Various studies and anecdotal evidence have demonstrated the benefits of CBD for sleep.
Regular CBD use decreases nighttime waking, difficulty falling asleep, and sleep disruption. It increases total sleep duration and improves the quality of deep, regenerative sleep.
By impacting the cyclical patterns responsible for how and when we sleep on a nightly basis, CBD introduces balance and stability to our sleeping routines.
In this article, we explain how and why CBD impacts sleep.
Does CBD Help You Sleep?
CBD (cannabidiol) does help you sleep, though it doesn’t do so by making you tired. The idea that CBD affects sleep by inducing sleepiness is a misconception.
Instead, it works at a much deeper and more intricate level to alleviate the underlying causes of poor sleep in the long-term.
CBD impacts our circadian rhythms, or sleep-wake cycles. Rather than temporarily inducing drowsiness to mask the symptoms of poor sleeping patterns, CBD restores the balance and health of our sleep cycles to promote healthy sleep on a long-term basis.
If you are using CBD to promote healthy sleep, you should not necessarily expect it to work when administered before bed on an “as-needed” basis. But there are enormous benefits to the regular, consistent, and everyday use of CBD oil for sleep.
Moreover, because it does not make you tired, CBD will not negatively impact your performance or mindset during the day.
The Endocannabinoid System
CBD exerts its effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors that controls various physiological processes in the body, mind, and central nervous system.
The balance of cannabinoid levels in the endocannabinoid system is crucial to healthy sleep.
To maintain a healthy endocannabinoid system, It is essential that we maintain balanced cannabinoid levels in our system. Which is, in turn, essential for the healthy regulation of the various physiological processes that the ECS controls—including sleep.
CBD introduces cannabinoids into our bloodstream, replenishing cannabinoid levels and interacting with cannabinoid receptors to promote balance.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in almost every aspect of our physical and mental health. This is why CBD is so beneficial—by impacting the ECS, it affects countless physiological processes and restores balance to these bodily systems.
The endocannabinoid system is directly linked to circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
Circadian rhythms create an internal body clock that regulates biological cycles and processes. This clock sets the time for sleep, waking, and daytime alertness in-between.
The existing rhythm of the circadian body-clock alters the entire body’s metabolism and physiology.
Some researchers suggest that cannabinoid deficiency in the endocannabinoid system deregulates sleeping cycles and disturbs circadian rhythms. This establishes unhealthy sleeping patterns, disturbing circadian rhythms and offsetting our internal body clock.
Because circadian rhythms are cyclical and repetitive, they can be difficult to re-balance once they have been altered by habitual patterns that disrupt sleep.
Once you don’t sleep and your body’s sleep cycles are disrupted, it becomes biologically difficult to regain stability and attain quality sleep thereafter.
And for those suffering from more difficult sleep disorders, this can perpetuate poor sleeping habits.
Yet when we use CBD, we replete cannabinoid levels in our ECS, reintroducing balance to the physiological processes it controls. This stabilizes sleep cycles on a lasting, intensive level.
Regular CBD use can reset our body clock to a healthy rhythm.
Therefore, CBD directly impacts circadian rhythms and promotes long-lasting, healthy sleep. CBD helps the body achieve homeostasis, a state of biological balance amongst a variety of changing external stressors.
Sleep homeostasis refers to the regulated balance between sleep and waking.
The endocannabinoid system plays a large part in this regulation, and consequently, so does CBD. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by homeostatic mechanisms, our circadian rhythms, and their interaction with one another.
By stabilizing both our homeostatic mechanisms and our circadian rhythms, CBD improves their interplay and coordination. This improves the onset, duration, and quality of sleep.
The Stages of Sleep
Some studies suggest CBD impacts each stage of sleep to improve overall sleep quality.
CBD improves REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, a stage of deep sleep that is crucial to feeling rested the next day and takes a central role among other sleep stages.
CBD increases REM sleep while decreasing the symptoms of regular and anxiety-induced REM sleep disorders.
REM sleep disturbance can negatively impact emotional processing, mental health, stress responses, cognitive function, and coordination; it can also cause anxiety, depression, and weight gain.
Most sleep aids that simply induce drowsiness do not necessarily improve REM sleep, which means that they will not necessarily cause you to feel rested during the day, even if they seem to put you to sleep. CBD, on the other hand, reliably improves REM sleep on a cyclical basis and internalizes healthy REM sleep into your biorhythms.
CBD has also been shown to have positive effects on non-REM sleep, one of the first and lightest stages of sleep—and one of the most easily disturbed. These disturbances can make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place, much less achieve a good night’s rest.
Furthermore, CBD stabilizes our response to stressful situations.
CBD and Healthy Sleep Patterns
Whole-Plant CBD works at an in-depth, extensive level to promote healthy sleep as part of your overall lifestyle—not as a superficial solution to make you drowsy.
A sleep aid that affects your sleeping cycles is ultimately more effective in the long run than a sleep aid that induces drowsiness to cover up the symptoms of insomnia.
Rather than working on a per-night basis by inducing drowsiness and masking your unhealthy sleeping patterns, CBD stabilizes your physiological processes and lays the very foundation of healthy sleep.
CBD can instill healthy sleeping patterns on a long-term basis—and very few sleeping aids, over-the-counter or pharmaceutical, can achieve this depth of lasting relief.
Beverley Catlett is a content writer who enjoys researching and writing about the benefits of CBD. She is originally from Bluemont, Virginia, and recently earned her Master’s in English from Georgetown University. She has benefited from CBD as a student, researcher, and writer, and she is enthusiastic about creating content to share information about CBD’s potential to improve lives.