Stress, isolation, anxiety, and all the other unhealthy habits we’ve developed since the beginning of the pandemic wrecked our circadian rhythm. Sleeping pills and melatonin supplements help but only at a certain period. Any alternatives then?
Au naturel geeks find solace in CBD for sleep products. However, one can’t help but speculate on CBD’s supposed benefits. Is CBD (cannabidiol) merely a hype, or does it offer real value for deep sleep?
*Related article: CBD and Sleep: Can it Help Insomnia?
What is the deep sleep stage?
Adults need around 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to function at their best. However, it’s not just about the number of hours. The quality of sleep also matters.
To get a good night’s rest, your body needs to go through the deep sleep stage. This is the phase in the sleep cycle when your body and brain waves slow down. Experts believe that deep sleep is what constitutes restorative sleep. Some of its benefits are:
- Regeneration of cells
- Growth and repair of tissues and bones
- Improved memory and overall learning
- Strong immune system
- Increased energy levels
Stages of sleep
Throughout the night, your body goes through four individual stages, each of which has its own pattern. Typically, a person averages four to six sleep cycles per night.
How can CBD help with deep sleep?
Below are the possible contributing physiological factors of how CBD helps with deep sleep:
Through the endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a sophisticated network in the body that uses cannabinoids, such as CBD, to its advantage. Humans experience CBD’s therapeutic effects through its binding action with the ECS’s receptors.
Through these connections, the ECS is thought to be better at regulating important functions such as appetite, sleep, pain perception, and immune response.
A study of sleep disturbances in the elderly highlighted the role of the ECS in modulating sleep. The study suggests that CBD for sleep in elderly people may be an effective option.
Researchers are still exploring the CBD and ECS dynamics, but, so far, studies seem to support the beneficial relationship.
By soothing anxiety and sleep disturbances
CBD for sleep gummies may improve sleep by addressing underlying causes of sleeplessness.
For instance, a large-scale study found that CBD improved anxiety and sleep for 70% and 80% of the patients, respectively.
However, it is not clear whether CBD addresses sleep itself or just anxiety. In an article in Leafly, Dr. Dustin Sulak, the founder of Healer.com and Integr8 Health, explained that CBD might actually just be reducing symptoms that affect sleep.
CBD’s hypnotic-like effect
Hypnosis, described as a sleep-like state, is also explored to aid in achieving deep sleep. CBD’s hypnotic-like effects were first explored in a 1977 study on male Wistar rats.
The results of the study showed that at 40 mg/kg CBD dose, slow-wave sleep (deep-sleep) significantly increased while wakefulness was decreased. REM wasn’t modified.
CBD’s effect on REM sleep
During REM sleep, a normal person’s muscles are usually relaxed. So, even if a person dreams, his muscles won’t unconciously react or move. People with REM behavior disorder or Parkinson’s disease tend to act out vivid dreams. CBD at doses from 75 to 300 mg may help manage these conditions.
The occurrence of healthy sleeping stages needs to smoothly unfold to help achieve deep sleep.
What are the other tips for getting deep sleep (aside from CBD)?
CBD can only do so much. If not supplemented well with good habits, CBD might prove useless. Here are some tips to improve deep sleep:
- Get enough exercise at the right time.
Experts believe that about 30 minutes of exercise per day can help expend energy and allow you to reach the deep sleep stage. However, exercising too close to bedtime might be too stimulating so opt for ideal times like mornings.
- Develop a pre-bed ritual.
A pre-bed routine helps to prepare your body for sleep. The goal of incorporating these little activities is to warm your body and get you feeling cozy enough to fall asleep faster. An example of a ritual could be a warm bath of about 45 minutes before bedtime.
- Drop caffeine 6 hours before bedtime.
Caffeine is the perfect pickup you need in the morning but not at night . Taking coffee or anything with caffeine less than 6 hours before bedtime could decrease the amount of time you spend in deep sleep.
- Sleep at the same time, always.
Our body is a biological clock that follows a circadian rhythm. When this rhythm is disturbed, the clock becomes misaligned. Sleeping at the same time can help to reset it and reinforce the circadian rhythm.
- Consider hypnosis.
Hypnosis is another tool to help you fall asleep. Not only that, but you will also spend more time in deep sleep, as a study at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland proved.
Listening to audio recordings with hypnotic suggestion can be a valuable sleep aid.
While research on the use of CBD for sleep offers concrete evidence, more studies involving clinical research on humans is a non-negotiable factor to confirm CBD’s aid in sleep. So far, there is an abundance of preclinical research using animals as test subjects.
Sleep medications are only taken for a few weeks. Additionally, some studies have found that long-term use of CBD keeps you awake at night. Thus, though CBD might be effective at first, it is more important to address the underlying causes of sleep issues.
As per the question, “should you use CBD for sleep?” It’s entirely your own discretion. However, it would be wise to consult a doctor, especially if you’re enduring a medical condition and/or if you intend to use CBD oil and sleeping pills together.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are in no way intended to treat or diagnose any physical ailment or disease.