You’re probably reading this because someone has mentioned the benefits of using CBD, this could be for general well-being, pain management or to enhance sporting performance. But you’re a little sceptical, worrying about any potential side effects. Can CBD cause insomnia? Could be one and rightly so. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good sleep and the fear so losing out is enough to give anyone nightmares. So let’s get started….but first a little insight into CBD.
CBD — short for cannabidiol — is a natural substance derived from hemp plants, a variety of cannabis. But unlike THC, another cannabis compound, CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t produce a cerebral high. As a result, this hemp-derived compound is gaining popularity thanks to its potential health benefits, including relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation, and sleep problems.
But what about side effects? Can CBD oil cause insomnia? Like any supplement, CBD can affect people differently and at different doses. However, research suggests that CBD usually has a calming effect and can help reduce insomnia and sleep disruptions.
So, should you add CBD oil to your nightly routine and reap the benefits? Continue reading to find out. But first, let’s explore the phenomenon of sleep and why it’s critical for health.
Can CBD cause insomnia?
Generally, CBD doesn’t cause insomnia. Typically, it helps people sleep rather than impeding sleep. However, CBD is biphasic, meaning it can have opposite effects depending on the dose. Furthermore, the optimal dose differs between people and their reason for using the supplement.
So can CBD oil cause insomnia? Yes, in small doses, it may be wake-promoting. Doses of around 15 mg or less may boost energy and stop you from feeling tired.
Small CBD doses may increase protein synthesis in parts of the brain involved in keeping you awake. And as a result, you may have difficulty falling asleep. But these effects are easily reversed by taking a larger dose.
In simple terms, taking small amounts of CBD could have the opposite of the intended effect.
Why you need a good night’s sleep
Most people know what it feels like to be sleep deprived. Whether it’s from work stress, a new baby, family obligations, or simply staying up too late, everyone lacks sleep at some point.
But why do you need enough sleep? Sleep is a naturally occurring state of rest that allows our bodies and minds to recover from the day’s activities.
During sleep, our brains consolidate memories and perform repair and maintenance tasks. This is why a good night’s sleep is essential for mental well-being, learning, and focusing. Without enough sleep, you’re more likely to experience accidents, low mood, and trouble concentrating. You’re also predisposed to making poor decisions, becoming irritable, and experiencing memory problems.
Sleep is also critical for your physical health. When you don’t get enough sleep, it takes a toll. You’re more likely to become sick as lack of sleep negatively affects the immune system. Experts also link sleep deprivation to several chronic health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
What is sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is nothing to do with cleanliness. Rather, it’s a set of habits and practices that promote good sleep.
If you’re struggling with sleep, here are some steps to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule — Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day helps your body regulate its natural sleep rhythm.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine — A soothing bedtime routine can signal to your body that it’s time to wind down for the night. For example, you could try reading, taking a bath, or stretching.
- Make your sleeping environment comfortable — A cool, clean, dark, and quiet bedroom is conducive to sleep.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption — These substances can disrupt sleep. Caffeine should be avoided in the late afternoon and evening. Any alcoholic drinks should be consumed in moderation and not close to bedtime.
- Avoid using electronic devices in bed — The blue light from electronic screens can suppress melatonin. This is the sleep hormone that makes you feel drowsy.
- Get regular exercise during the day — Exercise can improve sleep by helping regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Physical exertion also makes you feel more tired.
Although these steps may help, you may still struggle to get a good night’s rest. Adding CBD oil to your sleep routine may be the missing piece of the relaxation puzzle.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of over 150 cannabinoids found in hemp plants, a variety of cannabis. Humans have cultivated cannabis since at least 4,000 B.C. Over time, strains were developed according to how the plant was used.
Hemp is a cannabis plant with high CBD and low THC levels. Also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, this cannabinoid produces the cerebral high commonly associated with cannabis use. Conversely, marijuana is a cannabis plant with high THC and low CBD levels.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from hemp plants and diluting it with a carrier oil, such as MCT oil or hempseed oil.
How does CBD work?
CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a cell signalling network of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes throughout the body.
The body naturally produces endocannabinoids. These molecules bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to maintain homeostasis — or balance. The primary receptors of the ECS are cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and CB2. CB1 receptors exist mainly in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the periphery — especially in the immune system.
The ECS regulates many critical functions, including mood, sleep, memory, and appetite, to keep the body processes in perfect harmony. In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint a bodily function that doesn’t involve the ECS.
CBD interacts with the receptors of the ECS to maintain perfect balance and support health and well-being. And for people who have trouble sleeping, this interaction may lead to improved sleep quality.
Does CBD help with sleep?
Numerous studies have investigated the potential of CBD to improve sleep. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil helps many people get a better night’s sleep.
An early 2012 crossover study compared CBD at three doses with placebo paired with nitrazepam, a potent hypnotic drug belonging to the benzodiazepine class. Doctors use it for short-term relief from severe anxiety and insomnia because of its powerful sedative properties.
Among the 15 participants with insomnia, high-dose CBD at 160 milligrams (mg) increased sleep duration significantly.
CBD may help relieve insomnia through effects on cortisol, the primary stress hormone. For most people, cortisol levels typically peak in the morning, but in those with insomnia, levels are highest at night. These high nighttime levels are associated with increased awakenings during the night.
An older study from 1993 looked at the effect of CBD on plasma prolactin, growth hormone, and cortisol in 11 volunteers. The study participants received either a placebo or 300 or 600 mg of CBD. The researchers found that cortisol levels decreased significantly when participants took 300 or 600 mg of CBD oil, and it caused sedative effects.
People may experience sleeping problems because of traumatic events and stress. This was the focus of a 2016 case study that highlighted the experience of a 10-year-old girl with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers noted that pharmaceutical medications were only helpful to a certain extent and did not provide long-lasting relief. Furthermore, there were significant side effects.
However, the girl experienced reduced sleep disturbances and anxiety levels with an initial dose of 25 mg of CBD oil. Her scores on the sleep and anxiety scale consistently and steadily reduced during the five-month study period. Ultimately, she could sleep through most nights in her own room and was less anxious at school and home.
More recent research from 2019 looked at the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep. The final sample of participants consisted of 72 adults with documented anxiety or sleep disorders.
Participants were given CBD in doses ranging from 25 to 175 mg. The researchers noted that they tolerated the CBD well and experienced few side effects. Although almost 80% reported reduced anxiety during the first 2 months of using CBD, the effects on sleep were less clear.
The sleep scores improved during the first month in around 67% of participants, but they fluctuated over time. The researchers concluded that CBD was useful in helping sleep patterns in the short term, but the effect may not be sustained in some people.
It seems that CBD affects not only sleep quality but sleep cycle. For example, in a 2020 review, authors noted that high doses of CBD increase the total percentage of sleep in animal models. It also appears to increase rapid eye movement (REM) sleep latency or, in other words, how quickly you fall asleep.
Overall, it seems that the sedative effects of CBD are dose-dependent. Low doses of CBD may be more stimulating, while higher doses are more sedating.
How to take CBD for sleep
There is no recommended standard daily dose of CBD. Also, your optimal dose may depend on various factors, including:
- Overall health
- Dosing method
- Reason for taking CBD
Generally, when using CBD, it’s best to start low and gradually increase the dose until you experience the desired effect.
If you need help falling asleep, try taking CBD around 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Remember that it takes time for your body to absorb CBD before noticing any effects.
There are many ways to take CBD. But one of the most relaxing is our Harmony Hemp Tea. We’ve created this therapeutic blend of CBD, hemp seed oil, chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm, and St. John’s wort to ease anxiety and promote sleep.
After you’ve enjoyed a calming cuppa, you can also use CBD oil to increase your total CBD dose. Simply place a couple of drops under the tongue and hold them there for around a minute before swallowing. The CBD molecules pass through the oral mucosa and enter the bloodstream directly for rapid effects.
You’ll find Harmony Hemp tea and 10% CBD oil (1000 mg) in our Insomnia Support CBD Starter Kit. It’s the ideal medium-strength combination to ease you into a restful night’s sleep.
Alternatively, our Sleep Well CBD Starter Kit offers a lower strength 5% CBD oil (500 mg) paired with our Natural Hemp Tea. The tea has a delicious earthy aroma and mildly sweetness to help you relax. It’s ideal for anyone needing supportive but mild CBD.
Our Calm CBD Bundle is another way to harness the natural soothing powers of CBD. It includes our 5% CBD oil (1000 mg) and our popular Tranquillity Hemp Tea. This pairing makes it easy to find a sense of calm and bliss. The delicious CBD tea with hints of ginger, marigold, and lime blossom is perfect for when you need to de-stress and unwind.
Partnering your tea with a dose of CBD oil helps you reach perfect relaxation quickly and easily as you prepare to drift off to sleep.
The tranquil take-home
So can CBD oil cause insomnia? Yes, there’s a small chance that it may in some people, but it typically has the opposite effect. This is because CBD is biphasic, meaning that low doses may be stimulating while higher doses are more sedating.
You should review your sleep routine if you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sticking to a regular sleep schedule and creating a restful sleeping environment are important. Adding CBD to your nighttime routine may provide the extra sleep support that you need.
Why not try a relaxing cup of hemp tea around an hour before bedtime? You can also increase your dose by adding some CBD oil. Simply place a few drops of the oil under your tongue and hold it there.
Because your optimal dose of CBD depends on various factors, it’s best to start with a small dose and gradually increase your intake until you experience the desired effects.
All-natural CBD is soothing, calming, and relaxing addition to bedtime that could help you drift off into restorative, restful sleep. So why not try some and see the difference it can make?