People have long made claims that CBD is good for sleep. But with more research being shown, just how true is it? Find out more here. What are the sleep benefits of CBD? Discover more about the science behind it, how to use it and how to choose the right CBD product. Struggling to fall asleep? Studies are beginning to show that CBD oil could help to treat insomnia and help you enjoy deeper, more satisfying sleep.
CBD Oil for Sleep
Yet, within the world of CBD, there are many things to be determined for certain, like whether CBD will actually help you sleep or make you drowsy. That’s why some people choose to take CBD for sleep, and some don’t. Read more: What’s the Best Way to Use CBD?
Yes, drowsiness and sleepiness are different, and here’s why:
- Sleepiness is the feeling you feel when you’re ready to get comfy in your bed and go to sleep. It usually doesn’t happen when it’s not around your normal bedtime, and it goes away once you sleep.
- Drowsiness is when you simply can’t keep your eyes open or concentrate on the tasks in front of you. People who feel drowsy can experience unexpected sleeping spells or overall fatigue throughout the day. However, drowsiness can remain after sleeping too.
Can CBD help you sleep?
Some people have said that CBD does indeed help them sleep, and we’ve also experienced increased relaxation when we take CBD oil after training sessions. This doesn’t mean that CBD is a sleep aid – it’s just our experience!
The natural feeling experienced after cooling off from an intense workout is sleepiness and relaxation. CBD could potentially accentuate this feeling, and help you doze off much more easily.
However, if you are experiencing bad sleep, it’s best you talk to your general practitioner and make sure you’re on-track with your mental and physical health. That way, you can get the proper care if you need it.
With that said, we encourage you to take a look at the CBD options available to you so you can test it out for yourself. We recommend sticking to natural ingredients with botanical extracts such as lavender oil to help you sleep even better.
Does CBD Make You Drowsy?
CBD does not appear to make people drowsy. Of course, this is based on experiences we’ve had personally, have seen, or have heard about through our site. The majority of people seem to take well to CBD, and it doesn’t seem to cause drowsiness when dosed properly.
Why is this important? Well, if you are curious about trying CBD to help with your waking life, chances are you don’t want to be drowsy while experiencing its other effects. And, even more importantly, it can be dangerous to exert a lot of physical effort while drowsy. Athleticism or even just being active takes being alert, and focused – the opposite of drowsy, really.
CBD Oil for Sleep: The Takeaways
Though some early studies indicate that CBD oil may support sleep, there is not enough evidence to support this claim. However, it doesn’t mean that it won’t help you sleep or feel more relaxed after you take a CBD supplement. It all comes down to your personal experience.
If you decide to take a CBD product to aid your sleep, there are a few additional steps you can take to improve your experience:
Can CBD really help you sleep better?
I love getting comfy and feeling myself drifting off; I love dreaming; and, most of all, I love waking up, no alarm clocks in earshot, feeling completely rested.
However, as with most love stories, loving sleep doesn’t equate to having a successful relationship with it – in fact, it’s something I really struggle with.
A few months ago I had a week of such bad sleep that I felt like crying everytime I woke up: enough was enough, I thought, and it was time to make a change.
I’d heard a lot about how CBD can help you not just get to sleep, but have a better quality sleep, but I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick, so I decided to try it out for myself.
CBD is cannabidiol, one of over 110 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids which are found in the cannabis plant – and it’s everywhere right now.
The CBD market has boomed exponentially over the last few years, expected to be worth £1billion by 2025, and is used most commonly for anxiety, sports recovery, neurological disorders like epilepsy, chronic pain and, of course, sleep.
What does the science say about CBD oil and sleep?
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and leading expert in the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids including CBD. She runs a CBD clinic and consults and collaborates with CBD brand FourFive.
She tells Metro.co.uk that, although the human studies around sleep and CBD are only small scale (around 70 to 80 people), many show that people’s sleep improved within the first month of taking CBD.
‘Not only that, but they felt better in the morning as well,’ she says. ‘I think it’s quite important with sleep to look at both how much sleep we’re getting and also, the quality of it.’
According to Elisabeth, there are a number of hypotheses for why CBD seems to work.
The first is that it simply makes us feel more relaxed: ‘There are studies that show CBD can reduce anxiety and help us feel more relaxed,’ says Elisabeth, which is what ultimately helps some people deal with that whirring mind I mentioned earlier.
Another theory is that it helps with chronic pain and, since pain is more heightened at night, the pain relief may help with insomnia.
These are both ‘indirect effects’ that, in turn, help us sleep better, Elisabeth says.
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However, a third theory – and one that doesn’t have enough solid research into it yet – is that CBD actually changes our sleep architecture.
This is down to the way CBD reacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a biological network of receptors and proteins that run through the body, such as in the brain, spine, guts, kidneys and lungs.
‘Our body already has cannabinoids,’ explains Elisabeth. ‘CBD helps to activate and raise the level of these cannabinoids and helps activate the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate most bodily functions.’
According to Elisabeth, the research is expected to show, in just a few years from now, that CBD is actually working in the endocannabinoid system in the brain to improve and support sleep architecture, therefore improving the quality of our sleep.
How to use CBD for sleep
Other than inhaling (or vaping) CBD, the best way to consume it is under the tongue, says Elisabeth.
Drop the oil (you can also find spray bottles) under your tongue and hold it there for one to two minutes before swallowing.
Elisabeth advises doing this around 20 minutes before or after eating and drinking, to ensure you’re not washing it away.
If you’re using CBD predominantly to help you sleep, taking a few drops around 20 minutes before bed is usually the best way to go.
Elisabeth adds that, if your sleeplessness is a symptom of anxiety, taking CBD throughout the day to calm your nerves might also benefit your sleep.
Also, if you wake up throughout the night, you can also take a few drops to either help you get back to sleep or at least make you feel less worried about the fact that you’ve woken up in the middle of the night.
Elisabeth lives by the mantra “start low and go slow,” so it’s a good idea to start with one drop at a time and gradually build it up over the days or week.
I tried taking CBD every night before bed for a month
Studies show that people using CBD notice the sleep benefits in the space of a month, so I thought that would be the perfect time to try out a product.
Starting with one drop per night and gradually building my way up to three or four, I placed the oil under my tongue using the pipette (you can also get spray bottles from other brands), around an hour to twenty minutes before I wanted to sleep.
Anecdotally speaking, from her experience running a CBD clinic, Elisabeth says most people are likely to notice an improvement in their sleep after just a few days – this was absolutely my experience.
Week 1: The first week I started taking CBD was admittedly rocky.
I had already been struggling with my sleep for a while and still found myself waking up a few hours too early and unable to go back to sleep.
That being said, actually falling to sleep in the first place was much easier as I felt calmer and much more relaxed.
Week 2: My second week taking CBD I had really started to notice a difference.
Although I would still occasionally wake up throughout the night, I didn’t struggle with getting back to sleep, and I would wake up feeling rested.
Weeks 3 and 4: The last two weeks of my experiment were definitely where the magic happened.
I was no longer worried that I wouldn’t be getting good quality sleep.
Most nights, I would fall asleep upon my head hitting the pillow and wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
If I did wake up, it was only ever to use the toilet, and I would be back to sleep within minutes – something I had always struggled with.
By this point, I’d become one of those irritating CBD converts, raving about it to anyone who would listen.
When my first bottle of CBD oil ran out around the one month mark, safe to say I cracked open another without a second thought.
How to choose a CBD product for you
Like I mentioned earlier, CBD is everywhere and, as Elisabeth puts it, can be quite a “minefield”.
However, when choosing a CBD brand, it’s important to look out for a reputable brand that will be able to show you a certificate of analysis.
‘This shows exactly what is in the product,’ says Elisabeth – and the CBD market isn’t short of fraudsters, so do your research.
You can get bottles with a higher concentrate (usually up to 2000mg) or a lower concentrate (around 500mg).
The main difference between these products is that you’ll need to take more drops of a lower dose to feel the same effect.
So, while higher doses are more expensive, they usually last longer, so the cost balances out overall.
It’s likely a good idea to choose a lower dose for your first bottle – that way, if you’re not a fan, it’s not too much money lost.
A guide to the Queen’s very specific evening routine
How to protect your sleep as the seasons change
Your guide to taking the anxiety out of missed sleep – and how to sleep better
The verdict: Can CBD help improve sleep?
I was pretty sceptical when I decided to give this a go, given that most wellness products are gimmicks, but my sleep improved pretty much instantly and I haven’t looked back.
While research is still lagging, I truly believe CBD has changed my sleep – and my life — for the better.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
How to Use CBD Oil For Better Sleep
Dealing with a sleepless night can be a frustrating experience. From affecting your energy levels and mood the next day to preventing you from reaching your full potential, going without sleep — even if it’s only for one night — can take a real toll on your health and wellbeing.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, lack of sleep due to insomnia is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and forgetfulness. Failing to get sufficient sleep even has the potential to increase your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
Luckily, there are a range of options available for preventing insomnia and improving your sleep quality.
Over the last few years, CBD oil has emerged as an increasingly popular natural treatment for insomnia. Although studies are still in their early stages, there are promising signs that CBD is an effective treatment for improving and enhancing your sleep.
Below, we’ve looked at the science behind CBD’s potential benefits as a sleep aid and natural insomnia treatment. We’ve also explained how you can use CBD to improve your sleep if you currently find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or sleep deeply enough for optimal health.
Why Does Insomnia Happen?
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in the UK. According to data published in The Guardian in 2018, approximately 16% of all adults in the UK sleep for fewer than six hours per night.
A further 19% only sleep for six to seven hours — less than the seven to nine hours every night recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
Although most people associate the term “insomnia” with an entire night spent awake, struggling to fall asleep, the reality is that insomnia can range from mild to severe. Signs of insomnia could include:
- Struggling to fall asleep for several hours after you get into bed
- Waking up in the middle of the night, then finding it hard to get back to sleep
- Frequently waking up during the night for short periods of time
- Relying on supplements or medication to fall and stay asleep
- Waking up early (for example, before sunrise) and struggling to sleep again
- Difficulty focusing and working productively due to poor quality sleep
Stress and Psychiatric Disorders
Insomnia can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common is stress. If you’re feeling overly stressed due to your work, your personal life or anything else that’s currently affecting you, there is a real risk that it could affect your ability to sleep properly.
Other potential causes of insomnia include anxiety and depression. Often, insomnia that stems from these conditions can compound their effects, creating a cycle in which your depression or anxiety symptoms become more severe, further affecting your sleep quality.
Physical Health Conditions
Certain aspects of your physical health can also affect your ability to fall asleep. If you have a medical condition such as chronic pain, difficulty breathing, heartburn or anything that affects your level of comfort in bed, it could also affect your ability to sleep properly.
Certain cardiovascular conditions can also affect your ability to sleep, or cause you to wake up frequently during the night.
Habits, Diet and Lifestyle Factors
It’s common for your habits to affect your ability to fall asleep. For example, if you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages such as coffee or energy drinks during the afternoon and evening, these could prevent you from falling asleep later in the night.
Other habits that can affect your sleep quality include drinking too much alcohol, napping during the day, eating large quantities of food shortly before you go to sleep, neglecting to exercise and exposing yourself to sources of bright light in the evening and night.
If you currently use prescription medications, there’s a risk that they could negatively affect your sleep quality. For example, many commonly prescribed thyroid medications, ADHD medications, thyroid medications and pain relievers can affect your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Certain supplements, such as herbal weight loss capsules and pre-workout stimulants, can also affect your sleep cycle and make falling asleep more difficult than normal.
How CBD May Help to Improve Sleep
Most of the time, doctors prescribe medications like benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like “Z-drugs” to treat insomnia. You might have heard of these drugs under brand names such as Valium (diazepam), Ambien (zolpidem) and zopiclone.
These drugs are extremely widely used in the UK. According to a 2012 article in The Guardian, more than 15 million prescriptions were written for sleeping pills in 2011. The author noted that sleeping pills were, to a certain extent, Britain’s “hidden addiction.”
Not only are many widely-used sleeping pills potentially addictive — they also have the potential to be harmful. Drugs like Valium are linked to side effects such as dependence, with people who use them often experiencing dangerous withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop.
They’re also relatively poor as treatments for insomnia, with treatments like Valium often helping people to fall asleep, yet preventing them from experiencing the REM sleep that’s important for optimal recovery and cognitive function.
Because of this, a growing number of people with sleep disorders are instead turning to natural treatments for their insomnia. Enter CBD.
Like many other potential benefits of CBD, research into CBD’s effects on sleep conditions such as insomnia is still in its early stages. However, the existing data suggests that CBD could be an extremely helpful, safe treatment for preventing insomnia and improving sleep quality.
For example, a 2014 study into cannabidiol (CBD) found that it reduces the frequency of events related to RBD, or REM sleep behaviour disorder, in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The four people given CBD during the study all showed measurable, substantial improvements.
The researchers further described CBD’s effects and concluded that CBD is “able to control the symptoms of RBD.”
A review from 2017 had similar findings. The researchers noted that preliminary research into CBD “may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia” and that it may treat REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Like many other scientific reviews of CBD, the researchers stated that the current data on the effects of cannabidiol and sleep is “in its infancy” and that additional research is required.
In short, while the research into CBD and sleep isn’t yet conclusive, it does show positive signs that CBD could be helpful for preventing insomnia and improving sleep quality in people prone to sleep disorders.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
CBD is available in a variety of forms, making it easy to use before bed to help you fall and stay asleep. However, there are a few things to be aware of if you want to use CBD for better sleep, but have never used it before.
First, not everyone has the same tolerance to CBD. This means that a mild dose of CBD for one person could be a significant dose for another. When you’re just starting with CBD, you’ll get the best results by choosing a relatively mild dose.
Second, CBD comes in a variety of forms. Depending on the product you buy, your CBD could be isolate, broad spectrum or full spectrum. We’ve covered the key differences between these forms of CBD here.
Using CBD for sleep is a simple process. We’ve explained the basics below for the most widely used forms of CBD, from sublingual CBD tinctures to vape oils (e-liquids), edibles, capsules and more.
CBD tinctures are designed for sublingual (under the tongue) use. CBD in this form takes about 20 minutes to start working, meaning you should use it about half an hour before you go to bed in order to improve your sleep.
We stock a diverse range of CBD tinctures. If you’re using CBD for the first time, it’s best to start by using the lowest dose recommended on your product’s packaging.
CBD Vape Oil (CBD E-Liquid)
CBD vape oil, or e-liquid, is designed for use with a vaporiser. Inhaling CBD as vapour allows it to enter your bloodstream and take effect relatively quickly. If you prefer to vape your CBD, you can do so about five to 10 minutes before you go to bed for optimal effects.
You can find a range of CBD e-liquids in our shop. Just like with CBD tinctures, make sure you follow the instructions provided on the product’s packaging.
CBD capsules allow you to consume CBD like you would a capsule-based supplement, making the process more convenient.
This form of CBD needs to pass through your digestive system and liver before it makes its way into your bloodstream. For optimal results, it’s best to use CBD capsules about one hour before you plan to go to sleep.
We stock CBD capsules in our shop. As always, make sure you follow the instructions provided with the capsules for the best results.
CBD can also be applied topically using CBD moisturisers, body salves and serums. This form of CBD is absorbed dermally (through the skin). Since this method of ingesting CBD isn’t very efficient, it’s best to apply any topical CBD products at least one hour before you sleep.
You can view our range of topical CBD products here. As with any other form of CBD, follow the instructions provided on the product’s packaging for optimal results.