Published on May 5th, 2019 | by Guest0
How CBD Can Promote Healthy Sleep
It’s not unusual to experience sleep struggles. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about a third of Americans regularly sleep less than seven hours each night. Yet seven hours is recommended for adults for health and well being.
A lack of good quality sleep can affect your physical and mental health. When you don’t sleep enough, or get the quality of sleep you need, you’re at a greater risk of developing chronic conditions. According to the CDC, those include frequent mental distress, obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
You’ve probably heard of cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, as a solution for difficult sleep and a slew of other health issues. Is there any truth to the claims? Though CBD oil may seem like a modern day snake oil with big promises but little to deliver, there is real evidence behind the notion that for some, CBD oil can support healthy sleep.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s an extract from marijuana, but it lacks THC, so CBD oil does not offer psychoactive effects or intoxication. But CBD can offer some of the benefits of marijuana without the high. And while marijuana use can be addictive, indications suggest that CBD is not. CBD is often consumed as CBD oil.
The Science Behind CBD and Healthy Sleep
You should consider CBD oil health claims critically, but there’s research behind the notion that CBD oil can promote healthy sleep. While human research is somewhat limited, CBD oil does show promise. Studies have shown that CBD may offer relief for pain, anxiety, and troubled sleep. Lessening anxiety is key for many people who suffer from sleep difficulty, as people who suffer from anxiety may find it difficult to relax and fall asleep at night. Pain treatment is important, too, as chronic pain can contribute to insomnia and restless sleep.
A 2019 study from Kaiser Permanente studied adults with concerns of anxiety or poor sleep. Patients were mostly given 25 mg doses of CBD in capsule form, though some received higher doses. For nearly 80 percent of patients, anxiety scores decreased within the first month. Nearly 67 percent of patients experienced sleep improvement within the first month.
An online survey of CBD users found that many turn to CBD to treat pain, anxiety, and depression. Almost 36 percent of respondents said that CBD treats their medical condition very well.
A review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids such as CBD are effective in chronic pain treatment in adults. There is moderate evidence of effectiveness in using cannabis or cannabinoids for improving short-term sleep outcomes for sufferers of sleep apnea or chronic pain conditions. The review found limited evidence that cannabidiol is effective in reducing anxiety and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
Another literature review found that CBD can have therapeutic potential for insomnia and other sleep disorders. There could be short term benefits for sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness. It could reduce nightmares associated with PTSD, and patients with chronic pain could benefit from improved sleep with CBD.
How CBD Helps With Sleep
CBD oil can support healthy sleep by paving the way toward rest. Though some research suggests CBD oil can be effective for insomnia, what could be most helpful is its potential to improve conditions that can cause insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Anxiety can be a serious issue for sleep, making it difficult to wind down and get the rest you need. If you suffer from PTSD, you might wake up in the night from disturbing nightmares. Or chronic pain could make sleeping uncomfortable and nearly impossible. But research indicates CBD oil could have potential for alleviating these conditions. And when you get relief for those conditions that make sleeping difficult, you may be able to sleep better.
Can You Benefit from CBD Oil?
CBD oil doesn’t offer results for all users. But is low risk, so if it’s something you’re considering, it might be worth trying out. The World Health Organization indicates it is well tolerated across trials, has a good safety profile, and does not show significant risk of abuse. However, CBD oil may interact with medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor and pharmacist before you start using it.
People who might benefit the most from CBD oil are those considering the use of sleep medication. If sleep therapy and other treatments have not been effective, medication might be your next step. But sleep medication typically comes with a risk of dependency, is not recommended for long term use, and can have serious side effects. CBD oil could offer a lower risk alternative to try out before you move on to a more serious treatment.
Using CBD Oil to Support Healthy Sleep
If you’re considering using CBD oil for sleep help, these tips can get you on the right track.
- Don’t replace healthy sleep habits with CBD oil use: Yes, CBD oil could help you with sleep. But it’s not going to undo unhealthy habits. If you’re practicing poor sleep hygiene, CBD oil might not offer much help. That means in addition to trying CBD oil, you should take a critical look at how well you’re preparing for sleep. Make sure you’re maintaining a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine, and avoiding sleep pitfalls like late night screen time, consuming caffeine too close to bed, or taking too long napping late in the day.
- Don’t make it a long term habit: The Kaiser Permanente research indicates CBD oil’s effectiveness can diminish over time. So if you’re using it every night to get to sleep, you might not get the results you want for very long. It’s best to reserve CBD oil use for nights when you’re struggling rather than making CBD oil consumption part of your bedtime routine.
- Shop safely: Most states don’t require product testing for CBD oil, so the product you receive may not be exactly what you think it is. Some CBD oils can contain small (or not so small) amounts of THC or contaminants. It’s a good idea to ask for test results. You can ask specifically for the product’s certificate of analysis (often called a COA). This document can give you information on CBD and THC levels as well as any contaminants. It’s important to make sure you’re getting well labeled, accurate dosing as well.
- Give CBD oil time to work: Ingesting CBD oil has a slower effect than other forms. For example, vaping CBD can work quickly. But when you take CBD oil, your body will release the CBD more slowly. While that means it could help you sleep longer throughout the night, it also means it will take some time to be effective. Consider taking CBD oil about an hour before bed to let it kick in as you’re ready to rest.
- Get treatment for serious sleep issues: CBD oil might be helpful for the occasional sleepless night, but if you have a sleep disorder, don’t use it as a crutch. Your health practitioner can tell you if CBD oil is a good choice for treatment, but you shouldn’t use it to replace proven treatments and support from your doctor.
Overall, CBD oil shows promise for supporting healthy sleep. It’s low risk, so if you’re considering more serious options, CBD oil could be an easier alternative that gives you a good night’s sleep. But CBD oil isn’t for everyone, and though most research is positive with regard to CBD oil and sleep, there isn’t extensive research into its effectiveness. You might benefit from CBD oil as a sleep aid, but you should make sure you’re practicing healthy sleep habits and not using CBD oil as a crutch.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.