For most of us, this is what allows us to sleep at night and be wakeful during the day. In the brain, the hypothalamus is the command centre for your sleep/wake cycle - or what is otherwise known as our circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm works by way of signals. When it's dark outside your eyes send a signal to your brain that it is night time, which in turn causes your brain to signal your body to produce melatonin.
This cycle is reversed when the sun comes up and it's time to wake up. And when it is exposed to light, your body prepares to raise its temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Your brain signals your body to stop producing melatonin and to release hormones like cortisol instead.
The endocannabinoid system works to restore homeostasis (balance) in the body and has been shown to directly influence hormones such as cortisol. So it stands to reason that this might also play a part in why a daily dose of CBD can be useful in helping to reset your system, and restore any disruption in your sleep cycle.
Dosage When Using CBD for Sleep
Something that is important to keep in mind generally, but particularly when it comes to using CBD for sleep troubles, is that everybody's individual biochemistry is different.
So in the same way that some people drink coffee and then can't sleep, some people can take CBD drops right before bed and immediately head to the Land of Nod, others may find their endocannabinoid system becomes overstimulated and that taking CBD drops that late at night keeps them wide awake.
In the latter case it is best to try administering your dose at once or in intervals throughout the day, up until about 6pm. This is thought to then ease the anxiety and tension that might later cause sleep problems, so that the body and mind are relaxed by the time you put head to pillow.
With CBD and sleep it is especially true that you will just need to experiment and find a dosage time and amount that is right for you as an individual.
A different kind of entourage effect...?
Of course, there are many other things that can and should be done in conjunction with CBD consumption to help you get a solid night’s sleep, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet and an established routine (read our article on Creating a Bedtime routine here).
Perhaps just before closing your eyes you might have a warm bath, light some candles, meditate, or even listen to some soothing tunes. Together with the help of CBD, these things should help you relax for a night of quality sleep - the best and most essential form of self-care.
Find out what works for you - whatever that may be - and go forth into a peaceful rest.