CBD oil is everywhere right now. In the blink of an eye, it’s gone from a well kept secret to the health supplement of choice. Common CBD benefits include increased relaxation, less pain, and feeling more able to cope with the ups and downs of daily life. Little wonder many people are taking CBD oil as a natural way to improve the quality of their sleep and boost overall vitality.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a type of legal cannabis extract containing cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring compound found in hemp. Known as a cannabinoid, CBD does not cause a high effect and is currently being researched for epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and PTSD.
Right now, most research is at the preliminary stage, and hasn’t been tested out on humans. That’s why CBD oil is usually sold as a nutritional supplement. The good news is despite further research being needed, the World Health Organization has recognized CBD as safe, non-toxic, and without any risk of addiction or abuse.
People take CBD oil for a multitude of different reasons, but many note a common positive side effect: improved quality of sleep. So based on anecdotal accounts, CBD oil and sleep may well be a winning combination.
Lack Of Sleep And Why It’s Bad For Our Health
How much sleep do you get a night; 6, 7, if you’re lucky 8 hours? Back in the 1960s, 8.0-8.9 hours were the average amount slept per night? Fast forward to the turn of the millenium and this had dropped by over an hour to 6.9-7 hours. Not only that, in the United States 50-70 million adults are reported to have some kind of sleep disorder, with insomnia - defined as habitual sleeplessness - being most the most common sleep disorder mentioned.
If you’re unlucky enough to have a sleep disorder, it can feel like your life is no longer your own. Not only do you spend hours tossing and turning during the early hours, but daytime becomes a hard slog through drowsiness and brain fog.
Factors causing sleep problems include elevated stress levels, excessive worrying, anxiety and depression, painful joints, medical issues like asthma, certain prescribed medication, environmental issues such as noisy neighbors, and aging.
Getting enough sleep is key to maintaining optimum health as it’s the time our body restores and repairs itself. Unfortunately, when this becomes consistently disrupted, all sorts of health conditions can materialize.
Take immune health for instance. Our ability to fight off viruses, infections and disease is dependent on a well functioning immune system. A lack of sleep suppresses our immunity through a reduction in T-cells (a type of white blood cell) and an increase in inflammatory cytokines.
Not sleeping enough also has a disruptive effect on our hormonal balance, in particular the stress hormone, cortisol. Studies show that after several days of restricted sleep, cortisol levels shoot up in the early evening - just at the time when they are normally dropping in preparation for a sound night’s sleep.
But what’s a little extra cortisol between friends? Well, elevated early evening cortisol production has been linked to insulin resistance, a risk for obesity and diabetes. In fact, there is a general link between lack of sleep, obesity, and diabetes.
Scientists have pinpointed how hormones regulating appetite are strongly influenced by how much sleep we get. Sleep loss tends to increase appetite, with sleep deprived subjects consuming more calories than their bodies need.
In fact, just a few nights without enough sleep can mess up our glucose tolerance levels. Using young, healthy male subjects, scientists measured how restricted sleep affected sugar absorption in the body. Interestingly, in a state of sleep debt, their glucose tolerance was comparable to older, pre-diabetic males.
An additional link between overeating and sleep loss may lie in an overactive endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a vast network of cell receptor sites and cannabis-like chemicals called endocannabinoids. It’s classified as a homeostatic regulator and is involved in modulating every biological activity, including sleep.
In one study, scientists found sleep deprivation caused 2-AG, a key endocannabinoid, to increase by a whopping 80%. As a result of this endocannabinoid overstimulation, subjects became overwhelmed with the urge to gorge on junk food. Imagine this sleep loss/junk food cycle lasting a period of months, and it’s easy to see how this could be a one way ticket to obesity and diabetes.
CBD Oil for Sleep
By now, we’re probably all in agreement that disrupted sleep is bad for our health. But what exactly can we do about it? As well as general tips such as restricting the use of electronic devices before bedtime and trying relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, CBD oil may be a natural solution for ongoing sleep disorders that’s worth trying.
One of the main reasons people take CBD is to reduce stress levels and ease anxiety; which also happen to be one of the main causes of sleep disruption and insomnia. We know that CBD activates the 5-HTP1 serotonin receptor, which scientists believe explains CBD’s anti-anxiety effect. And remember the stress hormone cortisol? CBD has also been found to interfere with cortisol secretion, causing sensations of sedation.
When it comes to pain relief, CBD oil is also getting lots of attention due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. So if it’s aching joints that are waking you up in the early hours, CBD oil could just be the ticket to getting a better night’s sleep.
And remember the endocannabinoid system - the master regulator keeping all our biological activity on an even keel? While CBD doesn’t directly activate either of the endocannabinoid receptors, it does strengthen the endocannabinoid system by increasing levels of anandamide, the body’s own ‘feel good’ compound, named after the sanskrit word for bliss.
What Does Science Say About CBD And Sleep?
Part of sleeping well is feeling drowsy when it’s time to go to bed and wakeful when it’s time to get on with our daily business. Indeed, a common symptom associated with sleep disorders is feeling sleepy during the day. Encouragingly, preclinical studies on rodents have found that CBD modulates their sleep, increasing alertness in daylight hours. This is certainly good news if you’re often nodding off at your desk.
CBD has also been found to improve the symptoms of REM behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s, a condition when patients become physically active during REM sleep, sometimes kicking out and causing themselves harm.
And finally, a case study based on the experiences of a ten year old girl with anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia, found her quality of sleep greatly improved after taking CBD oil.
How To Take CBD Oil For Sleep
CBD oil is a very personal experience and there is no one-size-fits-all advice for CBD and sleep. Some people find low CBD doses create greater alertness and concentration, while others experience the opposite. It’s advisable then, when trying CBD for a sleep disorder, to avoid taking CBD immediately before bedtime.
We recommend choosing a full spectrum CBD oil, that contains not only CBD, but all the active molecules found in the hemp plant, such as minor cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. Mtiva whole plant CBD oils are extracted from US grown, organic hemp. All our CBD products come with independent lab reports proving not only CBD levels, but that they are free from unwanted nasties such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mold.
Ultimately, only you will know if CBD oil can help you achieve better sleep. The evidence is certainly promising and gives hope to the millions of Americans desperate for a peaceful night’s sleep. If you’re interested in trying CBD for your sleep disorder, take a look at our online CBD store or speak to our customer service team who will be delighted to guide you on your CBD journey.