How Does Cannabidiol Affect Sleep and Insomnia?
How Does Cannabidiol Affect Sleep and Insomnia? Some of us who have begun to take an interest in hemp extracts may be wondering how CBD and hemp may affect sleep. Would it make me sleep too much, because of its often calming properties, or could it help if I have insomnia?
Insomnia is no joke. While nearly all of us have had acute insomnia, which only lasts one or two nights, chronic insomnia is much worse, where sufferers regularly have at least three sleepless nights per week.
It affects one billion people worldwide. Insomnia affects women at twice the rate of men, and it is estimated that half of seniors are affected. You may think your insomniac co-worker is just tired and cranky, but it may also raise the risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
While many cases of insomnia still have no known cause, the number one known cause is stress. In a study of people with Social Anxiety Disorder, treatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort while raising alertness. Compared to people without anxiety, people given CBD had no real differences in discomfort, alertness, impairment or negative self-statements. Besides CBD and hemp, exercise such as swimming or running, meditation and eating healthier can help to manage stress. Some herbal medicines, depending on the individual, can also aid sleep. These include lemon balm, valerian and chamomile. But when lifestyle changes aren’t enough, the most common option is to reach for prescription pharmaceuticals. Although they are popular, a study by the National Institutes for Health found that on average, sleeping pills only add 11 minutes to sleep time, and only shorten the time it takes to fall asleep by 13 minutes. They can also have serious side effects, sending people to the emergency room, especially in cases of overdose. Some, such as the benzodiazepine class (e.g. Valium), are highly addictive and can kill. In 2013, benzodiazepines caused 30% of lethal drug overdoses in the USA
Despite showing promise as an anxiety aid, there is mixed evidence on the ability of CBD to aid sleep. In a pre-clinical study, researchers found that administering 10-20 micrograms of CBD into certain areas of the brain increased wakefulness and inhibited slow-wave and REM sleep. CBD increased alpha brain waves, which boost alertness, and suppressed delta waves, which are needed for deep sleep.
This was only a pre-clinical study, however, with methods that do not match real-life use – no one injects cannabinoids right into their brains. Many human patients have in fact reported that use of CBD-rich hemp extracts can improve sleep. Despite this,15mg of CBD appeared to raise alertness in a human study, as it increased “awake activity” in the brain during sleep and counteracted the sedative ability of 15mg of THC.
On the other hand, some other components of hemp may aid sleep, such as the terpene beta-myrcene. Linalool is another terpene that can have sedative properties. Because of variations in each consumer, it is important to find out what is right for you when it comes to insomnia. CBD-rich hemp oil may help alone, in combination with other natural remedies and lifestyle changes, or not at all; everyone is different.