A good night’s sleep? “What’s that?” you might ask.
Apparently, many of us are unfamiliar.
According to a recent YouGov poll, a whopping three-quarters of Brits get less than the ideal 8 hours of sleep, while 1 in 6 are struggling through the day on less than 6 hours of sleep a night.
The ramifications of this are so much more than feeling a little groggy the next day. Sleep is such an essential process, that without enough of it, you might experience side effects such as depleted immunity, weight gain, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, brain fog and much more besides.
So, with this in mind, it should come as no surprise that using CBD for sleep almost ties with using CBD for anxiety, as the top reason for taking this incredible supplement.
But does using CBD oil for sleep really work? And if so, how? Here, for National Sleep Day, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know.
CBD for Sleep: Everything you need to know
Thinking about trying CBD for sleep? You’re not alone. A study performed by CBD guru, Dr Julie Moltke, found that 42.5% of people who take CBD do so to aid a more restful and restorative night.
Thanks to the CBD molecule being pleiotropic (meaning, it has multiple effects via many different pathways in the body), CBD oil (whether that’s in the form of oral drops, CBD gummies, CBD vape or CBD patches) affects a variety of functions which impact sleep.
CBD & Serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter perhaps best known for its role in mood regulation. But, although it does heavily affect mood, this is by no means where it ends. Serotonin also contributes in a pretty major way to sexual function, bone density and sleep (among many other processes).
Without healthy levels of serotonin, the body becomes incapable of producing enough melatonin – another neurotransmitter, produced by the pineal gland, which helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Both of these chemicals are absolutely essential for getting to sleep and staying asleep.
So, how can you ensure your serotonin levels stay up where they should be? Massage helps a lot, as does meditation, yoga, exercise and (you guessed it) CBD.
Within the many mechanisms of the CBD molecule, one of its actions is that it can bind to serotonin receptors, triggering a release of this neurotransmitter.
Too stressed to Sleep? Meet CBD and Anandamide
If you’re new to CBD oil products, you may not have heard of Anandamide. But it’s time to get acquainted! Like serotonin, Anandamide is another neurotransmitter in the body, but one from a very special subset of neurotransmitters called ‘endocannabinoids’.
This endocannabinoid (and another, called 2-AG) make up part of the endocannabinoid system (ECs), a very complex network of receptors that can be found just about everywhere in the body – in every skin cell, every organ, bone, muscle joint and even in our mitochondrial cell walls! It’s a physiological system that is actually within all other physiological systems (like the immune system, nervous system, digestive system and so on).
Clearly, this system and its endocannabinoids are intertwined with every single bodily function – including sleep. We could talk all day about how this system works to support sleep, but for now let’s just look at one very simple process: stress.
When you’re stressed, you can’t sleep. And when you can’t sleep, you become more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle.
Speaking to the Baylor College of Medicine, assistant professor of neurology and pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine Dr Annise Wilson says
“High levels of stress impair sleep by prolonging how long it takes to fall asleep and fragmenting sleep. Sleep loss triggers our body’s stress response system, leading to an elevation in stress hormones, namely cortisol, which further disrupts sleep,”
There are many ways you can work to keep stress under control, including relaxing activities before bed, more time outside and less screen. But once you’re in that cycle of stress and sleep deprivation it can be very hard to motivate yourself.
Is CBD oil beneficial for sleep?
When we’re stressed, our endocannabinoids (namely, Anandamide) become depleted. This is largely what contributes to the cascade of the stress, or fight or flight, response – as appropriate levels of anandamide are needed in the brain to act as a kind of gatekeeper. When levels of anandamide are up, this chemical tells your brain not to panic – unless necessary. It keeps that rush of cortisol contained until it would be helpful. So when you’ve got a stress cycle impacting your sleep, you need to support your endocannabinoid system.
This is the key way CBD oil (and cannabis as a whole) works in the body. You’ll no doubt have clocked the similarity of the words cannabinoid (like CBD) and endocannabinoid (like anandamide) and there’s very good reason for that. The THC molecule (which you can only get on prescription in the UK) fits like a lock and key into anandamide receptors, mimicking (and supplementing) anandamide. CBD, on the other hand, supports the synthesis and release of our internally made endocannabinoids, by inhibiting the enzyme that would ordinarily break them down. This results in higher levels of endocannabinoids making their way around your body – and into your brain, where they help control stress and therefore support sleep.
While this alone may seem incredibly complex, unbelievably this is merely scratching the surface when it comes to using CBD for sleep. But hopefully, this will give you enough material to understand why so many millions of people across the world now swear by it and want to give it a go.
Looking to buy CBD for sleep?
Here’s a selection of our favourite night time CBD products:
Pure Swiss CBD – Night
Advanced Terpene Blend | Chamomile, Zinc & Lavender£30.00
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Pure Swiss CBD – Calm
Advanced Terpene Blend | Eucalyptus & Iodine£30.00
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CBD Infused Facial Scrub
150mg CBD (0.3%) | 50ML Jar£40.00
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CBD Infused Night Cream
150mg CBD (0.3%) | 50ML Jar£40.00 Add to basket