Regular and restful sleep has been proven to be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Not getting enough sleep can affect how we think, our immune system and in the long term, is linked with increased risk of dementia.
I’ve always been envious of people who can effortlessly get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. I'm often staring at the ceiling for hours before I nod off and even when I finally do, I wake up a few hours later.
Over the years, I’ve tried everyone's advice: heavy exercise, meditation, no TV an hour before bed etc but nothing has helped.
I had short-lived success with a glass and half of wine in the evening. However, I eventually realised that this was only ‘knocking me out’ and in fact, the quality of sleep was poor and left me feeling like a zombie in the morning.
Recently, I've enjoyed vaping CBD to help me unwind before bed. So this week I decided to do some research and find out if there is any research that suggests CBD helps with this.
How could CBD help with sleep?
Over the last two years, science has made significant progress in understanding how CBD interacts with the human body.
For example, CBD has been shown to positively interact with the Serotonin & GABA receptors in our brain. Serotonin is responsible for our mood and levels of anxiety whilst the GABA neurotransmitter is in charge of encouraging our brains to ‘switch off’ and reduce excess activity. By affecting these mechanisms, CBD has been proven to reduce the effects of anxiety.
CBD can also relieve pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its effect on the endocannabinoid system.
Pain and Anxiety are two of the leading causes of insomnia.
Does science agree that CBD helps with sleep?
Research on CBD is fairly limited largely due to the legal issues that surround cannabis. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests that CBD does in fact promote restful sleep.
The majority of available research points to CBD improving sleep indirectly by reducing anxiety and pain.
For example, one study published earlier this year explored whether CBD was able to improve sleep by reducing anxiety. The study looked at a group of subjects who suffered from poor sleep and/or anxiety. Of the subjects who were given CBD, 79% reported lower anxiety and 66% reported better sleep.
Another study concluded that CBD improved the sleep of this suffering from REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder which is associated with poor quality sleep. This was further supported by some research from the USA which concluded that “CBD may improve sleep among patients with chronic pain”.
Research hints that CBD may also affect sleep directly, by interacting with receptors in the brain that govern the body’s daily sleep/wake cycles, however, this would have to explored further before it can be considered conclusive.
So, can we say that CBD can help with sleep problems?
Although there isn’t enough scientific data to be certain yet, it is highly likely that CBD does promote restful sleep; at least indirectly.
If you struggle to get to sleep due to worrying about external factors such as work, bills and general life, then CBD may help you switch off before you hit the sack.