It’s 3:02 am. You’re wide awake again for the third night in a row, desperate to get any sort of relief.
You’ve drank the chamomile tea, avoided the mysterious “blue light” from all of your electronics, you may even have gone so far as taking melatonin, or another sleep aid. But you’re still having troubles staying asleep.
Why does this happen? And is there anything out there that can help?
There is actually, and it’s a relatively new player on the scene. Meet Cannabidiol(CBD). If it does what the research says it does, it may just be what you need to finally get a good nights sleep. CBD oil and sleep go hand in hand, thanks to the stress busting effects that CBD can have on your body and mind.
CBD is one of the over 100 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. All around the world right now, there is extensive research taking place on CBD and its possible health benefits, and some of what scientists are discovering has far reaching impacts upon the medical community.
It is also one of the most studied cannabinoids, and right there with it is Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). You know this as the thing that gets you high when you ingest it, but it is also an incredibly important compound in the cannabis plant that has a number of its own benefits.
The reason that CBD has people so interested is the vast number of claims that people have come forth with detailing how CBD has helped with all sorts of disorders. This is due to the way that CBD interacts in the body.
All of us have an Endocannabinoid System, in which cannabinoids bind to their specific receptors. The most studied and talked about, THC and CBD, bind to the receptors CB-1 and CB-2. These are located all throughout the body, brain, and central nervous system. The Endocannabinoid System plays a major part in regulating our bodies, and keeping them in homeostasis, which is a balance within the body.
When any one of these parts is out of sync with the rest, it can have a big impact on how we function in day to day life. If you’ve been following along with the blog for the past while then you’ve likely read about the effect that CBD can have on our Endocrine System and the hormones that it produces. If you haven’t you can check it out here.
You may be wondering what all of this explanation has to do with CBD oil and sleep, but just trust me on this one. It has EVERYTHING to do with it.
Before we get into how exactly CBD can help you sleep, let’s look at the factors that are causing these restless nights in the first place.
“Life was so much simpler back then…”
You may have heard this a time or two from older people talking about the “good old days”. While it may have been, those days came with its own downfalls. Generation through generation, there has always been stress to deal with, and always will be, that’s just a fact of life.
Why does it seem like it’s everywhere now though?
Statistics show that work and finances are the number one causes of stress in the world today, but there is all sorts of other stress impacting our lives, and ultimately our health.
The pressure to perform, be it in the workplace, in school, and for many youths, on social media, has brought us to a point in our lives where the amounts of stress we are dealing with don’t even seem so bad anymore. It’s just gotten so commonplace that we all feel like it is normal now.
I’ve got news for you. It isn’t normal.
Our bodies are amazing things. Many of the reactions that happen within are involuntarily, and in response to something, be it internal or external. Our body’s natural reaction to stress is to produce the hormone cortisol. This hormone is secreted by the adrenal glands, and fuels the fight or flight instinct that we have. It plays an important role in regulating our immune systems, and also our metabolism. It works to help control your moods, fear, motivation, and much more.
Too much cortisol in the body can have a number of detrimental effects. It can cause lack of sex drive and irregular periods in women, cause you to gain weight and have digestive issues, increase your risk of heart disease, and has been shown to be linked with anxiety and depression disorders.
Cortisol works in the body to increase your blood sugar, regulate your blood pressure, and manages how your body uses and stores fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
It also controls your circadian rythym(sleep/wake cycle).
This last point in particular is important to remember.
Not Getting Enough Sleep? Join The Club
You don’t feel good? Get more sleep. You’re grouchy? Get more sleep. You’re getting sick often? Get more sleep.
Seeing a trend yet? There’s a reason behind it. More than 1/3 of us don’t get the recommended amount of sleep a night, and it’s starting to take it’s toll.
Sleep is weird. You close your eyes and your mind drifts somewhere far away, to be filled with either very pleasant, or very unpleasant images. Scientists don’t fully understand sleep, but there are a few things that they are most definitely in agreement on.
Sleep is necessary for the body and brain to properly repair itself. It is crucial in helping the immune system function at the level it is supposed to, and also helps the brain to form new pathways and connections. Without the proper amount of sleep every night, you may have a harder time concentrating, or retaining the information you are taking in.
According to the information we have available, adults should be getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night, children and teens even more. The reality is, most of us don’t even come close to that.
Not getting enough sleep can take a serious toll on a person, both mentally and physically. Sleep deprivation is no joke, and comes with some pretty awful consequences:
- Lack of motivation
- Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other disorders
- Low sex drive
- Inability to concentrate and difficulty learning
- Irritability and mood swings
- Weight gain, and increased carbohydrate cravings
- Weakened immune system
- Increased anxiety and depression
These are just a few of the possible effects that a lack of sleep can have on you, there are many more.
Cortisol has a direct impact on our sleep cycles, as mentioned above. It is a necessary hormone that is responsible for waking us up and making us feel alert throughout the day, and as it decreases, makes us feel more tired.
In a normal person, cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning, and gradually reduce until later that evening, when your ready for bed. But when your stress levels are high, and your body is producing more cortisol than it needs, it can make it difficult to nod off. You may also find that you have difficulty staying asleep, and wake up multiple times in the night.
The longer that you’re in this state, the more cortisol your body is producing, which leads to even less sleep. It’s a vicious cycle that can be extremely hard to break, and hugely contributes to many anxiety and depression disorders.
The Effects Of CBD Oil On Cortisol
CBD and THC work within our Endocannabinoid System, which affects our Endocrine System. The Endocrine System is made up of all of the hormone producing glands in our bodies.
There are a high number of cannabinoid receptors located in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which are the main glands that oversee the production of hormones.
As detailed in this study, CBD oil can have a direct effect on cortisol levels in the body. Once CBD was administered, cortisol levels dropped significantly. By taking CBD you can lower your levels of this hormone, and ultimately get a better sleep.
CBD can also raise the levels of melatonin in your body, which is another hormone that is necessary for healthy sleep. Melatonin production amps up in the dark, and decreases in the light, which is why it is recommended to avoid electronics and other forms of light at night before bed
CBD has been getting all of the attention lately, and for good reason, but THC also has a part to play in all of this as well. Anandamide is a cannabinoid that our bodies naturally produce, and is commonly referred to as the “Bliss Molecule”. It is directly related to the level of happiness that you experience.
It has anti-anxiety and anti-depression properties, helps to stop cancer cells from reproducing, and is synthesized in parts of the brain that control memory, moods, motivation, appetite, and more.
Anandamide breaks down fairly quickly in the body, and a lack of it can cause a few different issues, many of them having to do with mood and memory. THC closely mimics this natural cannabinoid in the body, and studies have shown that it doesn’t take much to achieve results from it.
Using a Full Spectrum CBD oil, which has traces of THC in it, can naturally boost up the levels of Anandamide in your body, making you feel happier and less stressed.
Less stress = Better sleep.
You may be getting excited after reading on the different ways that CBD oil can help with sleep, and want to rush out to the nearest store and buy some, but there are a few different things you need to know before you do so.
The CBD industry is currently unregulated, so you need to look at companies that have third party testing available. All organic products are a must as well, as you don’t want any toxins or pesticides hiding in it. How it is extracted is also going to have an effect on the quality of the end product as well. You can check out the full list of here.
As stated, Full Spectrum oil contains traces of THC. Broad Spectrum oil and CBD Isolates do not contain this, and may not work as well for sleep and anxiety issues. Due to the slight possibility of a fail on a drug test, however, Full Spectrum can not be taken by everyone. Broad Spectrum oil is the next best choice in this case.
CBD also comes in many different forms, not just oil. There are capsules, CBD vape juice, gummies, topicals, even transdermal patches. Take some time in looking at different products, and make sure to read up on the bio-availability of each method.