CAN CBD HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER? Everyone knows we need sleep. Yet, for some, it remains so elusive. The condition where one is dissatisfied with the quantity or quality of their sleep is called insomnia and it can have many causes. And the problem is widespread, as one in four Americans experiences insomnia at some point each year, and 60 million Americans are suffering from chronic sleep difficulty. Perhaps you’ve heard that CBD oil may be able to help with insomnia.
Let’s start by discussing what causes insomnia. For some, it’s poor sleep habits, like not maintaining a regular sleep schedule or staring at the blue light from your phone while your body is trying to wind down. But for others, insomnia can be due to conditions, like anxiety, and in others, it may not have any identifiable cause whatsoever. Insomnia is so common that several pharmaceuticals have been created to help people with sleep. However, many of these medications come with serious side effects. Luckily, research has shown that CBD, a natural substance, can significantly help improve sleep without these side effects.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the compounds found in cannabis. It’s different from the compound THC, which is the substance responsible for the high commonly associated with marijuana. CBD won’t get you high, but it has some of the same properties that can have significantly positive impacts on your sleep. Scientists have found that taking CBD can increase the total amount of sleep and also decrease the number of times subjects woke up in the middle of the night.
How does it work? Well, CBD acts on a type of receptor in the brain called 5-HT1A. These receptors trigger the release and re-uptake of serotonin. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Through its actions on the 5-HT1A receptor, CBD can increase serotonin levels, thereby resulting in higher levels of melatonin, and as a result, improve sleep. In fact, one of the few side effects CBD users have noticed if they take too much is some increased sleepiness. On the other hand, most prescription sleep medications act on the GABA receptors in the brain, which control our levels of alertness. These medications have side effects ranging from memory disturbances to hallucinations to sleepwalking.
So what kind of CBD oil should you be using to try to improve your sleep and how much should you use? Well, let’s start with the type of CBD oil. CBD oil can be extracted from hemp plants or marijuana plants. The difference is that the CBD extracted from hemp has little to no THC in it. Aside from being the component in marijuana that causes the high, THC, when taken over a long period of time, can have negative effects on the circadian rhythm, cause delays in sleep onset, and lead to daytime sleepiness.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that if you’re taking CBD for sleep, you aim to get CBD that has zero THC in it. A good CBD oil will have the percentage of THC written on the label so you can make an informed purchase. Now, as for how much CBD you should take, there are some guidelines, but your experience may vary as everyone absorbs CBD differently based on their metabolism and their size, among other factors.
However, studies have found some common patterns among CBD dosing in regards to how effective it can be for insomnia. For example, they actually found that low-dose CBD can negatively impact sleep, while mid-range and high-dose CBD positively affects sleep.
In a study where subjects were given different doses from 40 milligrams to 160 milligrams, the 160 milligram dose was the one found to increase sleep duration and quality.
So while I usually suggest starting low and going slow in regards to figuring out what dose of CBD works for you, in this instance you may want to start with a slightly higher dose because it turns out that in the studies the most common side effect was sleepiness, which may be just the thing you’re going for. So if you overshoot, the side effect may be exactly what you’re seeking.
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