How does CBD impact the sleep/wake cycle?

The UCLA Sleep Disturbance Center outlines the sleep/wake cycle–the circadian rhythm–as follows:

  • Stage 1: Falling asleep & sleeping lightly, woken easily.
  • Stage 2: Shallow, consistent rest.
  • Stage 3: Deep, consistent sleep.
  • Stage 4: Very deep, consistent sleep.
  • Stage 5: REM sleep; dream inducing part of cycle.

Interestingly, CBD plays an important role in this cycle.

Dr. John Cline, author of the best-selling book, Sleepless in America, wrote extensively on this subject in Psychology Today. In one of his articles, he explains that standard pharmaceutical drugs take control of our neurotransmitters to induce drowsiness.

This overtake of control alters the sleep/wake cycle and negatively impacts the quality of sleep, despite providing more of it. CBD however, does things differently.

While some research shows that CBD has no impact on the sleep/wake cycle, others have shown that it effectively treats insomnia.

CBD Treats Problems that Negatively Impact Sleep

Anxiety keeps many people awake at night, which makes them more anxious knowing that they’re losing sleep-hours. Although the effects of CBD in the treatment of anxiety are not fully understood, it is thought that CBD helps by altering serotonin signals, and also by ameliorating physiological symptoms of stress such as increased heart rate and digestive discomfort, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By energizing the body during the day, CBD reduces the possibility of daytime sleepiness. By reinforcing the sleep/wake cycle, CBD helps facilitate longer and more consistent sleep times in steady users, according to Dr. Michael J. Breus, The Sleep Doctor.

Furthermore, for many people who have difficulty sleeping at night, pain is a common culprit. A 2017 study published in Pain showed that CBD, when administered during the early phases of inflammation, may prevent pain and nerve damage in mammals. This type of preventative treatment with CBD should no doubt help those who can’t sleep due to pain get through the night more comfortably.

Likewise, in a time where many people are working more than they’d like to in environments that push them to put productivity before health, many are going to bed at night with a body and mind weighed down by stress. Thankfully, CBD may provide a cure.

In the journal JCI Insight, a 2017 study showed that a single dose of CBD reduces blood pressure, even in relatively healthy individuals. For those who are more stressed, including those with PTSD, CBD appears to be a powerful therapeutic agent, according to Bitencourt and Takahashi’s paper that was released earlier this year in Frontiers in Neuroscience.

What Is the Best Way to Consume CBD for Sleep?

The physicians at Canabo Medical Clinic recommend that potential CBD users should undergo a short interview, or conduct some personal research, so that they can discover which cannabis varieties would be best suited to their specific needs. When taking CBD concentrates orally, the oil functions very quickly, as it is ingested directly through the mouth and subsequently the lining of the stomach.

The rapid consumption of CBD into the bloodstream means a dose before bed time may facilitate a better night’s sleep.

However, how long CBD takes to work also depends on what form of CBD you are ingesting. CBD comes in various different forms. Here are some ways that CBD can be administered:

  • Sprays taken orally
  • Oil for vaping
  • Oil capsules for oral consumption
  • Infused into food
  • Tinctures for drinking
  • Concentrates of all types

Vaping methods have the fastest working time; however, sprays, tinctures, and concentrates are just as effective. They simply enter into the body by different means and therefore have varying impact times. According to the researchers at the CBD Alliance, becoming a CBD user is also about having patience, and paying close attention to the nuanced effects you experience in the first period of use.

This reinforces that notion that one should test their reaction to CBD–and its various consumption methods–to discover what works best for the individual.

If you are on medication for other ailments, it is always recommended speak with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure you avoid any adverse reactions. When trying to understand what is impairing one’s sleep, it is important to consider the impact of other factors such as prescription medication, stress, and anxiety.

As discussed, CBD may help relieve symptoms of these common ailments, which will in turn benefit your sleep/wake cycle.

Have you tried CBD for sleep? Let us know in the comments how well it works for you!