Do you struggle to get to sleep in the evening and wake up feeling groggy, tired, and lethargic?
What if I said you could start getting better sleep today using something as simple as a CBD-infused gummy?
Well, it’s true:
Research shows that CBD and cannabinoids can have profound effects on our sleep cycle.
Read on for more information on how to get better sleep with CBD.
Understanding The Sleep Cycle:
Do know what goes on behind the scenes when your head hits the pillow at night?
While it seems straightforward, sleep is actually a complicated process that plays a key role in health and wellbeing.
Sleep, in its most basic sense, is a cycle that lasts roughly 90 minutes and repeats numerous times during the night.
This ‘sleep cycle’ can be broken down into 4 different stages which are marked by changes in electrical activity in the brain.
Here’s a basic overview of the first 3 stages of sleep:
- Stage 1: When we start falling asleep, we enter Stage 1 of the sleep cycle. This is considered “light sleep” during which the brain produces low amplitude, high-frequency brain waves also known as Theta Waves. Our muscle activity starts to slow during this sleep stage and we might experience sensations like muscle twitches and hallucinations. It is also very common to experience a feeling of falling during this stage of sleep.
- Stage 2: During this stage of the sleep cycle, the brain produces trains of high-frequency brain waves known as “sleep spindles” and “k complexes.” While we still don’t completely understand the role of either of these 2 brain waves, they both seem to play crucial roles in helping us stay asleep.
- Stage 3: This stage marks the beginning of the deep sleep cycle. Here, the brain starts producing slow, low-frequency, high-amplitude brain waves known as Delta Waves. This is when people start experiencing deep, rhythmic breathing and very limited muscle activity. People who walk or talk during their sleep usually do so in Stage 3 and are typically very hard to wake.
The final stage of the sleep cycle is known as Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep.
Brain activity during REM sleep is actually really similar to that when we’re awake.
The rest of the body, however, remains deeply paralyzed during REM sleep.
Some theories suggest that this paralysis helps to keep us from responding physically to our dreams.
In a regular night, we tend to cycle through each of these sleep stages roughly 4-5 times.
The order of the cycle isn’t always linear, and most people pass through stages 1-3, then back to stage 2 before finally entering the REM stage.
An entire human sleep cycle tends to last around 90-110 minutes.
As you progress in your sleep, you’ll typically spend less time in Stages 1-3 and more time in the REM stage.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Chances are you’re familiar with the effects of sleep deprivation.
After all, around 30% of adults and over 60% of adolescents in the US are estimated to be regularly sleep deprived.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you probably experience some of the following symptoms:
- Trouble concentrating and remembering
But did you know that consistently not getting enough sleep can have serious consequences?
Besides making you grumpy and groggy, sleep deprivation has been linked to inflammation, hallucinations, and high blood pressure.
Studies have also shown that consistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep can drastically increase a person’s risk of stroke.
In an interview with Tech Insider, Neuroscience and Psychology Profesor Mathew Walker talked about some of the effects of sleep deprivation on the body.
He says that sleep deprivation can cause:
- Inability to create new memories: This can lead to forgetfulness and other symptoms like amnesia.
- Increase of toxic chemicals in the brain: The glymphatic system, which is responsible for cleansing the brain of toxic by-products, is most active when we sleep.
- Reproductive repercussions: We know that young men who consistently don’t get enough sleep suffer from much lower testosterone levels.
- Immune deficiency: Just one night of 4 hours of sleep can lead to a 70% reduction in certain immune cells that help prevent cancer.
- Cardiovascular issues: When we sleep, our body automatically works to regulate both our heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. People who don’t get enough sleep might not get this “reboot” of the cardiovascular system, which can increase their risks of developing high blood pressure or suffering from a fatal heart attack.
- Mental and physical deterioration: Just 16 hours of wakefulness can start producing signs of both mental and physical deterioration.
What Causes Sleep Issues?
Most sleep disorders are grouped under the term “insomnia.”
But it’s important to realize that people can suffer from sleeplessness in different ways.
Some people, for example, struggle to fall asleep, even after a long and exhausting day.
The causes for this can be varied.
Stress, for example, is known to leave people tossing and turning in bed for an extended period of time before getting to sleep.
Conditions like anxiety and depression can also leave people with very repetitive and disruptive thought patterns that cause difficulty sleeping.
External factors like consuming caffeine, alcohol, or even some medications may also affect a person’s ability to get to sleep.
On the other hand, some people may have no difficulty falling asleep, yet struggle to stay asleep during the night.
Again, there are many different causes for this.
Some common causes of sleep disturbances include:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
How Can CBD Help With Sleep Issues?
Now that we better understand sleep, how it works, and why it’s so important for our bodies, let’s take a look at how CBD can help you get a better night’s rest.
As you probably know, humans have an Endocannabinoid System.
This system is made up of 2 receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are designed to process cannabinoids which the body produces on its own.
These cannabinoids are known as anandamide and 2-AG.
The Endocannabinoid System, however, also reacts to the presence of phytocannabinoids like CBD taken from hemp and cannabis plants.
Now, you probably already know a bit about CBD.
After all, it’s gotten plenty of media attention over the last couple of years, mainly because it can have a very wide variety of health benefits.
CBD can, for example, help stimulate appetite, fight pain and inflammation, reduce seizures in epilepsy patients, and much more.
The reason why CBD’s effects are so varied is that the Endocannabinoid System is involved in so many different bodily processes.
One of those processes seems to be sleep modulation.
Numerous studies, for example, show that CBD and other cannabinoids are able to modulate our sleep patterns.
Below is a list of some of these studies and their findings:
CBD Affects the Sleep-Wake Cycle in Rats
In 2013, researchers from the University of Sao Paulo’s Department of Neuroscience and Behavior examined the effects CBD had on the sleep cycle in rats.
The researchers split the test animals into 4 groups; 1 was the control group taking a placebo while the other 3 were injected with various doses of CBD (2.5mg, 10mg, and 40mg CBD per kg of body weight).
The rats were observed during both light and dark periods for 4 days.
The study found that 10 and 40mg doses of CBD significantly increased the total time the animals slept.
Both doses also increased the time it took for the rats to enter REM sleep, suggesting they spent more time in the first 3 NREM sleep stages.
This is promising, seeing as these are the stages in which the body seems to do most of its recovery.
Endocannabinoid Signalling Regulates Sleep Stability
In 2016, a team of researchers from the US National Institute of Health and Northeastern University took a closer look at the effects of the endocannabinoid system on sleep.
The researchers reported findings from a number of different animal-based studies performed mainly on rats.
By modulating the enzymes that break down naturally occurring endocannabinoids, the researchers noticed an increase in NREM sleep.
Also, directly stimulating cannabinoid receptors also increased sleep stability during these NREM stages of the sleep cycle.
The researchers noted that their results varied depending on which time of the day the cannabinoid receptors were stimulated.
They concluded that, based on their results, endocannabinoid signaling plays a vital role in providing sleep stability.
This is big news for those of us who struggle to stay asleep during the night.
How to Use CBD to Get Better Sleep
You might be wondering why I’m so interested in the world of CBD.
Well, turns out that my family and I all use CBD products for different reasons and have seen great results doing so.
For me, CBD makes up a major part of my sports training regime and especially helps me recover faster and perform better.
My wife Sara, on the other hand, uses CBD to deal with stress, anxiety, and skin issues.
Sara has a really stressful day job which often causes her anxiety and leaves her struggling to get to sleep, no matter how tired she is.
Finally, Sara’s father has also uses CBD to deal with the inflammation and pain from an injury in his knee.
While all 3 of us use CBD for different reasons, we all agree on 1 thing:
CBD has changed our lives.
Personally, I find myself performing better than ever before since I started incorporating CBD into my training routine.
Sometimes a single daily dose of CBD is enough to help me speed up my recovery and get back to training sooner, even after a particularly tough workout.
Sara, on the other hand, treasures CBD for its ability to calm her stress and anxiety, get better, deeper sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Here are 4 tips on how you can use CBD to help improve your sleep quality:
- Use CBD gummies for a slow release of CBD before bed. All edible CBD products need to pass through the digestive system before they can start taking effect. I find a single gummy roughly 1-1.5 hours before bed helps me calm down and switch off by the time I get into bed.
- Use CBD oils for faster acting relief. CBD tinctures can be applied directly under the tongue where the are absorbed much faster than an edible product. If you don’t get relief from a CBD gummy, try this oil method instead.
- Try larger doses of CBD if you’re not getting relief. In small doses, CBD can have alerting and energizing effects. I actually use smaller doses of CBD before the gym with my pre-workout sometimes. If you’ve tried CBD and found it only kept you awake for longer, consider trying a stronger dose for more calming, relaxing effects.
- If you suffer from pain that keeps you up at night, try using a CBD topical like a cream or ointment. Sara’s father uses these products on his knees and finds he gets fast-acting relief that lasts all throughout the night. I also occasionally use CBD topicals to treat muscle soreness after a tough workout and find myself dozing off really easily.
Note: Remember that having a healthy sleep routine is the most important aspect of sleeping better. Don’t expect CBD to improve your sleep if you still have poor sleep habits like staying up late, sleeping with the TV on, or browsing your phone while in bed.
CBD needs to be combined with a healthy sleep routine to provide the best results.
Start Sleeping Better Today With CBD
If you struggle to get a solid night’s sleep, I highly recommend you give CBD a try.
Remember, this is a natural supplement with a super safe side effect profile (much safer than regular sleep medications).
As I mentioned earlier, my entire family uses CBD and we’ve seen amazing results.
For more information about my experience with CBD and detailed reviews of some of the best CBD gummies and edibles on the market, make sure to check out my homepage.
Also remember to check out my blog for more articles like this.