When people struggle to get enough sleep, they are often willing to do anything to get a restful night’s sleep.
From meditation, reading and melatonin to exercise, lavender and strict routines, the list of things that are meant to send us off to sleep is as long as it is mostly full of things that rarely actually help.
Since the rise in popularity of CBD oil, you may have heard from many different sources that it’s an excellent sleep aid, but is it the real deal or just another fad?
In this article we’ll cover:
- Does CBD oil help you sleep?
- When to take CBD for sleep
- Does CBD make you sleepy?
- How much CBD oil should you use for sleep?
Join us as we ignore the rumours and focus on the science of how CBD works to figure out the answer to a simple question:
Does CBD help you sleep?
What's in this Guide?
Can CBD Oil Help You Sleep?
First things first, while studies into the question “does CBD help sleep” are in early days and need extensive further investigation, so far, the majority of scientists have said yes, especially when it comes to CBD for sleep and anxiety.
Here are just a few studies into CBD for sleep in the UK & beyond that found positive results:
CBD impacts the circadian clock
One study found that CBD affects the circadian clock. The circadian rhythm is how our bodies know to sleep at night, and wake in the morning. Not only that, but our cells also follow this rhythm – meaning a lot of repair happens in our bodies during the night.
As a result, not only can CBD help us sleep better, but our internal processes become healthier as well.
Cannabidiol can improve disruptive sleep
This study found that for those suffering from REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder, CBD was able to reduce the frequency of these events. This disorder leads people to act out their dreams, often with violent hand and leg movements and shouting.
This is very disruptive to their sleep, as well as anyone in the same bed or nearby.
CBD oil can help you wake up in the morning
Do you find that the worst part of sleeping is waking up in the morning? If so, then this study found that CBD can be used to promote alertness. The researchers also suggested from their study that cannabidiol could have therapeutic uses for sleep disorders.
Cannabidiol can increase the time spent asleep
Another study on rats found that cannabidiol significantly increased the amount of time spent sleeping, compared to lower doses and no CBD at all. If staying asleep is your problem, you may find that a dose of cannabidiol before bed will help keep your sleep more stable, and therefore more restful.
Research into hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol also found that those taking CBD before bed slept significantly more than the placebo volunteers. The volunteers taking CBD also reported less dream recall – indicating that they are more likely to be going through the healthy later stages of sleep before waking, rather than waking up immediately after REM sleep.
CBD oil can make sleeping with chronic pain easier
A study into cannabidiol for pain relief found that taking CBD made sleep for those with chronic pain easier because of its pain relief effects. This is highly important for those that regularly struggle
- Read more in our article about using CBD for pain
Overall, CBD is popular and effective
A recent review of existing literature found that CBD is both a popular and effective treatment for insomnia which could help reduce daytime sleepiness and promote REM sleep.
It was found to be particularly helpful to people who struggle to sleep due to anxiety, with a review of adults suffering from anxiety and poor sleep finding that anxiety scores improved in 79.2% of subjects and sleep scores improving in 66.7% with no negative side effects or downsides recorded.
How Does CBD Oil Help You Sleep?
Of course, it’s one thing to hear that CBD oil sleep studies are successful, but to truly understand how CBD oil and sleep interact, we have to look at the endocannabinoid system.
The ECS was only discovered in 1964, and we are only now beginning to truly understand how it helps manage the body’s functions and maintain homeostasis.
However, it works via interacting with different cannabinoids in the body and each cannabinoid has its own specific effect when it acts as a “key” attaching itself to the “locks” of our cannabinoid receptors.
This is important to note because the answer to “will CBD oil help me sleep” lies more in how CBD interacts with our serotonin receptors and GABA receptors than it does in CBD itself, making this a completely different situation to, for example, melatonin.
These receptors, in particular, are important because GABA is an ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter which essentially means that it manages stress in the brain, reducing excess activity and encouraging a state of calm and relaxation.
GABA receptors are targeted by benzodiazepines due to their involvement in reducing both stress and anxiety.
Serotonin also plays a major part in mood and anxiety, so it should come as no surprise that CBD shows signs of helping calm us down and remove tension.
This is interesting because whereas melatonin supplements work by convincing the brain that it’s bedtime by increasing the levels of melatonin in the body, CBD oil works by directly encouraging relaxation and combating anxiety.
This means that, while melatonin might be great for the average person who just needs help going off to sleep once in a while, it is going to do little to nothing to combat the underlying problems causing insomnia in people who suffer from it long term.
CBD is likely to be much more beneficial for these people due to the overall feeling of relaxation and lack of stress it helps to create.
Does CBD Make You Drowsy?
Often, when taking supplements or medication to help us sleep, this is our next major concern.
Will I wake up in the morning feeling groggy?
If I take it too early will I fall asleep?
Can I drive after using it?
In many instances this is a real concern, for example, sleeping medications like Promethazine really can make you fall asleep in the middle of the day.
Melatonin can make you drowsy since it works by signalling to your brain that it’s bedtime – and this drowsiness can continue into the next day.
However, since CBD oil works with the body’s pre-existing systems to promote feelings of relaxation and calm, it is fairly unlikely to make you feel drowsy or dazed.
In fact, taking CBD for sleep is likely to calm the constant internal voices experienced by those suffering from anxiety but other than that you are unlikely to notice anything except waking up feeling more rested.
How to Take CBD for Sleep
CBD is popular among those looking to treat insomnia because it is so far suggested to be light on side effects and interactions with other drugs, whereas this is not the case for other sleeping medications.
- If you’ve never taken CBD before, our guide on How To Take CBD should help you
Following these tips will help you get the rest you deserve while minimising any other potential risks or issues:
Only use CBD oil when necessary
When people first start taking CBD to help with sleep, they often experience a much more consistent and natural sleep than they have previously with other medications.
This can encourage some people to begin taking it every night in order to get as much sleep as possible.
This isn’t the best idea because if you get accustomed to sleeping with CBD every night, it may begin to lose its effectiveness, or you may find you’re struggling to sleep without it, having been so used to getting that extra bit of help.
This is easily avoided by being deliberate about when to take CBD for sleep and not using CBD when it isn’t necessary.
Maintain a healthy sleep routine
As you can see, it seems CBD can aid a good night’s sleep, but it shouldn’t be treated as a crutch or a way to avoid worrying about good sleep habits.
Following these simple tips will make sleep come much more naturally and increase the effectiveness of your CBD:
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings
- Avoid bright screens such as smartphones or laptops for an hour before bed
- Maintain a regular sleeping pattern including your daily routine before bed
- Exercise regularly and eat well
Choose your method of ingestion
Vaping CBD e-liquids takes effect quicker meaning you may also fall asleep quicker, but it also wears off quicker and could lead to restless sleep or insomnia later in the night.
CBD oil drops take longer to have an effect but also last for longer, meaning they are likely to give you a more consistent, restful sleep.
Different people may find different methods of taking CBD to be more effective for sleep depending on their unique situations, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little and see what works for you.
Of course, the next question is, how many drops of CBD oil should you take for sleep?
How Much CBD Oil Should I Use for Sleep?
Different CBD oil products, different people’s sleeping habits, and cannabinoid receptors that are unique between different people, all combine to mean there is no single correct dosage.
In other words, you may find that the best route to find out your ideal dosage is to start with one drop per night.
If that helps, just stick with it, but if it doesn’t, you can increase the dosage slightly each night until you find your personal sweet spot.
As a rough guide, this study found that the ideal CBD dosage for sleep disorders or insomnia was between 40 and 160mg per day.
What is the Best CBD For Sleep
When it comes to looking for the best CBD for sleep in the UK (or elsewhere), there are two main things you need to look for.
The first is Full Spectrum CBD Oil.
This is essentially CBD oil that is extracted from the hemp plant in its entirety, which means that along with CBD, it includes the full range of 113 cannabinoids as well as other beneficial ingredients from the hemp plant such as omega-3, omega-6, terpenes, flavonoids, and even a range of vitamins & minerals.
This is important because most of these things can be beneficial for sleep and they all work together to provide the full ‘entourage effect’ of the CBD plant in all its glory, interacting with our endocannabinoid systems in countless positive ways.
Some CBD products are simply made of CBD isolate, meaning they contain 99% CBD but nothing else from the hemp plant. These are generally only useful for vaping and will be much less effective for sleep management than broad spectrum CBD Oil.
To read more about this, take a look at our guide on the differences between hemp vs CBD oil.
The other major thing to look out for is evidence that the brand is creating it’s CBD products ethically.
For example, a CBD company that is really invested in the quality of products should be able to provide quality guarantees, should only sell organic products made from 100% natural ingredients, should laboratory test their CBD oil (and provide access to the results), etc.
Since CBD is rising rapidly in popularity, there are unfortunately some brands who are lazily rushing badly produced products to market in order to profit as quickly as possible.
You should do your research and make sure you are purchasing CBD oil from a legitimate company who is in it for the long haul, for the love of CBD itself, and doing everything they can to provide a top-shelf product.
Interested in trying CBD oil for sleep for yourself? Our sleep oil is specially formulated with passionflower to promote a healthy rest.