You shouldn't underestimate the importance of getting enough restful sleep for your overall health. While you're sleeping, your body keeps working to support healthy brain function, but, essentially, sleep touches every aspect of your health - from supporting the immune system and maintaining a healthy weight to improving mood concentration to even lowering the risk for serious health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Unfortunately, getting a good night's sleep is often easier said than done. For many people, sleep difficulties are connected to leading a busy lifestyle or interacting with lots of stressors on a daily basis. However, they can also be linked to chronic pain or mental health issues.
If you find yourself tossing and turning in your beds for long hours before finally falling asleep, or you tend to wake up frequently through the night, this can quickly result in sleep deprivation. This, in turn, will inevitably affect your ability to function normally throughout the day, or can even take a toll on your body.
As such, it's only natural if you start looking for ways to improve sleep quality. While reaching for over-the-counter sleeping pills seems like an obvious solution, it's not your only choice. You can explore natural alternatives first - particularly, CBD oil.
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants, which, among its numerous benefits, can act as an effective sleep aid, helping you unwind and fall asleep much easier. Join us as we explore the substance in greater detail and answer the most important questions - how and when to take CBD oil for sleep?
What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the most abundant active compounds in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike its close relative - THC, it isn't intoxicating, meaning it does not produce that "high" effect. Instead, CBD has been shown to provide a wide range of benefits - from pain relief and reducing symptoms of anxiety to easing inflammation and balancing sleep-wake cycles.
When it comes to the way cannabidiol works, it all comes down to our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex biological system that helps maintain homeostasis - balance - in every organ in our bodies. It's made up of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) which are located throughout the body and interact with endocannabinoids (our own, internal cannabinoids produced by the body itself), as well as with external cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC.
Researchers believe that once introduced into the body, CBD does not directly attach itself to the cannabinoid receptors but influences them in some way, stimulating the production of more endocannabinoids. This should theoretically influence the way we feel and function in everyday life.
For instance, when you experience pain or anxiety relief after taking CBD - it's all thanks to the substance's interactions with the ECS.
How Does CBD Affect Sleep Quality?
The research on CBD's sedative effects is still ongoing, but there are several ways in which CBD, even if indirectly, promotes better sleep and provides calming effects on the nervous system. For instance, the substance has been shown to reduce anxiety levels and alleviate pain - both of which are well-known factors affecting sleep quality.
For instance, anxiety can cause trouble falling asleep or make you wake up frequently during the night. Similarly, pain can result in insomnia as well, preventing you from feeling rested after a long night's sleep. For instance, research has found that 80% of people who have been taking CBD reported lower anxiety levels, which, in turn, resulted in improved sleep quality in more than 65% of participants.
And you've probably already heard of cortisol - a steroid hormone responsible for regulating various vital processes within the body, including sleep-wake cycles. It's produced by our adrenal glands, and its levels increase when we're under stress. Cortisol is essential for survival, but it can also affect sleep quality, which is why it's often referred to as the "stress hormone."
Once again, in the same case series, when taken in higher doses, CBD has been shown to significantly reduce the production of cortisol, thus decreasing stress and anxiety levels and resulting in improved sleep scores.
CBD is also known to help promote sleep by affecting the sleep-wake cycle by interacting with our body's circadian rhythm. Essentially, this is what tells our bodies when it's time to wake up and when it's time to go to sleep. Every human being has their own circadian rhythm, which means that its timing varies from one person to another.
The circadian rhythm is affected by light exposure and temperature, but also by some of the hormones produced by our bodies. One such hormone is melatonin. It's secreted by the pineal gland, and its production increases as the day comes to an end, signaling that it's time to go to sleep.
However, the production of melatonin can be interrupted by stress, anxiety, or inflammation. By reducing these factors, CBD appears to promote better sleep hygiene, helping you fall asleep faster and enjoy more restful sleep throughout the night. Today, you can even find CBD-infused softgels containing melatonin for a more profound, synergetic effect.
When it comes to sleep disorders like insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), the research is still ongoing, and there's no concrete evidence that would suggest CBD can help. However, there are also no known side effects of taking cannabidiol for sleep, meaning it may be worth exploring as a natural, safe remedy.
When Is the Best Time to Take CBD Oil for Sleep?
As we've just established, CBD oil's effects on sleep quality are both direct and indirect - it helps reduce anxiety levels, eases pain, and promotes a better sleep cycle. Apparently, the best way to take CBD for sleep is before bed - but when exactly? A couple of hours before? 30 minutes? 15?
The answer will depend on the type of product you use and your consumption method. In the case of CBD oil, you can take it in one of two ways - orally (either by swallowing it directly or mixing it with food) or sublingually (holding a few drops of oil under your tongue until it's absorbed). The latter is the method most recommended by doctors as it delivers a faster onset of effects while allowing you to easily manage your dosage.
When taking cannabidiol sublingually, hold it under your tongue for about 60 seconds before swallowing it down. This will ensure that the oil enters your bloodstream quickly through the blood vessels beneath your tongue. Usually, you should start seeing its effects within 15 minutes, meaning that you can have your daily CBD intake right before bed.
Keep in mind that if you opt for CBD oil-based edibles, softgels, or gummies, you might need to wait up to 2 hours for the effects to kick in, so plan your bedtime routine accordingly.
How Much CBD Oil to Take for Sleep?
CBD oil dosage can vary greatly depending on several factors - your age, weight, metabolism, personal tolerance to the substance, the purpose of use, a chosen product, etc. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to how much cannabidiol you should take to get the desired effect - that is something you will have to figure out through trial and error.
However, there are a few general tips that can help you find your sweet spot:
Start with low doses (e.g. 10mg per day). It will take time for you to notice the effects and see if they work for you or not. Once you're comfortable with this dosage, you can gradually increase it over time.
Find a product that contains less than 0.3% THC. This way, you can be sure it won't make you feel high.
Choose a product that's been manufactured by a reputable brand and tested by a third-party lab. This will make sure you're getting a quality product that actually contains what it says on the label.
If possible, choose organic CBD oils. These will be more expensive than regular products but should be free of harmful chemicals and other contaminants.
As far as timing is concerned, there's no need to look for complex strategies here. Simply take your needed dose before going to bed and let it work.
As you can see, there are multiple ways in which CBD can affect not only your sleep but also the overall quality of your life. Make sure to choose a high-quality product from a reputable brand with a clear manufacturing process and allocate enough time to find your individual CBD dosage. Once the effects kick in, you won't regret the time you've spent.
Keep in mind that sleep disorders require diagnosing and should be treated accordingly. If you have a particular condition you want to address, make sure to consult with your doctor first to ensure the substance won't interfere with any other medications you might be taking. In such a case, taking CBD oil can become an addition to the main treatment.