- Sleep Disorders
CBD & Insomnia – Can This Cannabinoid Help You Sleep?
It seems as if we slept more in the ‘good old days.’ Research suggests that, on average, we slept at least one hour more each night back in the 1950s. These days, an estimated 25% of Americans experience acute insomnia annually – approximately 75% recover without developing chronic insomnia or poor sleep.
The sale of sleeping pills continues to grow. But they are hardly sufficient since 60 million Americans experience some form of insomnia. Perhaps CBD oil for insomnia is a viable option for those who have tried pills to no avail? The level of research into CBD is rising. But the industry still suffers from a lack of evidence on the whole. Maybe the legalization of industrial hemp will help give researchers more time, money, and leeway?
There are studies relating to CBD’s effect on PTSD, chronic pain, and depression, amongst other things. What about CBD for insomnia? This article will see if there is a link between CBD and a remedy for insomnia.
What Is Insomnia?
There are several sleeping disorders, and insomnia is one of the most common. If you have this issue, you find it hard to get to or remain asleep. You may also wake up far earlier than you wish, and are tired when you wake up. Insomnia not only causes fatigue, it negatively impacts your work performance, health, and quality of life.
While the amount of sleep we require depends on the individual, 7-8 hours per night is a rule of thumb. Most adults experience short-term insomnia, which lasts for a few days or a couple of weeks. Acute insomnia typically occurs due to a traumatic event or stress. If you have this sleep issue for more than a month, it is probably chronic insomnia. It may not abate without help.
Aside from a lack of sleep, the condition features other symptoms. Here are a few common signs of insomnia:
- Waking up too early
- Feeling tired even after seemingly having a night’s rest
- Tiredness or sleepiness during the day
- Problems paying attention, remembering things, or focusing on tasks
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Increased accidents or errors
- Constantly worrying about a lack of sleep
You should see a doctor once insomnia makes it challenging to function during the day.
Causes of Insomnia
While insomnia is possibly the primary problem, there are potentially other reasons including:
- Poor Sleep Habits: These include an irregular bedtime schedule, ‘screen time’ before bed, or any stimulating activities at night.
- Stress: If you have anxiety about health, school, finances, or other personal problems, your mind will race and prevent you from sleeping.
- Eating Late: If you overeat before bedtime, you may feel uncomfortable when you lie down.
- Travel: Your circadian rhythms act as your internal clock. They play a significant role in guiding your sleep-wake cycle. If you travel a lot, especially across time zones, there is likely a shift in your circadian rhythms. Insomnia is a potential consequence.
- Mental Health Issues: Anxiety disorders, such as depression and PTSD, can disrupt sleep. Waking up too early is potentially a sign of depression.
- Medications: Prescription drugs such as asthma medication and antidepressants can interfere with sleep.
Other possible causes of insomnia include:
- Changes in health
- An alteration in sleep pattern
- Changes in activity
- Caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine too close to bedtime
- Medical conditions such as asthma, chronic pain, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease
You are more likely to have insomnia if you are:
- Aged 60+
- Under a tremendous amount of stress
- Have a physical or mental health condition
- Don’t have a regular schedule
Types of Insomnia
The Sleep Foundation suggests there are five types of insomnia:
- Acute Insomnia: This is a short-term problem where you find it hard to sleep. It usually occurs due to a stressful event. It often resolves without the need for treatment.
- Chronic Insomnia: This is a long-term issue. You usually receive a chronic insomnia diagnosis if you have problems sleeping 3+ nights a week for 3+ months.
- Comorbid Insomnia: This form of insomnia co-exists with another condition. Medical issues such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD can cause insomnia or make it hard to sleep.
- Onset Insomnia: People with this condition find it challenging to get to sleep in the first place.
- Maintenance Insomnia: If you have this problem, it means your biggest issue is remaining asleep. You wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
How to Cure Insomnia
Insomnia is one medical condition that it is possible to ‘cure.’ There is some debate as to the best treatment for insomnia. Sleeping pills do NOT fall into that category. They may work for a short time, but you often wake up feeling groggy. There is also a risk of developing dependence.
Other cures for insomnia include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which consists of the following strategies:
- Sleep restriction
- Light therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Stimulus control therapy
- Remaining passively awake
Follow these tips to help you on the road to better, and more consistent, sleep:
- Create a relaxing and comfortable sleep environment. Make sure it isn’t too hot or cold.
- Go to bed when you feel sleepy. If you can’t get to sleep within 20-30 minutes, leave the bed, and perform a relaxing activity.
- Try to exercise for up to 30 minutes, five days a week.
- Get as much natural light exposure as possible.
- Turn your clock around to ensure you don’tsee the time.
- Take a warm bath or shower before sleeping as part of an established nighttime routine.
- Consider performing relaxation exercises before bed, like progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness.
A growing number of people use CBD for insomnia. Let’s see if there is any medical reason for doing so.
CBD for Insomnia
The cannabidiol market has skyrocketed recently, with CBD oil for insomnia becoming a big seller. Many MMJ patients use cannabis to aid sleep. CBD is different because it doesn’t result in a psychoactive high. There is a suggestion that CBD helps insomnia by promoting a feeling of relaxation. It is possible that CBD could increase a person’s overall level of sleep while improving its quality.
“Can CBD oil cause insomnia?” is a question we get a lot at Natural Wellness. It depends on how you respond to CBD and how the cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout your body. While it could help you fall asleep, there is a possibility that it could energize you. A good idea is to take it in the afternoon when you are doing nothing else. You can see whether it makes you feel energetic or lethargic.
Recommending a CBD oil dosage for insomnia is tricky. A lot depends on your physical size, general health, and rate of metabolism. The best idea is to begin with a relatively small dose. 5mg of CBD is a fine place to start. If you feel no effect, continue increasing gradually until ‘something’ occurs.
What the Research Says About CBD and Insomnia
Shannon et al. published one of the most relevant studies on CBD for sleep to date in The Permanente Journal in 2019. The initial review involved 103 patients. However, the final sample consisted of 72 adults with sleep and anxiety issues. After a month of using CBD, 67% of patients experienced better sleep, and 79% reported less anxiety. The sleep percentage fluctuated after the first month. However, the researchers suggested that CBD had potential benefits for anxiety-related disorders.
Chagas M.H. published a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in March 2013. The researchers injected CBD into adult male Wistar rats. They made sleep recordings during light and dark periods for four days. The total percentage of sleep increased during the light period in rats given 10mg and 40mg/kg of CBD. The 40mg group also showed an increase in REM sleep latency.
Chagas was also involved in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics in October 2014. It began by giving CBD to four patients with Parkinson’s who also suffered from REM sleep behavior disorder. The researchers found that CBD helped reduce the frequency of the disorder. We can say that there is some evidence that CBD oil can help insomnia. However, we need to see further research.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Insomnia
The jury is still out on whether CBD oil for insomnia is effective. While we have featured several forms of the condition, some experts believe there are over 80 sleep disorders! Anything that involves the disruption of standard sleeping patterns falls under the ‘disorder’ category. The main issues seem to involve difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep. Waking up at 4 am and staying awake is an issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
There are many reasons why we are unable to sleep. Perhaps you have a medical condition such a chronic pain that keeps you awake? Alternatively, you may have life issues that stress you out. Few things are guaranteed to cause sleep problems more than anxious thoughts while you lie in bed!
Sleeping pills are not an effective long-term solution, and not everyone responds to therapy. As a result, a significant number of people try CBD for insomnia, and many of them are happy with the results. If you want to try CBD to help with insomnia, begin with a small dose first. Keep increasing the dosage until you are happy with how it makes you feel.