How CBD Affects Sleep

We have heard that CBD can help to treat Inflammation as well as anxiety, however, how does CBD affect our sleep?

All cannabinoids interact with specific receptors in our endocannabinoid system, and in doing so, they may influence our circadian rhythm. Our brain’s master circadian clock is primarily responsible for synchronizing our circadian rhythms, regulating our sleep-wake cycles as well as many other physiological functions in our bodies, which includes appetite, metabolism, as well as immunity.

Research suggests that CBD & other cannabinoids may affect the timing of circadian clocks. 

Recent studies are also showing that CBD may affect specific genes that regulate the timing of our circadian clocks, leading some researchers to believe that CBD could be a possible treatment for circadian-clock-related disorders.

Disruptions to circadian sleep-wake cycles are a cause of poor sleep and irregular sleep patterns. Recent studies done on animal models shows that CBD may help strengthen sleep-wake cycles as well as increase quality sleep time.

How does CBD affect REM Sleep?

CBD has also been found to address abnormalities of REM(rapid eye movement) sleep, a sleep stage that is critical for restarting/refreshing the brain’s cognitive and emotional processing centers. CBD has so far been effective in treating REM behavior disorder in patients with Parkinson’s syndrome.

So what is REM sleep behavior disorder? It is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep, so next time your spouse hits you in the face while sleeping, it may be a real problem. 

Typically, during REM sleep, our body is mostly paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This paralyzation keeps sleepers from acting out their dreams in reality. With REM sleep behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leading to disruptive sleep and injuring themselves or even their partners. This disorder has been linked to neurological and neurodegenerative conditions, which includes Parkinson’s disease and narcolepsy, and can also occur with PTSD.

CBD helps with Pain

Like we mentioned above, CBD has both analgesic and anxiolytic properties, basically meaning it can help with pain and anxiety. CBD has also shown promising signs of having anti-depressant effects in animal models as well as increasing serotonin levels in the brain. These capabilities can put CBD in league as a possible source of relief for sleep problems. But why is it only “possible”? This is due to research so far being limited with very little studies done on poor sleepers, which means these effects may only be produced in normal sleepers.

Physical pain and dysregulation of mood (including stress, anxiety disorders, and depression) are some of the most common underlying causes of insufficient, poor-quality rest and often contribute to insomnia. 

Since CBD works as an anti-inflammatory, it is a promising therapy for treating inflammation and offering protection from inflammation-related disruptions to sleep. 

There is a growing amount of evidence that supports CBD’s power to calm the central nervous system, which has profound implications for sleep. This soothing, mood-stabilizing cannabinoid has demonstrated effectiveness in both animal and human models in improving some forms of anxiety.

In a 2019 study done on those with anxiety and sleep issues, researchers found a 25mg daily dose of CBD reduced self-reported anxiety in 79% of the participants after only one month of use. On top of that it also improved sleep by 66%. 

Also another thing to take note on, was the timing of CBD dosing: participants who reported anxiety as their primary issue were told to take the CBD in the morning, and those that said sleep was their primary complaint would take the CBD in the evening.

Based on CBDs ability to reduce both inflammation and anxiety, it seems to be perfect for those suffering from sleep issues since most sleep disorders have an underlying cause of either pain or anxiety. CBD may have a role in treating some sleep disorders, mood disorders, and pain disorders that affect sleep. However, since the science is still too early to tell, we ask you to always discuss with your doctor before trying CBD.

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