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Can CBD Oil Improve Sleep Quality?

Written by Jessica Reilly

A good night’s sleep is essential to a healthy body and mind. Adults are recommended to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night for optimal health. But for nearly 16 million adults in the UK, a good night’s sleep feels out of reach.

Poor sleep quality leads to difficulty focusing, memory problems, fatigue, and feelings of irritability. Chronic conditions like insomnia can have a ripple effect, taking a toll on overall health quality.

Emerging studies suggest CBD oil may make it easier to fall asleep and improve sleep quality. Is CBD oil effective for improving sleep, or is this just another supplement with unsubstantiated sleep-health claims? Keep reading to find out.

What Causes Poor Sleep Quality?

Nearly 16 million adults in the UK suffer from poor sleep. Poor sleep is a general term, and can have many causes including:

 

  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Medication that disturbs your natural sleep cycle
  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Inability to stay asleep
  • Chronic nightmares
  • Caffeine
  • Environmental factors such as the condition of the mattress

 

A growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence point to CBD oil being useful in getting a good night’s rest.

What Does The Endocannabinoid System Do?

The ECS is responsible for the way we metabolize and react to cannabis and cannabinoids, and is thought to help us maintain an internal equilibrium.  

Research on the ECS is still in its beginning stages, but scientists agree the ECS plays a crucial role in reaching and maintaining internal homeostasis. The ECS helps us with a variety of functions from sleep and stress management to pain, appetite, energy levels and metabolism. In short, the ECS touches nearly every aspect of our health.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a health supplement made up of 2 ingredients: a CBD rich Cannabis Sativa L. extract and a carrier oil.

Cannabidiol, often abbreviated to ‘CBD’ is a naturally occurring compound found within the cannabis plant. It belongs to a family of compounds known as the phytocannabinoids, of which hundreds have been identified to date.

Unlike it’s more infamous cousin THC, CBD will not get you high. Have more questions about CBD oil? Check out our beginner’s guide to CBD oil.

Sweet Dreams.

Does CBD Oil Improve Sleep: The Science

Research on CBD oil and sleep is limited but growing. Below if a list of studies where CBD oil improved sleep quality:

 

  • A 2019 study of 72 people, 47 with anxiety and 25 with somnolence, or poor sleep. Subjects took 25mg of CBD per day for one month. 79.2% reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7% reported sleeping better
  • A 2018 review of existing scientific literature concluded there was a substantial amount of evidence supporting that CBD soothes pain. The authors noted that by reducing pain, CBD often improves sleep quality in patients.
  • A 2017 review supported the findings of the 2014 study, noting CBD shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness as well as RBD and insomnia.
  • A 2014 study of CBD’s effect on the sleep cycle with people suffering from RBD, a sleep behavior disorder. The study found that CBD improved the quality of REM sleep.
  • A 2014 review found that CBD may fight grogginess and promote wakefulness in humans and animals but couldn’t conclude why.

Rather than overriding your natural sleep cycle like many pharmaceuticals, CBD oil can be helpful for treating many of the causes of poor sleep, such as anxiety and pain. CBD can also promote wakefulness in the daytime and proper sleep cycles at night.

While scientists are still unsure of how exactly CBD oil helps us sleep, changing attitudes towards cannabis around the world mean more research is being conducted to find the answers.

What is REM Sleep?

REM is short for rapid eye movement, and it is the third phase of the sleep cycle where we dream.

REM sleep typically lasts 90 – 110 minutes and happens several times throughout the night.

In REM sleep, your brain is extremely active; processing information from the day, creating neural connections, and replenishing mood-boosting chemicals. During REM sleep information is processed and stored – an essential part of our memory process. Good REM sleep leaves you feeling refreshed, clear-headed, and more creative.

We recognize REM sleep as the stage where we have dreams. During this stage, muscle paralysis is important, so we don’t act out our dreams. People who have REM disorders often suffer from nightmares and loss of muscle paralysis, causing them to act out their dreams.

Side Effects of CBD oil for Sleep

Side effects of CBD oil are rare, and it is considered safe for consumption by the general population. A 2017 review examined multiple studies on the safety of CBD and concluded it was a relatively safe treatment. However, everyone is different, and side effects are possible.

Side effects can include:

 

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite

 

CBD is not addictive and has a low toxicity level so there are no accidental overdoses. However, CBD may interact with certain medications, so always consult your doctor before beginning treatment.

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