CBD and Sleep - A Look at the Options
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CBD is still super popular in the wellness sphere and its fans claim that it does everything from soothe anxiety to aid in fitness recovery.
But could it help you get a better night's sleep?
|Photo by David Mao on Unsplash|
Studies on CBD and sleep are mixed, but promising. A 2017 study concluded that “CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behaviour disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness” while a 2020 clinical review said that there was “promising preliminary evidence” and called for more research into those suffering with “sleep apnea, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder-related nightmares, restless legs syndrome, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, and narcolepsy.”
So how does it work?
OK so firstly, CBD won't get you high. CBD products in the UK can’t legally contain more than 0.2% of THC which is the natural compound that causes the ‘high’ effect. However, CBD itself can do magic and interact with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies and influence mood, our nervous system and inflammation levels.
As someone who regularly takes CBD oil for anxiety, I feel as if for me, it helps to skim off all the physical anxiety - the butterflies in your stomach, overthinking and shakiness. I'm still able to think about my worries, but it just helps me calm down, breathe and focus.
So if CBD can calm physical reactions to stress, then surely it can have a more relaxing effect in the evening, when we’re getting ready to sleep. Personally I have found a difference in my quality of sleep since I started taking it.
Options for CBD and Sleep
Although many people, like me, report benefits anecdotally, the science still needs to catch up. Until then, there's a lot of information to be found on using CBD for sleep - consider looking at these options, too.
Super easy to take. Just drop a pipette-full of the oil under your tongue (doses are on the bottle) and leave to absorb for around 60 seconds before swallowing. Different flavours are available - I’ve seen natural, lemon, peppermint or orange-flavoured oils. For sleep, I’d recommend the natural or peppermint flavour if taking in the evening as citrussy flavours can seem to refresh and wake you up.
CBD infused drinks
Some herbal teas come infused with CBD. One blend I tried had rose petals in, which was perfect for a soothing bedtime. Steer clear of black teas and caffeinated coffee - even if it’s advertised as CBD-infused - as the caffeine can interfere with your sleep cycle and maybe even make you more stressed out. Similarly, CBD-infused sugary or alcoholic drinks might seem like a good idea, but both can mess with your sleep rhythms, too.
Just like sweets, these CBD-infused gummies are portable, handy and everyone will just think you're snacking on a regular gummy - but be wary about taking too close to bedtime as sugar can energize rather than soothe. There are also limits on how many gummies you can take per day.
Vaping, lotions and diffuser oils
Not personally one I’ve used, but I know some people swear by vaping. Caffeine and sugar-free, it also gets to work very quickly and efficiently in the body and is widely available. You can also buy essential oils infused with CBD to put in your household diffuser that contain calming fragrances like lavender and sandalwood, or CBD can be found in some bath products, creams and salves that you can apply to your skin for a relaxing massage.
It’s worth mentioning that you can try any of these CBD products alongside other lifestyle-related tweaks to your bedtime routine to increase your likelihood of a better night’s sleep. You can find more of these in my post on Tips to Get A Good Night's Sleep. And do have a chat with your doctor to make sure it's right for you, as it has been known to interact with some medicines.
So, CBD and sleep. The science still needs to catch up on CBD, and we need to learn more about how it affects our sleep cycles and the effects of potential long-term use. But the research is promising, anecdotal evidence is certainly growing and there are a lot of options available if you'd like to give it a try.