Do you dread getting into bed at night - knowing that you'll spend most of the time watching the clock or staring at the ceiling? You're not alone - over 16 million UK adults suffer from poor sleep. But there is hope because early research on the organic compound - cannabidiol - shows promising signs that it could help insomniacs.
What is insomnia?
Everyone struggles to fall asleep from time-to-time, and we've all had those nights where we wake up and just can't drop off again, but if it happens on a regular basis then it could be insomnia. Common symptoms include:
- Finding it hard to fall asleep
- Trouble staying asleep all night
- Lying away at night
- Waking up early and struggling to get back off again
Adults need an average of between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Not enough quality sleep, can leave you feeling tired and irritable the next day. If you struggle to concentrate on day-to-day tasks, then you've probably had a bad night's sleep.
What causes insomnia?
There are lots of reasons a person might suffer from insomnia. It can be something obvious like jet lag or an easily solved problem like a room that's too hot or cold, but some underlying conditions are harder to explain.
Stress, anxiety, and depression can all affect your ability to sleep, and if this happens persistently over time then it could cause insomnia.
Insomnia and poor mental health often occur together - it's a common scenario, you're so worried about being able to get a good night's sleep that you can't drop off, and the problem becomes self-perpetuating.
But that could all change, because cannabidiol may be able to help.
How can CBD help sleep?
Some studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) can help to reduce anxiety, which could indirectly improve the sleep of millions of people.
CBD is an organic compound found naturally in hemp plants, but unlike cannabis, it doesn't contain the psychoactive chemical - tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is thought to have several health benefits and is already being used to treat things, such as:
- Chronic pain caused by arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Muscle strain and injuries in sportspeople
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
Cannabidiol interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which influences key functions like mood, sleep, appetite, and memory. It does this by influencing two receptors: CB1 (found in the brain) and CB2 (found in the peripheral system).
CB1 receptors are believed to regulate serotonin - the hormone that controls our mood and general feeling of happiness. If anxiety and sleep are closely related, then an improvement in your mental health, could help you to sleep better.
CBD's anti-inflammatory properties could also help by reducing the pain associated with chronic conditions that can keep you awake at night. Just like with anxiety, by solving the underlying cause, CBD could indirectly improve sleep for long-term sufferers.
What the research says
The effectiveness of CBD at treating sleep disorders is still being investigated, but early indications are that it can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
The American Sleep Association cites a study¹ of 72 adults suffering with anxiety and poor sleep. Participants with anxiety were given a 25 mg dose of CBD in the morning, and those with sleep difficulties were given the same dose in the evening.
The study showed that after the first month, anxiety scores decreased in 79% of people, while sleep scores improved in 66% of participants. More research is needed but these results show promising signs of a link between cannabidiol and better quality sleep.
In some people, high levels of the stress hormone - cortisol - can increase wakefulness, but some experts believe that CBD could change this. In fact, publishers of one study² found that cortisol decreased in participants taking 300 mg and 600 mg of CBD.
How to take CBD for sleep
Cannabidiol can be taken orally, inhaled, or applied directly to the skin (topically). Here's our pick of the best CBD products for aiding a good night's sleep.
Tinctures, like these sleep drops, are a concentrated form of CBD. Each mint-flavoured dose contains 50mg of CBD mixed with a blend of botanicals, like lavender, to help you drift off. And because these drops remain in your system for several hours after you've taken them, they are ideal for helping you to stay asleep.
This high-quality hemp tea from Kanaco contains sencha, camomile, and CBD. The broad spectrum of cannabinoids in every tea bag relaxes the nervous system for help falling asleep. We recommend including this tea in your bedtime routine every night.
For complete relaxation of the mind and body before bed, we suggest using a bath bomb, like this one from Green Stem. It contains sandalwood, lavender, and jasmine, and every bath bomb includes 100mg of CBD that is absorbed topically through the skin.
Camomile mixed with CBD, hemp seed oil and a chocolate mint infusion make the perfect evening blend. This tincture from Lady A is a great way of winding down at night - it's designed to sooth, calm and relax for a good night's sleep.
How to take the next steps
Conventional sleep aids, like sleeping tablets, can become addictive if they're taken for too long, which is why they are rarely prescribed. Cannabidiol offers a natural alternative for the treatment of sleep disorders.
CBD oils have few side effects and are well tolerated by most people. They're approved for sale by the FSA (Food Standards Agency) in the UK and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in America.
There is no substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, so if you are suffering with a sleep-related complaint and you're worried about your symptoms, contact your doctor, who can investigate further.
Whether this is the start of your CBD journey or you're already a valued customer, we are here to guide you. Our friendly team can advise you on picking the right products, and establishing a CBD routine that's right for you.
- American Sleep Association [online] CBD: for sleep and insomnia [cited 20/8/2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3D2UlAY
- Caporuscio, J, Medical News Today [online] What to know about CBD and sleep [updated 3/6/2020; cited 20/8/2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/2XK2tpZ