When’s the last time you can say you’ve had a decent sleep where you wake up feeling totally rested and ready to take on the day? Our guess is that at times, a good sleep is hard to come by.
Modern society is full of pressures that often come to a head when we’re laying in bed at night trying to quiet our minds so that we can drift off into a peaceful state. For some, it’s impossible to first, get to sleep, second, stay asleep, and third, reach the REM cycle our bodies need to actually get rest.
Sleep plays an important role in our physical and mental health and overall well-being. While we sleep, our body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain our physical well-being. Sleep is an integral process the body needs to go through to promote growth and development, proper immune functioning, balance hormones, solidify memory, and other critical functions.
Experts recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, which is a decent amount of time of one’s day to stay unconscious. Individuals who get six hours of sleep or less are at a higher risk for a number of health challenges, including cognitive decline, yet even though we all know the importance of sleep, many adults fail to get sufficient sleep in both duration and quality.
Poor sleeping habits are an epidemic facing America. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of adults report having at least one insufficient sleep at least once a month, while 11% report insufficient sleep every night. A quarter of adults report insufficient sleep at least half of the month.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is simply the condition of not getting enough sleep. Initially, sleep deprivation causes symptoms such as drowsiness, inability to concentrate, impaired memory, diminished ability to fight off infections, and other concerning symptoms. If sleep deprivation persists over time, it can have more damaging impacts. Sleep deprivation puts people at risk for developing depression and other mental illnesses, as well as health conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
There are a lot of bad habits that humans can get themselves into that could lead to sleep deprivation, including over-stimulation from screens, or drinking caffeine or eating sugar too close to bedtime.
Sleep deprivation can also be the result of a sleep disorder such as; sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and other serious sleep conditions.
Everyone needs sleep, which is why more people are turning to CBD oil for sleep as they hear more about CBD’s potential to significantly affect and improve their nighttime woes.
The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) exists in all mammals and is thought to be one of the best-kept secrets in cannabinoid medicine, yet the cannabis community has been shouting about the importance of the ECS for decades.
The ECS is connected to all of our major organs and bodily systems, and it works to maintain homeostasis in the body through regulating important functions like mood, sleep, appetite, and other critical functions. The ECS contains two main cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2, which help deliver cannabinoids to the parts of the body that need them most.
Research surrounding the ECS and sleep focus on two main aspects of sleep: the sleep-wake cycle as well as sleep homeostasis (or sleep balance). Cannabinoids and sleep are being researched in harmony because it is believed that the endocannabinoid system is involved in the sleep-wake cycle as well as sleep homeostasis.
The process of sleep homeostasis is complementary to but not necessarily connected to the body’s circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is that natural body process that lets us know to sleep when it’s dark outside, and wake with the light and the sun.
Sleep homeostasis is the process involved in ensuring our bodies get enough sleep through signaling that sleep is necessary when someone is sleep-deprived, or when the body naturally extends one’s sleep in order to compensate for lost rest.
Further research shows that the cannabinoid receptor, CB1, is an integral part of sleep regulation and that activation of the CB1 receptor can induce sleep in animal models.
A Scan of the Current Research on CBD and Sleep
CBD is increasingly more utilized as people catch on to its abilities to regulate sleep, help with the sleep-wake cycle, bring about sleep homeostasis, and also it can contribute to that feeling of wakefulness in the morning.
Early research has shown that CBD can help participants fall asleep faster but has also shown mixed results, as CBD has shown to improve wakefulness. While we do understand that more research is needed to understand exactly how cannabinoids affect sleep, it is common for CBD experts to advise that people take their CBD first thing in the morning (with breakfast) and also in the afternoon, but to refrain from taking CBD in the hours leading up to sleep time.
Sleep, Anxiety, and PTSD
With all the pressures of the modern world, intrusive and stressful thoughts are a common contributor to a person’s inability to fall asleep. In a 2019 study that addressed both anxiety and sleep, researchers found that when administered CBD, 79.2% of the participants reported lower anxiety levels, and 66.7% reported better sleep in the first month.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects up to 8% of all people in the United States. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined by the National Center for PTSD as a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.
One of the common symptoms of PTSD is sleep disturbance as a result of anxiety-inducing nightmares.
A 2012 study demonstrated that CBD blocked anxiety-induced REM sleep, meaning that CBD removes the anxiety barrier that can contribute to an individual reaching REM state, where true restfulness occurs. Similarly, a 2009 study looked at individuals with PTSD who had treatment-resistant nightmares. After receiving a synthetic cannabinoid (which is sometimes used for research purposes when natural cannabinoids are not available), 72% of patients either experienced a cessation of nightmares or a significant reduction in the intensity of nightmares. Some patients also noted a subjective improvement in sleep time and overall quality of sleep, as well as a reduction in night sweats and daytime flashbacks.
Sleep and Pain
When people are experiencing debilitating pain, it’s often difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep, as pain can be incredibly disruptive to getting a good night’s rest. A 2007 study found that when administered CBD, sleep improved significantly in multiple pain conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), peripheral neuropathic pain, intractable cancer pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
Sleep disorders are a common occurrence, and can manifest in different ways for different people, with it becoming very serious for some when it comes to sleep behavior disorders.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) is when sleep paralysis, or the state of the body being totally “shut down”, which is normal and necessary during REM sleep, is impacted, resulting in a person acting out their dreams. This can be as simple as twitching and vocalizations during REM sleep but can also result in more complex movement, like thrashing or even sleepwalking.
A 2014 study showed promising results in the reduction of RBD related behaviors in patients with Parkinson’s disease, showing promise that CBD can possibly help reduce behaviors that interfere with having a good rest during REM.
While many of the cannabis community would push THC, the psychoactive and intoxicating counterpart of CBD as an effective sleep management regimen when it comes to cannabinoid therapy, preliminary studies suggest CBD is more effective than THC in sleep management due to the fact that CBD doesn’t interact with REM sleep the way that THC appears to. Those who use THC before going to bed may report a feeling of being a bit “hung over” or foggy in the brain because THC does affect a human’s experience of REM.
Trying CBD – Sleep Aid or Sleep Crutch?
Just like anything, CBD isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Many people will have to try different concentrations of CBD, along with different methods of consumption to find the best CBD that works for them. It’s important that people recognize that CBD isn’t an instant fix for sleep, or any condition. It takes a while for the Endocannabinoid System to kick in to work to deliver the cannabinoids where they’re most needed.
However, the great amount of empirical research (i.e. research that is based on people’s accounts) supports that CBD is one of the most effective tools for helping fall asleep, stay asleep, reach REM, prevent disturbances and sleep behaviors, and overall contribute to a better night’s rest.
At Adventure CBD, we offer a number of different products and methods of consumption to help people explore the benefits of CBD used for sleep. We are invested in your health and wellness, and that includes introducing you to some tools that promote better rest, and overall better quality of life.