Sleep is like electricity; you don’t realize how much you rely on it until you don’t have it. Think about what it’s like to sit in an airport looking at the dwindling power icon on your phone with no charger in sight. You look to your left. You look to your right. Everyone else is either losing power on their own phone or already using their charger to bring their dying talk box back to life. It’s kind of like that when you don’t get enough sleep. When your body’s battery ticks down below a certain percentage it starts shutting off “inessential” functions like good judgement and clear thinking.
For many though, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t about opportunity or desire, it’s about something far more serious: a sleeping disorder. Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from one or more sleep disorders – a group of conditions that include varying aspects of: falling asleep, staying asleep, getting too much sleep, sleeping at inappropriate times, and participating in abnormal behaviors while sleeping. An additional 30 million Americans suffer from insufficient sleep, bringing the total to somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 million people with one sleep issue or another.
Common Types of Sleep Disorders:
- Trouble Falling Asleep
- Trouble Staying Asleep
- Sleep Apnea
- Unrestful Sleep
- Jet Lag
- Circadian Rhythm Issues
As is the solution for so many maladies in the 21stcentury, doctors are increasingly prescribing medication to help patients get rest. Prescriptions for drugs such as Lunesta, Restoril, Halcion, Ambien, and Sonata, among others, increased 30-fold between 1994 and 2007 – seriously outpacing insomnia and sleeplessness diagnoses over that same span. And like many pharmacological solutions, there are side effects that can come with the medication.
Potential Side Effects of Prescription and OTC Sleep Aids
- Dizziness or lightheadedness, possibly leading to falls
- Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and nausea
- Prolonged drowsiness, especially with drugs that help you stay asleep
- Severe allergic reaction
- Sleep-related behaviors, such as driving or eating when not fully awake
- Daytime memory and performance problems
That’s why it’s prudent to look beyond the chemical solutions and take a closer look at some natural solutions to sleep problems and sleep disorders. One particular all-natural remedy for sleep disorders that shows a lot of promise with clinical trials and anecdotal evidence is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is generally derived from a strain of the cannabis plant classified as hemp, a plant that’s been on this earth for thousands of years and has served many valuable functions.
There are few worse feelings than being totally mentally or physically exhausted and not being able to fall asleep. But studies show that CBD may be, as Mattress Land likes to say about their mattresses, “your ticket to a better night’s sleep.” Why? Doctor’s don’t know for sure, but it’s possible that it’s partly due to the positive influence CBD has on maintaining homeostasis through the endocannabinoid system.
What is Homeostasis?
A process or reaction our body utilizes to maintain a balanced internal environment:
- Oxygen Levels
- Internal Temperature
- Pain Management
When your homeostatic functions are compromised, it can cause all kinds of problems with your mood, appetite, resistance to disease, and anxiety levels. And studies clearly show that an increase in anxiety often leads to a decrease in sleep.
“Several patients with sleep issues report that ingesting a CBD-rich tincture or extract a few hours before bedtime has a balancing effect that facilitates a good night’s sleep.” — CBD Project
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Issues and Increasing Restful Sleep
In various clinical trials, CBD has shown the ability to decrease the amount of REM sleep issues. REM sleep consists of rapid movements of the eye, body paralysis, increase in heartbeat & breathing, and dreaming. During a state associated with certain conditions, the body paralysis does not occur, giving the dreamer full access to his or her muscles. According to studies, CBD has also shown potential to improve REM sleep abnormalities with those suffering from stress related issues.
How Much CBD Should You Take to Help You Sleep?
Because CBD is not a drug and is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are no true government guidelines. But unlike prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids, you can’t become addicted or realistically consume too much—as the number of lethal CBD overdoses and marijuana overdoses combined in this country has steadily remained at zero for quite some time.
That being said, if you are worried about any potential interactions with your current drugs, please reach out to your prescribing physician. Surprisingly, physicians are more and more willing to have conversations about CBD, and the promise it holds as an alternative remedy.
Selecting the Right CBD to Help You Sleep
It cannot be overstated that you get your CBD from the right place. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, you need to look around and not order from the first CBD supplier you come across. Getting premium CBD oil that is extracted from domestic, organically grown hemp—like the CBD supplied by nganic.com—is a great place to start.
What to Look for When Finding the Right CBD to Help You Sleep
- Know where and how the hemp was grown (organic is the gold standard)
- Make sure the THC level is less than 0.3%
- Concentration should be at least 250 mg/oz
- Third party lab results should be available
- Total CBD amount should be listed
- CBD is superior when extracted using CO2method
- Seller’s phone number should be listed (on website/brochure/etc)
- Seller should NOT make medical claims
- You get what you pay for (bargain rate ≠ bargain)
CBD: Start Slow and Work Your Way Up
As with most health supplements, it’s recommended users start with a low dosage and gradually increase it. It’s a good to see how your body reacts and make adjustments accordingly. For some, one dose under the tongue might be perfect. For others, two, three, or even more doses might be more beneficial.
It’s also suggested that new CBD users stick with it for at least 30-60 days. Many people have reported that their first day of CBD use resulted in the best night’s sleep they experienced in months, but others have needed to take CBD for several weeks to start feeling the benefits.
At the end of the day, everyone has to go with what works best for them. You are unique and using CBD as an all-natural sleep aid will be unique to you. Sweet dreams!