Whether you’re dealing with discomfort, time of month challenges, stress, or all of the above (we are in the midst of a global pandemic, after all), you might be considering the benefits of cannabidiol, or CBD. One of over 150 naturally-occurring compounds (aka “cannabinoids”) found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, CBD has been linked to an array of benefits, such as regulating mood and substance-abuse disorders or hardening of a bone after a fracture. But there is one incredibly common health woe that people are increasingly relying on it for: sleep disorders.
Up to 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic sleep problems each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while there are more than 80 different sleep disorders out there, difficulty falling or staying asleep is the most common. Thankfully, CBD has shown promise in aiding sleep.
How To Use CBD To Aid Sleep
Here’s what you need to know about how CBD can improve your sleep.
Why It’s So Hard to Get Quality Rest Right Now
While the hectic schedule most women in America juggle could lead to compromised sleep at any time, getting quality sleep has been especially tricky during this challenging time 2020, attests Haley Hansen, Equilibria Dosage Specialist. “We talk with women who are working from home and homeschooling their kids,” says Hansen. “And after-work can come with its own challenges.”
This translates to many women finding that they are having trouble falling asleep. Because it is so tough to unwind or turn off their racing mind from the busy workday. Other women have trouble staying asleep, says Hansen. “They’re so exhausted from the day that they’re able to fall right to sleep for a few hours. But then they get up around 2 or 3 a.m. and start worrying or planning for the next day,” she notes. “It seems like this pattern is very common in 2020: falling asleep for a few hours, then waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble going back to sleep.”
The Relationship Between the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Sleep
While managing to get a good night’s rest could feel nearly impossible for so many of us right now, the good news is that balancing your endocannanbinoid system (ECS) with CBD could very well be the key to bolstering your sleep-wake cycle. Here’s the scoop.
Your ECS is a system of receptors, spread across the various systems in the body, and it plays a crucial role in regulating a broad range of physiological processes that affect your everyday experience — from your mood to energy level, your immune activity, and how you experience discomfort, stress, hunger, and more. According to ProjectCBD, Italian scientist Vicenzo DiMarzo summarized the broad regulatory function of the endocannabinoid system in the phrase “Eat, sleep, relax, protect and forget.”
At the same time, your circadian rhythms are overseeing a bevy of physiological processes. Like hormone production, heart rate, and metabolism. As well as how you fall asleep, stay asleep, wake up, and remain awake.
There’s evidence that the two systems work together. Researchers have found that anandamide and 2-AG — two cannabis-like chemicals that are produced naturally in the brain — fluctuate in the sleep-wake cycle. So do metabolic enzymes that create and break down these compounds.
According to ProjectCBD, anandamide is present in the brain at higher levels at night. And it works with the endogenous neurotransmitters oleamide and adenosine to generate sleep. And 2-AG works like your body’s own natural caffeine. As its levels rise during the day, promoting wakefulness.
But as women age, levels of these compounds might drop drastically (especially after menopause. But also due to autoimmune disorders, genetics, fertility/childbirth, etc.), which is why adding a phytocannabinoid—aka CBD—can be so beneficial.
CBD & Sleep: What Studies Have Shown
Interest in CBD as a sleep aid dates back to the 18th century when cannabis was actually referred to as a “narcotica” and “anodyna”. Or drowsiness-inducing pain reliever, in the acclaimed medical reference Materia Medica. Today, we have published research to back up its usefulness when it comes to getting quality rest—and more of it.
A long-term study of sleep quality published in The Permanente Journal assessed CBD use in people with ongoing stress. More subjects self-reported experiencing improved sleep compared to poorer sleep. The subjects who benefited noted decreased nighttime sleep interruptions and increased total sleep time.
Other research has shown CBD to be especially effective in addressing REM sleep behavior disorder—which causes you to physically act out vivid, often unpleasant dreams—and excessive daytime sleepiness. And in 2019, participants in a comprehensive research study by Project CBD found that:
- CBD helped them get to sleep more quickly. Reducing the average time from about an hour to 20 minutes.
- They also reported waking up much less often: 1.4 times per night versus 4.3 or about a third as many times.
- Without CBD, almost three-quarters of participants reported waking up tired; with CBD, 9% reported waking up tired.
CBD and Sleep Success
Anecdotal evidence supports CBD’s power as a sleep aid, as well. Hansen found she didn’t have trouble nodding off initially. But she would then wake at 2 a.m. and struggle to fall back asleep.
“I would have all kinds of thoughts and worries whirling through my brain,” she recalls. “I struggled with this for years — typically reading in the middle of the night or watching a Netflix show in an attempt to fall back asleep. This was just my pattern. And I thought, ‘Well, this must be how adults sleep.’”
But after “hopping on the CBD train” and began taking a 10mg Softgel after her evening meal, Hansen found she was able to get a solid 8 hours in. “I almost cried actually. Because if you’ve ever gone days on end without good quality rest, you know how it can affect everything from your workday to your home life,” she notes.
Hansen says her whole family has now found CBD to benefit their sleep, sharing, “I introduced everyone from my sisters to my mom to my aunt to CBD. And everyone has a little different sleep blueprint.”
Finding a CBD Product That Gets You on Your Way to Better Sleep
If you’re interested in trying CBD for sleep, you’ll do well to give your individualized protocol a bit of time to kick in. “Since CBD is balancing out your body’s own natural processes, it can take time for our body to calibrate itself toward a deep, restorative night’s sleep,” explains Hansen.
She’s found that for women who are struggling to get quality rest, the Balance Box is a great place to start, as it features both the Daily Drops and the Daily Softgels. “Many members find relief with our one-two punch routine,” says Hansen. “That’s when you take a Softgel after dinnertime (10mg or 25mg) and one full dropper (10mg/1ml) right before bed. Both products are used at night to help you wind down and stay at rest through the night.”
And for so many people who are working from home these days, struggling to create solid boundaries between work life and home life, Hansen suggests taking a small dose of CBD after work (such as 1/2 Dropper). And then taking the other 1/2 Dropper right as you head off to sleep. “I find that a staggered dose like this often can help us unwind and tell our body and brain that It’s OK to relax. You’re safe, and now it’s time to enjoy the night,” she says.
The Bottom Line on CBD and Sleep
Given the science and rave reviews, anyone suffering from sleep woes would do well to reach for CBD. And no matter what your unique plan looks like, Hansen emphasizes the importance of giving it time to recalibrate your ECS to encourage more consistent, restorative sleep.
In other words, sticking to your regimen is key. “Our core belief is that daily and consistent use is the key to success with any CBD routine,” Hansen notes. “Pick a time of day to take your Softgel (or Daily Drops) and stick with it for 5-7 days and then speak with a dosage specialist.”
If you would like guidance as you navigate the routine that’s best for you, be sure to work with Equilibria’s team of Dosage Specialists who can help you identify a personalized game plan.