However, for something that is a crucial part of the human experience—the average person spends a third of their lifetime sleeping or attempting to sleep—achieving a solid night's rest can all too often be easier said than done. As CBD captivates consumers across the globe, many are looking to incorporate the cannabis-derived extract into their daily routines as a way to potentially help curb even the nastiest bouts of insomnia.
People have turned to CBD, also known as cannabidiol, as a possible sleep aid for centuries, with evidence even dating back to 1200 A.D. when the practice was described in Chinese medical text. While it is helpful to take solace in the fact that humans have been struggling with sleep for thousands of years, it is still an issue plaguing millions of people today. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, roughly 40 million Americans suffer from chronic long-term sleep disorders each year, while an additional 20 million experience occasional issues. On top of that, a 2016 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep regularly. While the data doesn't sound all too promising, the good news is that sleep issues can often be successfully managed once they are identified.
As reported, insomnia—which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night to achieve restorative sleep—is the most common complaint. With this in mind, insomnia is not a singular sleep disorder, but rather the symptom of another issue. Insomnia can be brought upon by stress, too much caffeine or a possible underlying condition. To best treat insomnia, it is best to identify possible causes; this is where CBD can particularly come in handy.
Some of the most common root causes behind insomnia are stress, depression, anxiety, chronic worry, your environment, your routine (or having your routine gravely interrupted), possible side effects from a current medication or any other underlying health issues, such as chronic pain. It is difficult to fall asleep when your mind is racing and your body is experiencing pain, which are two aspects where taking CBD could prove to be helpful. While CBD isn't a specific cure-all for issues, including insomnia, it has shown promise in lessening anxiety, and therefore helping users fall asleep more easily.
Preliminary research into the matter shows that CBD appears to help with sleep due to its absorption by the Endocannabinoid System. It sends a message to the body's receptors to relax and therefore can help signal the body's naturally occurring levels of melatonin to raise as well. This process that prepares the body and mind for rest usually begins roughly two hours before it’s time to fall asleep, which is why taking CBD an hour or so before bed could prove to be beneficial.
A 2016 case study examining the effectiveness of CBD for insomnia, found that CBD effectively helped the reduction of anxiety and subsequently improved sleep in one patient who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. While this study specifically centered on one patient, the findings are a promising start. Another key factor to keep in mind is that the benefits of CBD are tailored to the individual user and may not yield the same effect as a result.
As we learn more about how CBD reduces anxiety, relieves pain and helps us to relax, among other possible benefits, we will become better equipped in understanding how CBD can possibly improve our quality of sleep. Studies show that CBD may be best used as a short-term sleep aid because its efficacy in helping combat difficulty falling asleep may diminish over time. Curiously, some research has suggested that once a person is no longer experiencing chronic sleep issues, CBD could play a role in keeping you awake. This further shows how it is pertinent to conduct more research into how CBD can influence sleep, as well as provide a deeper understanding into how to best unlock the benefits of CBD as an aid on the nights when sleep feels especially fleeting. Putting CBD to the test at bedtime is the best way to learn first hand if it will help lift the burden of sleeplessness.