CBD and Sleep

Sunday, September 27, 2020 • 10 minute read

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep is crucial, and we all need it to function both physically and mentally. From time to time everyone has those frustratingly restless nights and we can put up with a poor night's sleep occasionally, but when this becomes the norm, life becomes more and more difficult.

Research by the Royal Society for Public Health found that most people need 7.7 hours of sleep a night, but typically only sleep 6.8 hours a night 1. This makes the UK a sleep-deprived country.

The number of hours you sleep is important but so the ‘quality’, it is vital to ensure you wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the world. Quality of sleep is measured by the number of sleep cycles you complete throughout the night. Waking up due to sleep apnoea, stress, or noise can all contribute to poor quality sleep.

According to the Rechtschaffen and Kales manual, there are five stages of sleep:

Stage One

This is light sleep and we can wake up easily. Our eyes move slowly and muscle activity decreases.

Stage Two

During this stage, our body prepares for deep sleep. Brain waves and eye movement slows down, heart rate decreases, and our body temperature reduces

Stage Three

We are entering a deep sleep. Very slow brain waves called delta waves are present with faster brain waves. Muscle activity is lower during this stage

Stage Four

We are now in a very deep sleep. Our brain is predominantly producing slow delta waves and we are breathing rhythmically.

Stage Five (REM sleep)

We dream during REM sleep. Our eyes move rapidly, blood pressure and heart rate increases, and the brain becomes more active.

All the stages and their effects of the body help towards a good quality night’s rest.

What are the signs that I might not be getting enough sleep?

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Yawning
  • Irritability and negativity
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Increased appetite
  • Cravings for high carbohydrate foods

How can CBD help my sleep?

CBD may help sleep because it acts on our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is understood to be involved in the regulation of the 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain, cycling through wakefulness and tiredness at regular intervals. This cycle of regulation is called the circadian sleep-wake cycle 2.

CBD at high doses has been shown to have a sedating effect. A study involving people with insomnia showed that 160mg per day of CBD increased total sleep time and improved the quality of their sleep 3. Other animal studies have focused on how the use of CBD can affect the time between falling asleep and entering the first REM sleep stage. CBD has been shown to reset sleep patterns leading to longer periods of uninterrupted sleep 4. Finally, a recent case report showed that CBD oil may help to relieve nightmares caused by PTSD 5 6

How can I take CBD to help my sleep?

CBD Element recommends starting with a medium total daily dose and increasing slowly. This is because low doses have been found to cause wakefulness 7.

We recommend using the CBD Element dosage calculator as a guide. Everyone responds to CBD differently, so try experimenting with different dosages and timings, keeping a sleep journal to track your progress. Make sure to include other factors in your journal such as time and amount of caffeine and alcohol drunk, amount of exercise as well as the time of last meal. Write a subjective account of how you feel in the morning. For example, 'I feel awesome,' or 'I hate Mondays!'. This will help you optimize your condition for the best possible night's sleep. Below are some handy tips to get you sleeping like a baby.

What else can I do to help my sleep?

Check out these Lifestyle tips that the NHS recommends for beating insomnia;

1. Keep it regular

Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends! This will regulate your body clock.

2. Set the mood

Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Temperature, lighting, and noise should be controlled so that your bedroom environment helps you to fall, and stay, asleep. Use blackout curtains to keep the room dark and use earplugs to keep out unwanted noise.

3. Comfy bed

It’s difficult to get restful sleep on a mattress that's too soft or too hard, or a bed that's too small or old. Also, your bed must only be used for 2 things - sex and sleeping.

**4. Exercise **

Moderate exercise regularly, such as swimming, running or walking. This relieves some of the tension we build up over the day. However, avoid strenuous activity too close to bedtime.

**5. Cut down on caffeine **

Reduce consumption of caffeinated drinks especially in the evening. Caffeine interferes with the process of falling asleep and prevents deep sleep. Instead, have a warm, herbal tea and some CBD.

**6. Don’t overdo it **

Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but your quality of sleep will be poor.

7. No smoking

Nicotine is a stimulant. People who smoke take longer to fall asleep, wake up more frequently, and often have more disrupted sleep. If you do smoke, have your last cigarette at least an hour before going to bed.

**8. Get a routine **

Have a warm bath, listen to some chilled music, or do some gentle yoga to relax your body and mind. All these things can help you wind down and get your body ready for sleep.

**9. Make notes **

If you tend to lie in bed thinking about everything you must do tomorrow, set aside time before bed to make plans for the next day.

10. Limit Screen Time

If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it! Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

11. Don’t toss and turn

If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it! Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

Is there anything else I need to know about CBD and sleep?

The research on cannabinoids and sleep is in its early stages. Larger studies with more controls are needed to unpick the true potential of CBD, and determine the long- term effects of using it. However, preliminary studies as a reference in this article have shown the potential of CBD in tackling this problem. Furthermore, tiredness was a reported side effect from the clinical trials of the medical licensed CBD product, Epidoilex. 8

The connection between cannabinoids and the circadian sleep-wake cycle also highlights the importance of continual research into this area to work out precise timings and doses.

We believe the acceptance of CBD as a sleep aid will grow as more research is carried out. CBD is not a one size fits all wonder-drug, but people have found that CBD use alongside other established lifestyle changes has helped them sleep longer and feel more energized.

If you want to take CBD, we suggest choosing one of CBD Element’s carefully selected brands to ensure you are getting a safe, high-quality product.

So next time you’re getting ready to bed, try a warm shower, kicking back with a book, and taking some CBD, so you can wake up feeling like a rockstar!

References

  1. Royal Society for Public Health. ‘Public missing out on a night’s worth of sleep every week’. (https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/public-missing-out-on-a-night-s-worth-of-sleep-every-week.html)

  2. Linda K Vaugh, et al. ‘Endocannabinoid Signalling: Has It Got Rhythm?’. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20590563/) (2010)

  3. E A Carlini, and J M Cunha. ‘Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol’. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7028792/) (1981)

  4. Yi-Tse Hsiao, Pei-Lu Yi, Chia-Ling Li, Fang-Chia Chang. ‘Effect of Cannabidiol on Sleep Disruption Induced by the Repeated Combination Tests Consisting of Open Field and Elevated Plus-Maze in Rats’. ( (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21867717/) (2012)

  5. Nirushi Kuhathasan, et al. ‘The Use of Cannabinoids for Sleep: A Critical Review of Clinical Trials’. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31120284/) (2019)

  6. Kimberly A Babson, Hames Sottile, Danielle Morabito. ‘Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature’. (https://www.med.upenn.edu/cbti/assets/user-content/documents/s11920-017-0775-9.pdf#page=11&zoom=100,0,0) (2017)

  7. Eric Murillo-Rodriguez, et al. ‘Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent’. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/) (2014)

  8. ‘Epidyolex 100mg/ml oral solution’ (https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/10781/pi)