Can CBD help you sleep?

Can CBD help you sleep?

CBD is commonly used to improve sleep quality, but does it actually work? Let’s take a look at the research behind whether CBD can help you sleep better.

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As part of my ongoing dive into research behind the many claims of CBD, today we’re going to take a look at the role of CBD in sleep and insomnia. 

Just remember that this article is meant simply to educate. It should not be taken as medical advice. If you’re having trouble sleeping, I strongly recommend talking to your doctor or dietitian before trying CBD products. 

Okay, so let’s dive in!

Research behind CBD and sleep

It’s important to start by saying that overall we don’t have enough research to say whether CBD is effective for everyone, how much CBD is needed to have an effect, or why CBD may be effective. 

So what do we know? 

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to help with sleep. And while some report improvements in sleep, cannabis products containing THC have often been shown to actually impair sleep , especially with heavy and chronic use.

But when it comes to CBD-only products, research suggests a similar, but still different trend.

Early studies suggest that CBD may help improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances, especially in the short-term. However it’s unclear if CBD continues to be effective in helping with sleep in the long-term. 

A big issue with CBD and sleep research, is that sleep tends to be secondary outcome. This means that the studies aren’t always designed to properly evaluate this relationship. 

Another difficulty is that most of the research has been done in individuals either with anxiety or diagnosed sleep disorders. One study that did look at CBD and sleep in healthy adults did not find any benefit. 

While this doesn’t mean that CBD won’t help you sleep, it does suggest that CBD may only be effective if you are having true sleeping difficulties.

Or in other words, if you currently sleep fine, but are wondering if CBD would further improve your sleep, you may not notice any benefit.

Why might CBD be effective for sleep?

The short answer is we don’t fully know.

Still, there are many proposed mechanisms, including the idea that CBD’s effect on sleep is due to more than one factor. 

Here are some potential ways that CBD could have an effect on sleep: 

  • CBD has been shown to activate G-coupled protein serotonin receptors. This could affect sleep as serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating sleep. 
  • Through interactions with the endocannabinoid system, which is the body’s system for maintaining balance. And this balance includes sleep patterns.
  • By reducing levels of anxiety, which in turn could help you feel more relaxed and better able to fall asleep. 
  • By reducing chronic pain, therefore making you comfortable enough to fall and stay asleep. 

How much CBD should you take to help with sleep?

There just isn’t enough research to say what the most effective dose of CBD is to help with sleep. 

While one study found 25 mg/night to be an effective dose, doses in clinical trials have varied from 25 mg all the way up to 1,500 mg.

While I strongly recommend talking to your doctor for a more personalized recommendation, I find that 30 mg is a good starting dose. 

Not only is it safer to start with a lower dose, but it can also save you money too as you may not need a huge amount to have the desired effect. 

Also keep in mind that it can take several nights (or even a month) of taking CBD before noticing an effect. If you don’t notice a benefit with 30mg, wait about a week or two before upping your dose.

Other natural sleep remedies to try

Whether you decide to try CBD or not, there are several other natural home remedies worth trying to help you get some shut-eye. 

  • Meditation: A recent meta-analysis found that mediation may help improve sleep in some individuals. Headspace is a popular meditation app that provides guided meditations as well as calming sleep music. 
  • Yoga: Gentle yoga has also been shown to be effective in several populations for improving sleep quality and reducing the severity of insomnia. I personally love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
  • Exercise: Being physically active throughout the week (this includes cardio as well as strength training) has been linked with improvements in insomnia and general sleep quality throughout the lifespan. 
  • Magnesium: Magnesium helps relax muscles and relieve stress, which is why it’s thought it could also help with sleep. While supplements have been shown to help with those with insomnia, if you’re just looking to improve sleep quality I’d recommend sticking with magnesium-rich foods like almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, tofu, and whole grains.
  • Lavender: Both lavender essential oils and capsules have been shown to significantly improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. For an essential oil, I like this one

Best CBD products for sleep

When it comes to finding the best CBD product for sleep, I recommend starting by searching for a brand that’s transparent and has good quality-CBD. 

There are many good options out there, but my go-to is CBDistillery, which you can read more about why here

CBDistillery’s products include Nighttime Gummies, which offer 30 mg of pure CBD (hemp-derived) and 1.5 mg of melatonin. 

Another option is a Full-Spectrum CBD tincture, which you could stir into a cup of chamomile tea or warm oat milk. 

The bottom line

As with most CBD research, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the effectiveness of CBD for sleep. However, there are many individuals out there who swear by it. 

Personally, I’ve found it to be helpful on nights when I’m stressed as I’ve found it to be helpful in calming my thoughts so that I can fall asleep. 

If you’re curious to try CBD for sleep, be sure to talk with a trusted health professional and don’t forget that CBD is just one piece of the puzzle.

Try other remedies in addition to CBD, such as yoga or lavender for a greater effect.

Can CBD help with sleep?

The information contained in this website is not intended to recommend the self-management of health problems or wellness. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular type of medical treatment. Should any reader have any healthcare-related questions, promptly call or consult your physician or healthcare provider. No information contained in this website should be used by any reader to disregard medical and/or health-related advice or provide a basis to delay a consultation with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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About

I’m Kelli MS, RD. As a foodie with a background in nutrition research, I’m a firm believer that what we eat affects nearly every aspect of our wellbeing, and that food should taste freaking delicious.

Welcome to New Mind Nutrition!

My name is Kelli McGrane, and I’m a Denver-based registered dietitian with a Master’s degree in nutrition.

As a foodie with a background in nutrition research, I’m a firm believer that what we eat affects nearly every aspect of our wellbeing, and that food should taste freaking delicious.

My goal with New Mind is to help you find balance in both your mind and body through nutrition research and whole foods-based recipes.

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