The ULTIMATE guide: CBD oil for sleep
Our first ULTIMATE guide dived into the basics of buying CBD in the UK.
We’re coming to the end of Sleep Awareness Month, including the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Awareness Week (March 14–20 2021). So, we decided to turn our attention to CBD oil for sleep.
Having recently published an article on whether CDB is the secret to a good night’s sleep and sharing a selection of sleep-inducing CBD products, we’ve now collected everything we know about CBD and sleep together in one place. Right here.
This CBD oil for sleep guide is designed to help you understand how your sleep works, why things can go wrong and how CBD can help you get back on track.
Understanding how sleep works
We all have an internal “body clock” that regulates our sleep cycle and determines when we feel tired and ready for bed or refreshed and alert. This 24-hour cycle is known as the circadian rhythm – you awake up energised and get more tired during the day until you’re ready for bed.
This sleep drive – or sleep-wake homeostasis – may be linked to adenosine, an organic compound produced in the brain. Light also seem to influence the circadian rhythm and special nerve cells in the brain (the hypothalamus) process light signals to determine whether it’s day or night. As the light fades, the body releases melatonin, a hormone that makes you drowsy. When you wake up, another hormone (cortisol) keeps you alert and energetic.
The different stages of sleep
When you do manage to nod off, your sleep cycle divides into four stages. The first three are known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the final stage as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Here’s what happen during each one.
Stage 1 NREM: this is all about starting to slow down
Stage 2 NREM: this when the body really starts to relax, falling into a much deeper sleep
Stage 3 NREM: your heartbeat, breathing and brainwave activity are really low – this stage is essential for feeling refreshed when you wake up
REM: your eyes dart back and forth and your heart and blood pressure increase - this is when you dream, and many scientists think this stage is essential for consolidating memories
According to the Sleep Foundation, all these stages repeat throughout the night, working together to play a crucial role in our wellbeing:
“Sleep allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.”
If sleep is so important, why are so many of us getting so little? And what impact is this having?
Many of us struggle to reach the recommended 7-9 hours of daily shuteye. Not only are we busier than ever – we’ve all had that feeling that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day – but we’re also more stressed. And the current Covid 19 pandemic has done nothing to help the situation.
Add less physical exercise and more screen time into the mix, and you get lots of sleep-deficient adults and, increasingly, children as well.
This means lower concentration levels, performance, cognitive functioning and lots of crankiness. Not to mention a weaker immune system, increased inflammation and a higher risk of serious health conditions including hypertension and heart disease.
If this happens every now and then, our bodies are able to cope. But when it comes chronic, the impact can be hugely detrimental.
Insomnia - the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get back to sleep - affects an estimated 33% of the world population. That’s 1 in 3 of us. And this figure soars for people suffering from other conditions such as depression.
Natural sleep solutions
As well as common-sense sleep advice like avoiding coffee, sufferers often turn to over-the-counter remedies or natural sleep aides to encourage relaxation, ease anxiety and promote sleep.
You may require prescribed medication in consultation with your doctor, but it’s always recommended to try natural alternatives first. These won’t make you dependent and tend to have fewer sides effects.
Popular natural sleep solutions often contain chamomile (calming effect), valerian (mild sedative) and melatonin (supplement that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better) –as well as a multitude of other plants and minerals like magnesium.
CBD oil as a natural sleep aid
In among all these sleep-inducing roots, plants and compounds, where exactly does CBD fit into the sleep picture? In Asia, in particular India, hemp has been used for thousands of years as a sedative – as well as for other ailments including pain, gout and Malaria. However, it was only introduced into western medicine in the 19th century. By the 1940s, researchers had isolated and extracted cannabinol. And since then, researchers have continued to explore its properties and benefits – including its effect on sleep.
What exactly is cannabinol?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Not to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the one that gives you a “high.” Cannabinoids have been shown to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS receptors are found throughout the body – especially in the brain and central nervous system – and are involved in maintaining a state of balance or homeostasis.
Cannabinol may also interact with the body in other ways including pain receptors and the endocrine system.
Research suggests that these interactions could have wide-reaching implications for pain management, relaxation and could even help manage or treat conditions like endometriosis or Parkinson’s. CBD is already used in medication to reduce seizures.
The good news? This means CDB oil could also help you get a good night’s sleep. Here are the main reasons why
1. CBD helps reduce anxiety
Anxiety is one of the main causes of insomnia. Scientists increasingly think that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors. This in turn helps reduce anxiety and relax the body to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
2. CBD as a way to manage pain
Research also suggests that CBD helps reduce pain and has an anti-inflammatory effect. As well as interacting with the ECS, it is also thought to modulate pain pathways including TRPV1 receptors. By reducing pain, CBD could enable people suffering from painful conditions or injuries to sleep better – pain is one of the main reasons so many of us toss and turn at night.
3. CBD has the potential to improve your sleep cycle
In addition to easing some of symptoms keeping you from sleeping, CBD could have even greater sleep potential. Some researchers suggest that it has an effect on the sleep cycle and could even improve symptoms of complex sleep-related behaviours such as REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD).
Much more research needs to be conducted to establish the exact role and benefits of CBD on sleep. But the potential is there and millions of people around the world are already choosing CBD as a natural sleep aide.
As Dr Roy Raymann, SleepScore Labs Chief Scientific Officer, explains, “although the mechanism for sleep is not fully understood, CBD is claimed to help sleep by reducing anxiety and pain, two symptoms that can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. In general, techniques that help with calming and relaxation have been shown to be effective in improving sleep.”
Choosing the right CBD oil for sleep
Now that we’ve explained how CBD can help you sleep better, let’s explore some of the CBD oil sleep products out there – including how they work and what they actually contain.
Quality CBD brands
There are lots of CBD brands about. Some focus primarily on sleep. Most have a wider range of products for wellbeing, pain and anxiety. It’s important to pick brands that are really transparent about their ingredients and processes. This means easy access to third-party lab reports – like the ones you find on our mellow product pages. Also look out for the hemp source – is it organic? Does it come from a country with strict regulations?
Full spectrum vs broad spectrum vs CBD isolate
Next, you’ll need to choose whether you prefer full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate. Remember that full spectrum CBD contains all the compounds naturally found in the hemp plant (including trace amounts of THC) – many believe the result is more powerful and effective when all these components work together. This is known as the entourage effect. Broad spectrum CBD has no THC but all the other beneficial compounds including terpenes. CBD isolate, on the other hand, contains only pure CBD.
Which CBD format is best for you?
CBD comes in many spaces and sizes. And the same goes for CBD sleep products. You’ll find everything from CBD oils and tinctures to bath salts. Pick the one that best fits your daily routine and preferences – CBD edibles are discreet and easy to carry around, while supplements can be added directly to your meals.
CBD oil for sleep
CBD oil is the most common form of CBD. It is usually taken sublingually using a dropper under your tongue, so it travels quickly into the blood stream - like the Sweet Dreams 10% CBD oil from Kaya that combines CBD with plants like Melissa and Lemon Verbena to promote sleep.
CBD oil can also be taken as capsules. Like these CBD Night Capsules from VAAY that also contain 5-HTP from griffonia seed extract (to increase serotonin levels), Vitamin D and B12 to balance the nervous system and promote melatonin.
Or alternatively, CBD oil can be applied as a spray such as the CBD Night Spray Oil 500mg – honey & orange from CBD Performance. With extra chamomile and magnesium, this CBD spray also draws on the power of other sleep-inducing ingredients.
Alternative CBD oil for sleep solutions
Where to start?
You also get sleep tinctures – like Lux Beauty Club's CBD Sleeping Beauty 1500mg that's infused with melatonin, Valerian root and CBN. Research increasingly suggests that this less-well-known hemp compound also has a positive impact on sleep, especially when combined with CBD.
Tinctures are slightly different as they soak the CBD in high-grade alcohol, which has the advantages that you can keep it for longer.
Looking something a bit different?
Why not try this CBD Pillow Mist from OTO? Simply spray it on your pillow – you’ll absorb the CBD when inhaling and also through the skin while you sleep.
Or you could opt for a CBD roll-on like this one from Herbal Alternatives. Not only is it easy to carry and apply wherever you are, but it’s also packed with whole-plant botanicals like lavender.
We’re also big fans of their CALM CBD-Magnesium Bath Salts that are great for relaxing and winding down before bed.
Let’s not forget CBD sleep gummies and CBD sleep drinks, which combine cannabinol with natural ingredients like valerian root extract and morello cherry.
And the list just keeps growing.
Starting out with CBD oil for sleep
As always with CBD, it’s important to find the right dose for you.
- A general approach is 1 to 6 mg of CBD per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight
- Try taking it 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed - do this for a week or 2 and see if you feel any improvement
- If in doubt, it’s best to start slowly with a small amount of CBD and gradually increase the dosage until you hit the right spot for you
- If you have any medical conditions, make sure you consult your doctor first
It’s a CBD oil for sleep wrap
We hope you’ve enjoyed our carefully compiled collection of sleep and CBD insights.
And, most importantly, that this guide goes some way to helping you get those all-important 7-9 hours of sleep.
BUY NOW: to discover our full curated range of high-quality, traceable CBD oil for sleep, pain and wellbeing, hop over to mellow store.
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