CBD is making waves across the UK for its health and wellness supporting benefits. But, perhaps the one reason that provides the highest cause for celebration are reports that CBD can help with sleep. Just think about it for a moment – imagine going to bed and falling asleep without tossing and turning. Imagine hours of deep uninterrupted sleep, and no 4 am wake-ups when your body is exhausted, but you can’t switch off your brain…
Before we get into how CBD can help, let’s take a quick look at the conditions which contribute to insomnia and how it is affecting those living in the UK.
What are the most common causes of insomnia and other sleep disorders?
Insomnia and sleep disorders are a huge public health problem in the UK. As many as a third of the population are severely sleep-deprived (possibly suffering from chronic insomnia) which has an impact on your health and wellness. In addition, 16 million adults, a massive two-thirds of the population, suffer from disrupted sleep.
According to the Mayo Clinic, factors that can impact sleep quality include:
- Mental health issues, including anxiety, PTSD and depression
- Medication, which can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms
- Physical conditions, including pain, inflammation and restless leg syndrome
- Caffeine, especially when consumed late afternoon or in the evening
- Environmental factors, including loud noises, light pollution or an uncomfortable bed
Sleeplessness causes millions of people to turn to over-the-counter sleep medication or prescription sleeping aids for relief, but these can have a further negative impact on your quality of life, especially when taken over an extended period of time. With more people seeking out natural alternatives, CBD is the ideal solution as it offers a natural, safe, non-addictive way to address your sleep disorder.
How does CBD work?
CBD interacts with receptors throughout your body in the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining balance in the body (homeostasis). It affects a number of physiological processes linked to sleep, including your immune system, your hormone levels, pain receptors and sleep/wake cycles.
In addition to offering a number of health benefits, such as treating epilepsy and providing relief for chronic pain, there is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that it can help you get a good night’s sleep.
How can CBD help with insomnia?
When you’ve addressed the environmental factors (and reduced your afternoon caffeine intake), you can turn your attention to addressing some of the other underlying factors, and that’s where CBD comes in.
Reviews that examine the way CBD oil affects people living with insomnia show positive outcomes are confirmed by leading medical professionals such as Peter Grinspoon, M.D., professor at Harvard Medical School. In a blog post published by Grinspoon, he said that “for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.”
This perspective has been supported by a peer-reviewed study in The Permanente Journal that monitored sleep patterns of patients over a period of three months while taking CBD. The researchers found, on average, that the sleep quality of the patients improved over time. This may mean that continued CBD consumption offers long-term relief for those with chronic insomnia. The study concluded that “in this evaluation, CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medication”, with 67% of patients experiencing an improvement in sleep at the end of the first month, and 56% reporting an improvement after the second month when compared with the first month.
CBD Oil for Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress are often at the root of a sleep disorder. CBD is linked to regulating the stress hormone cortisol, which is essential for non-REM sleep cycles. A case study review of the available literature has shown that CBD is helpful for disorders related to anxiety and increases sleep quality.
CBD for Physical Conditions
REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is another condition that CBD can help address. Characterised by nightmares and restlessness, RBD can be safely treated with CBD. According to one study, patients treated with CBD experienced a marked increase in sleep quality. While the exact cause of the disorder is unknown, it offers occurs in association with a degenerative neurological condition (such as Parkinson’s Disease), the symptoms of which may also be treated with CBD.
CBD Oil for Pain and Inflammation
For people with painful conditions, it can be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep. CBD can help reduce sleeplessness caused by pain as it addresses the underlying symptoms, rather than working as a sedative. CBD can be used for chronic pain and pain that is difficult-to-treat such as headaches, migraines, multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
What is the best approach to using CBD to reduce insomnia?
While the best dosage and method will vary from person to person depending on factors such as your sleep condition, your metabolism and your weight; many people start with taking a lower dose of CBD an hour or two before bed.
You can then gradually increase the amount until you find a dose that works for you. It is important to keep in mind that much of the research points to the cumulative effect of CBD where you might not notice an immediate difference and, for many, it can take a month to see any changes to your sleep quality.
It is often helpful to track your sleep to see what effect CBD is having on your sleep. Things to measure include:
- How long it takes you to fall asleep
- How many times you wake up in the night, an
- How long you sleep for
Either a journal or a sleep app can help you identify a pattern and notice how your CBD dosage affects your sleep quality and quantity.
Whether you have insomnia, struggle with disrupted sleep or would categorise yourself as experiencing poor quality sleep, CBD is here to help turn things around. If you live in the UK, there’s a good chance that you fall into the 67% of the population that is already struggling to go to sleep and stay asleep.
CBD can help relieve the symptoms that may be causing your sleeplessness, support your other health and wellness goals at the same time and, best of all, it’s a safe, non-toxic, non-addictive solution that you can take long-term.