How to use CBD for Sleep and Insomnia

The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the primary homeostatic regulator of human physiology and plays a major role in the sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms. CBD for sleep and insomnia affects the CB1 and CB2, the cannabinoid receptors located in the brain, immune cells, metabolic tissue, and the peripheral nervous system. CBD is proving to be beneficial and an apt alternate to prescription drugs used to treat people suffering from sleep deprivation and sleep disorders.

Americans spent $3.38 billion in 2016 on prescription sedatives, OTC sleep drugs, hypnotics and herbal sleep aids. And the trend seems to be increasingly at an alarming rate, 10,000 deaths per year are directly related to consuming hypnotic drugs. Also, the use of opioids combined with hypnotics can be extremely dangerous, especially in combination with alcohol and other drugs. Many of these drugs can be addictive, can cause liver toxicity and fatal respiratory suppression. 

Understanding Insomnia and sleep disorders:

The number one reported medical complaint in the U.S. and a serious health concern is a lack of sleep or poor sleep. An average adult needs between 8-9 hours of sleep per day. Over 60% Americans adults suffer from different types of sleeping disorders. The most common being insomnia- inability to fall or stay asleep, sleep apnea- impaired breathing while sleeping and parasomnias- abnormal movements and activities while sleeping, including nightmares and sleep walking.

Poor sleep patterns cause physiological changes in the body such as  decreased energy, aggravated pain and inflammation, slow reaction times, overeating or craving for high-fat, high-calorie “comfort” foods. Lack of proper sleep results in chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, cognitive impairment, depression, hallucinations and memory lapses, and strokes.

Sleep is essential for health, the inactive state of sleep is a dynamic and critical process that helps build immunity, repair tissue, store memories, regulate blood pressure and metabolism, control blood sugar and appetite along with a myriad of other physiological processes. “It helps to remove toxins from the brain that builds up while you are awake”, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Use of CBD for Sleep and Insomnia

To understand how CBD can help improve sleep, we must first understand what can be the possible causes of poor sleep. Insomnia can be caused by

  • Mental health disorders includes anxiety, depression, PTSD
  • Physical conditions: chronic pains and restless leg syndrome
  • Environmental factors: loud noises, uncomfortable surroundings, and travelling
  • Medications: can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle
  • Caffeine: Too much caffeinated drinks throughout the day.

Studies indicate that CBD can ease chronic pains, and lower anxiety and depression levels. A research published in 2019 studied 25 patients experiencing poor sleep and 47 patients suffering from anxiety who were administered 25mg of CBD in capsule form every day. After a month, 66.7% reported better sleep and 79.2% lower anxiety levels.

A preliminary study examined the efficacy of CBD in patients with Parkinson’s disease and RBD (REM behavior disorder). CBD shows promise as a safe and effective way to regulate the sleep cycle. RBD is characterized by acting out of intense, vivid and sometimes violent dreams. High dose CBD can decrease nighttime sleep disturbances and improve quality and duration of sleep.

The use of Cannabinoids in treating post-traumatic stress disorder showed 5mg of smoked Cannabis extract twice a day results in improved sleep. It also reduces the frequency of nightmares, but the question arises ‘Can Cannabis cause addiction in PTSD patients?’ Surprisingly, CBD is non-psychoactive, and does not cause addiction.

The ECS helps forget painful memories, when this system does not work properly, cannabinoids provide relief to PTSD sufferers in making sense of their traumatic memories and begin the healing process. Many military veterans and sexual abuse victims’ use CBD oils as a safe and efficient method to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Though the exact mechanism by which CBD helps in treating grogginess, excessive daytime sleepiness and the cause of sleeplessness is unclear, the effects are clearly visible. CBD can help people fall asleep as well as stay awake.

How to use CBD?

The use of broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD extract that includes terpenes, and other cannabinoids produce an ‘entourage effect’. The sedating or stimulating effects help address pain and sleep issues. Generally, vaping is the most effective method for producing rapid effect. 

The best methods for taking CBD include vaping, as pills and capsules, as oil and tinctures and edibles like gummies. The dosage will depend on your weight, the type of sleeping problem and body chemistry. Most clinical trials involve administering between 25mg to 1500mg of CBD per day. It’s best to start with a low dose and gradually increase to find the optimal dose. 

Some of the best CBD products for sleep includes:

  1. Charlotte’s Web: Maximum Strength CBD Oil and Gummies
  2. Joy Organics Lavender CBD Bath Bombs
  3. Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
  4. Spruce Rest: Best CBD + CBN oil
  5. Fab CBD Oil
  6. CBD Distillery Sleep Tincture and CBD Distillery CBD PM Gummies
  7. Prima Sleep Tight Soft gels

Apart from using CBD products for improving sleep and insomnia, adopting a few practical tips can also help such as:

  • Exercise daily: Walking, jogging, yoga, tai chi, aerobics, do some form of exercise at least two hours a day
  • Use sleep supporting herbs: Kava, German Chamomile, Valerian, Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, California Poppy, and calming minerals induce sleep.
  • Try aromatherapy and other therapies: Lavender essential oil can help with certain sleep disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, and bright light therapy for circadian rhythm disorders are safe holistic alternatives.
  • Follow a sleep routine: Go to bed at the same time every day. Maintain a routine, a warm cup of milk or green ta 45 minutes before bedtime, an Epsom Salt bath and few simple yoga stretches is helpful for a relaxing bedtime routine.  
  • Create a sleep environment: Avoid overstimulation; do not use your phone, laptop or watch television at bedtime. Have a comfortable bed, reduce noise, and salt lamps may help in inducing sleep.
  • Avoid stimulants: Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and drugs can make you feel hyper or overstimulated and should be kept in moderation.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety and have insomnia due to these underlying reasons, CBD oils, CBD Bath bombs, CBD tinctures and gummies can definitely help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to consult your doctor for any drug interactions CBD can cause, and also choose a high quality, residue free organic product the delivers the optimal amount of CBD.

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