So, does CBD help with sleep problems? It all depends on why you can’t sleep in the first place. That said, CBD oil is known to help with a wide variety of sleep issues from anxiety to jet lag. The odds are good that it can help you too! Read on to find out how CBD oil might be able to help you get a good night’s sleep.
CBD Oil Promotes Deep NREM sleep
CBD oil can help you fall asleep quickly and it can help you sleep more deeply as well. The action of CBD in the body affects many different functions and the reason people seem to fall asleep quickly is unknown, but perhaps due to its calming effect.
The reason people report a longer, deeper sleep is likely due to CBD’s multi-pronged effect in the body as well. Some of it may have to do with its anti-anxiety effect, and some may have to do with its effect on REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM sleep is when we dream and make sense of our experiences. CBD seems to shift the sleep cycle to spending less time in REM sleep and more in NREM (No Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. The deeper stages of NREM sleep is when the body repairs itself, builds bone, tissue and muscle and strengthens the immune system.
While both these stages are absolutely necessary for well-being and health, some people have trouble arising from REM sleep. For people suffering from REM sleep disorder (RBD), characterized by restlessness and nightmares, CBD’s ability to regulate the REM/NREM sleep cycle can help reduce these unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms.
CBD Oil Regulates the Circadian Rhythm
CBD oil works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system . The endocannabinoid system regulates and maintains balance in certain body systems including our circadian rhythm. The endocannabinoid is a network of receptors in our brain and nervous system, and researchers believe that CBD interacts with specific receptors to affect the sleep/wake cycle.
The circadian rhythm can get out of whack for a number of reasons: age and decreasing melatonin production, not enough bright sunlight, shift work, jet lag, and an irregular schedule to name a few.
Because CBD oil helps regulate the circadian rhythm, it can also help dispel feelings of grogginess in the daytime too, making you more alert — all of which naturally leads to better sleep at night.
Reduces Cortisol and Regulates Serotonin Response
CBD oil is known to reduce anxiety, which is characterized by high cortisol levels, and if that is what’s keeping you awake, CBD oil is certainly worth a try. This 2019 clinical study found that CBD decreased anxiety in 79.2 % of the participants and improved sleep scores in 66.7% within the first month.
CBD reduces cortisol as well, and can help the body attain a more efficient and positive response to its supply of serotonin. Not only is serotonin directly implicated in the circadian rhythm and therefore sleep, it is also a factor in depression. A healthy response to serotonin packs a double punch for mental health, directly through assisting with a healthy serotonin response and indirectly since healthy sleep can only make everything better.
CBD is Anti-inflammatory and Pain-relieving
If chronic or acute pain is keeping you awake, CBD can help through its anti inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. This is due to CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid receptors that help your cells respond to stimuli and can dampen inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
CBD is a natural muscle relaxer. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors within the muscles, influencing smooth muscle contraction. As a result it can calm spasms and tremors. It is also a vascular relaxant, increasing blood flow to the area which helps to reduce pain.
For patients with muscle spasms or tremors such as those dealing with Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease, a muscle relaxer can make all the different in the quest for a decent night’s sleep.
Myrcene is a terpene found in high amounts in CBD that has been found to have a sedative effect. It is also found in hops, which is one of the reasons beer also can induce sleep.
A Few Considerations Before Using CBD Oil for Sleep
As mentioned throughout this article, CBD works on many fronts, and it may be a combined action rather than any one effect that helps people sleep. It all depends on why you aren’t sleeping in the first place.
Researchers have noticed that dosage is important, finding that lower dosages may have a stimulating effect whereas higher doses act as a sedative. CBD oil may also take a little while to positively affect sleep — sometimes up to a month. While research into CBD is picking up, there is still much we don’t know. Reports so far do suggest that CBD oil can have a positive effect on many sleep disorders. And for those suffering from a lack of sleep, that is certainly welcome news!