CBD For Sleep

For anyone interested in the benefits of CBD for sleep, this guide will give you fact-based answers to your questions.

How can CBD help you?

The sleep studies selected for this guide are published by highly reputable organizations.  Collectively, they show CBD has a consistent and positive impact on sleep duration and restfulness.

In this guide you will:

  • learn how to use CBD to get more sleep
  • learn the exact benefits of CBD for insomnia
  • learn how CBD tackles the root causes of insomnia

All the answers to your questions about CBD and sleep are here so let’s get started.

If you don’t find an answer in this guide to a question you have, leave us a comment below and we’ll search the published studies to see if an answer exists and get back to you.

 What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is common and should be taken seriously.

Insomnia definition:  an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for a full night. (1)

 

cbd sleep benefits

 

Up to 30% of Americans struggle with insomnia each year. (2)

Before we can identify how CBD will help you get more sleep, we need a better understanding of the underlying reasons for your insomnia.

 

cbd sleep booster

 

Once you can identify the root causes of your sleep troubles choosing the right CBD sleep aid is easy.

Below I will show you some significant reasons you may have difficulty sleeping…

Causes of Insomnia

Common reasons for difficulty sleeping the leads to insomnia:

Sleep Trick: Try This

 

Jim Donovan is a drummer who teaches music and wellness.

He’s a pretty cool guy.

Like a lot of people, he has insomnia caused by anxiety.

Anxiety insomnia is when you keep thinking and thinking and thinking when you should be sleeping.

In this TED video, Jim demonstrates his quick trick for sleep.

His sleep trick prepares you for sleep in about a minute.

Not bad, right?

Jim’s got a great take on sleep disorders.

You’ll love his anxiety insights and his cure for insomnia.

Daily Stress And Sleep

Do you struggle with daily stress?

How do you know when the stress in your life has become too much?

Is it causing you to lose sleep?

The inability to get a completely restful night of sleep is a sign of unhealthy stress (3)

 

cbd stress sleep aid

If stress is keeping you up, consider taking CBD to get your mind ready for sleep.

 

 

Stress Insomnia

Stress disorders are often the root cause of insomnia. (4)

These are all frequently experienced stress conditions.

Do you have long periods of poor quality sleep or even sleeplessness?

How long do those period last?

A month or more?

cbd sleep aid

Chronic insomnia is usually characterized as lasting 1 month or more of poor quality sleep.

Anxiety Insomnia

Does anxiety keep you from getting to sleep within a reasonable amount of time?

Do you get in bed tired but still have difficulty quieting your thoughts long enough to get to sleep?

A persistently restless mind when you should otherwise be sleeping is often a symptom of anxiety.

So, when the light goes out what happens?

Does your mind race around and around—one thought after the next?

Unfortunately, a ‘racing mind’ is likely anxiety keeping you awake.

 

cannabidiol anxiety treatment

 

If anxiety is clearly at the root of what causes your insomnia, check out this guide to a collection of recent scientific studies about CBD benefits for anxiety.

It might be just what you need to get better sleep.

cannabidiol guide to anxiety benefits based on latest medical studies recent to 2020

 

 

Sleep Onset Insomnia vs. Sleep Maintenance Insomnia

 

Stress disorders frequently cause periods of sleep-onset insomnia or sleep maintenance insomnia.

Sleep onset insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep. (5)

 

cbd sleep benefits

Sleep maintenance insomnia is defined as not being able to stay asleep through the night.

cannabidiol insomnia pain benefits

Of course, you don’t need to have a full-blown stress ‘disorder’ to be kept up at night.

Insomnia usually lasts for some duration of time and often there isn’t a specific cause you can point to.

CBD Sleep Aid

My ability to get a full night’s sleep seemed out of my control until I started using CBD to break down my anxiety.

Then, regular sleep followed.

In 2019, a study on CBD benefits for sleep and anxiety took a practical look at CBD’s overall benefits.

cbd sleep clinical trial

This medical study concluded that CBD helped relieve both anxiety and sleep difficulties in the majority of patients but long term sleep from CBD fluctuated. (6)

 

cbd sleep aid

These results suggest that CBD may be better used as a short term sleep aid to help get your sleep back on track rather than a long term fix for chronic insomnia.

The researchers conclude that further clinical studies are needed to fully determine the benefit of CBD. (7)

Interestingly, the CBD dosage tested in this sleep study was lower than most clinical studies and more in line with what is practically available to the general public.

cbd anxiety sleep benefits medical study

Whether you suffer from chronic insomnia or intermittent bouts of sleeplessness, CBD has shown results helping many people get back to regular restful sleep.

Other studies have shown higher CBD dosages can increase the duration of sleep but may result in sedative effects. (8)

cannabidiol sleep maintenance benefits

Though CBD’s sleep mechanism of action is not clearly defined yet, CBD appears to help sleep by effecting a critical regulatory system in your body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is your body’s natural way of regulating anxiety stress and maintaining mental and physical balance. (9)

cbd mental health

CBD is able to affect the root causes of anxiety insomnia because it mimics signaling compounds in your body’s natural system for regulating anxiety.

CBD’s most basic benefit for helping you get to sleep is that it tackles anxiety.

CBD tames anxiety so you’re more ready for sleep.

 

 

Change How You Feel With CBD

It’s a fact…

You’re supposed to get a full night’s sleep.

Your body has developed regulatory systems that are supposed to promote full restful sleep.

You shouldn’t have to worry about getting enough sleep.

But, sometimes our body doesn’t work optimally.

That’s where CBD can be a useful sleep aid.

 

cbd sleep benefits

CBD boosts the signaling mechanism of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). (10)

So, CBD and cannabinoids help to keep your endocannabinoid system balanced.

In turn, your endocannabinoid system helps to keep your mind and body balanced.

That’s how CBD really works.

Notice the ‘cannabinoid’ part of your endo-‘cannabinoid’ system.

There’s a reason phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids sound so similar…it’s because they are very similar compounds.

Plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and the cannabinoids your body naturally makes (endogenous cannabinoids) are actually so similar that your body can’t tell them apart.

cbd sleep benefits

Hemp chemovars (strains) are full of cannabinoids like CBD that mimic the cannabinoids made by your body.

Everybody’s natural regulatory system runs on a broad range of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids, like CBD, are the chemicals that your endocannabinoid system naturally uses to keep you operating smoothly. (10)

cannabidiol health benefits

 

Hemp is practically the only source of natural cannabinoids in the plant world.

Humans and hemp.

Amazing fit, right?

That’s how CBD helps your critical regulatory systems like your system for sleep.

CBD near-perfectly mimics the compounds your body already makes to regulate itself.

 

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CBD Sleep Aid: Anxiety

Can you relate to this feeling

You’re in bed late at night.

The lights are out and you’re comfortable but your brain stubbornly won’t shut down for sleep.

You think about things in your life.

Some thoughts are stressful some are just persistent thoughts about your day.

When you can’t get your mind to rest long enough to fall asleep, that’s anxiety keeping you awake.

Even if you don’t feel “worried”, your mind not shutting down for sleep is likely a symptom of anxiety.

Sleep onset insomnia (sleep initiation insomnia) is a type of insomnia frequently caused by anxiety.

It is characterized as an inability to get to sleep.

 

cbd anxiety insomnia treatment

And, in fact, anxiety is one of the most common causes of insomnia.

I’ve struggled with it for years.

Anxiety insomnia is what first brought me to CBD.

You are not alone.

 

 

CBD For Anxiety

CBD is consistently recognized in scientific literature and clinical studies for its anxiety-relieving benefits. (11)

 

cannabidiol anxiety sleep aid

CBD can quiet the hypersensitivity and anxious feelings that keep you awake.

CBD boosts your ECS—a natural system that regulates anxiety.

Your ECS (endocannabinoid system) is a critical system that helps regulate your mood and body.

Your ECS effects:

  • sleep
  • appetite
  • muscle recovery
  • mood
  • confidence
  • anxiety feelings
  • and many more critical functions (12)

Sometimes your endocannabinoid system doesn’t work optimally leading to results like sleeplessness.

That’s when different types of cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and CBN become helpful.

Anxiety Benefits: CBD vs. CBG vs. CBN

Several different cannabinoid compounds moderate feelings of anxiety and stress.

CBD is the best known but CBG and CBN have slightly different benefits for anxiety as well.

CBN (cannabinol), in particular, is helpful for insomnia.

CBN has the most powerful sedative effects of any of the cannabinoid compounds. (13)

cbn sedative effects

 

CBN helps me get to sleep at my most anxious times—when I need something stronger than CBD.

Cannabinol (CBN) is not usually available in high quantities in hemp.

It is created when THC chemically degrades from exposure to light, air, and heat.

Unlike CBG and CBD which are non-psychoactive cannabinoids, CBN is a mildly psychoactive compound.

CBN is thought to be about 10% as psychoactive as its precursor compound, THC.

It may mildly intoxicate some individuals and there is very little research as to whether it would cause a positive drug test so be cautious taking CBN if these are concerns of yours.

 

 

 

Sleep Onset Insomnia: Anxiety

CBN has much stronger sedative effects than CBD.

You might consider taking CBN during instances of severe stress-induced insomnia.

I take it for acute insomnia symptoms—those times when nothing else is strong enough.

Check out our guide to CBN benefits for sleep here.

cannabinol anxiety sedative effects

CBN taken with terpenes like linalool has been reported to have sedative effects similar to Valium.

terpene cannabinol sedative effects

But, unlike Valium, CBN is all-natural and non-habit forming.

cannabinol non-habit forming sedative

 

Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: Pain

Maybe you have no problem getting to sleep but you can’t stay asleep for the whole night?

That’s called sleep maintenance insomnia.

My mother struggles with this type of insomnia.

It’s terrible.

In the morning, she’s exhausted right out of bed and can’t seem to get the rest she needs.

Sleep maintenance insomnia is often caused by discomfort or pain. (14)

 

cbg sleep aid

CBG’s pain-relieving properties effectively help my mother’s ability to sleep throughout the entire night.

sleep maintenance insomnia

She likes CBG because its sedative effects are much milder than CBN and nonintoxicating.

She doesn’t like the feeling of a strong sedative.

She prefers something that will make her feel relaxed but she never wants to feel groggy in the morning.

CBG has excellent pain and inflammation-fighting properties.

cannabigerol pain inflammation benefits

Chronic pain and inflammation are two of the most frequent causes of discomfort that result in a lack of sleep.

CBG has properties that help to reduce inflammation and change the way pain is perceived. (15)

cannabigerol chronic pain

That’s one reason CBG (cannabigerol) works well for sleep maintenance insomnia.

It helps to quiet the physical conditions that wake my mother too early and ruin her sleep quality.

CBG helps with sleep and body recovery so you wake up rested.

It has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits too. (16)

CBG relieves the pain and physical symptoms that make it tough to stay asleep.

 

Terpenes 

This is a good time to mention the importance of terpenes.

Terpenes are natural compounds found in hemp.

They’re the aroma compounds that give each CBD hemp strains their unique smell and flavor—but they have vast health benefits too.

cbd terpene smell taste hemp

Terpenes are actually tasty, too.

Coming from this chef, that’s high praise.

Terpenes are helpful for anxiety-related sleep problems.

Terpene health and mood benefits have some similarities to CBD.

But, when you take terpenes and CBD together, both compounds become more effective.

That’s called the “entourage effect.”

Terpene Entourage Effect

Terpenes and CBD work together like a benefits tag team.

Taking CBD with terpenes lengthens and strengthens the health benefits of both compounds and there is some evidence that it helps to target their benefits as well. (17)

cannabidiol targeted health benefits

For anxiety and stress, CBD has its best outcomes when taken together with terpenes.

Learn more about terpene benefits in our scientific guide to 16 important terpenes.

scientific terpene guide

Our guide will quickly change how you think about terpenes, CBD and how to best use these compounds together.

In the next section of this guide to CBD and sleep, let’s look at which terpenes will work best for your specific insomnia causes.

 

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Terpenes and CBD for Anxiety

List of important terpenes for anxiety:

terpene anxiolytic effects

Limonene

 

Limonene is found in a wide variety of citrus fruits and high CBD hemp strains.

It helps uplift mood and reduces stress.

NIH research suggests that terpenes like limonene may have anxiety-relieving effects. (18)

limonene mental health benefits

Limonene boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain and may have antidepressant benefits to complement anti-anxiety benefits. (19)

If you are interested in more info about limonene benefits when taken together with cannabinoids click here.

terpene entourage effect

 

Myrcene

Myrcene is found in many high CBD hemp strains.

It’s also found in high quantities in fruits like mango.

Myrcene extends the relaxing benefits of cannabinoids like CBD and CBG.

 

terpene cannabinoid entourage effect

Myrcene has strong anti-inflammatory properties and sedative effects of it own.

If you’re interested in more in-depth information about myrcene effects click here.

myrcene health benefits

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene has substantial anti-inflammatory benefits.

Its anti-inflammatory properties have even shown the ability to benefit brain aging and degenerative neurological conditions. (20)

 

caryophyllene brain aging parkinsons benefits

Caryophyllene has stress-reducing properties, too. (21)

Caryophyllene is found in high CBD hemp strains, black pepper, cloves, and spices.

Taken with CBD, caryophyllene helps reduce anxiety. (22)

It’s one of the best terpenes for insomnia.

If you’re interested in more in-depth scientific information about the health benefits of caryophyllene click here.terpene anti-inflammatory benefits

 

 

Linalool

 

The terpene linalool is found in high CBD hemp strains and lavender.

It’s also found in over 200 plant species!

Linalool is a traditional medicine that has been used for centuries.

In acupuncture, linalool is believed to have circulatory and heart benefits. 

Linalool has been studied in western medicine for its stress-relieving properties. (24)

 

terpene anxiety benefits

If anxiety is keeping you awake, you may want to try linalool with your CBD oil.

For more in-depth information about linalool health and mood benefits click here.

linalool stress reducer

In the next section, we’ll see how CBD for depression can resolve your insomnia and uplift your mood.

 

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CBD For Depression Insomnia

Like anxiety, depression is a psychiatric disorder that can cause insomnia. (23)

cbd depression treatment

If depression becomes chronic, it frequently leads to insomnia.

This can start a distressing negative feedback loop where being constantly tired causes you to become more depressed.

 

Depression Insomnia Loop

Depression leads to insomnia.

Insomnia leads to more intense depression.

Which leads to more insomnia…

Fortunately, CBD has benefits for both insomnia and depression.

CBD may be able to break your depression-insomnia loop rapidly.

A 2019 medical study demonstrated CBD has a rapid and sustained anti-depressant effect in animal models. (24)

cannabidiol quick antidepressant sleep benefit

Though widely thought to have fast-acting antidepressant effects, more clinical research on CBD is needed to confirm these benefits to a scientific standard.

Seasonal Depression Insomnia

Seasonal depression leads to difficulty sleeping.

It’s natural to feel a little depressed as fall turns to winter. 

You’re spending more time inside and receiving less sunlight.

This alone can have a short-term depressive effect.

cannabinoid sleep benefits

People are naturally geared to feel this way. (25)

But, sometimes this seasonal feeling can come on too strong or have effects on your sleep.

The result is an interruption in your sleep pattern.

CBD may help you restore your sleep cycle quickly and without becoming habit-forming.

I use CBD as a bridge to a new sleep cycle while my body to adjusts to the shorter days of winter.

Additionally, CBD doesn’t wreck your new sleep cycle when you stop taking it.

Use CBD for insomnia only as long as you need it.

CBD can help put you in control of your sleep.

CBD For Depression

CBD tincture plus terpenes like limonene change the way your brain uses serotonin and dopamine.

cannabidiol depression benefits

Serotonin and dopamine are the same organic compounds pharmaceutical drugs regulate to relieve depression. (26)

But unlike pharmaceuticals, CBD naturally effects depression and insomnia. (27)

cannabidiol depression medical study

CBD relieves symptoms of chronic and seasonal depression.

When depression is at the root of your insomnia, CBD may help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

CBD for Stress-related Depression 

An exciting 2018 medical study suggests that CBD treats stress related to depression and anxiety. (28)

cannabidiol antidepressant medical study

As we’ve already discussed, stress is known to be the main cause of insomnia.

But, stress can also cause depression.

The above study stated that the exact mechanism of how CBD treats depression was not clear. (29)

Nonetheless, the study results do suggest CBD alleviates specific types of anxiety and depression.

More study is needed to fully understand the extent of CBD’s benefits for depression and its exact method of action.

 

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CBD for Insomnia: PTSD

PTSD is a major cause of insomnia.

3.5% of Americans are currently struggling with PTSD and 1 in 11 will be diagnosed with PTSD during their lifetime. (30)

PTSD is very common and it frequently leads to insomnia.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition initiated by a terrifying event.

cannabidiol ptsd benefits

PTSD is caused by either experiencing the event or witnessing it.

PTSD symptoms include severe anxiety, nightmares, fear of nightmares, flashbacks and uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event.

Given that list of disturbing symptoms, it’s understandable how PTSD can cause insomnia of the worst kind. (31)

 

ptsd symptoms cbd relief

The good news is CBD has significant benefits for PTSD.

According to the 2018 study below, CBD’s benefits go beyond PTSD symptom relief to affect the core memories that are the root cause of the disorder. (32)

cannabidiol ptsd clinical trial

 

PTSD: Anxiety and Depression

 CBD has benefits for anxiety (a symptom of PTSD) and depression (a common follow-on effect of PTSD).

A recent study published in April of 2019 found that an 8-week course of oral CBD reduced symptoms of PTSD in 91% of the participants. (33)

cannabidiol ptsd clinical trial

The PCL-5 score (a way of testing for the severity of PTSD symptoms) decreased by a mean average of 28% in study participants. (34)

This new medical research suggests CBD causes a substantial decrease in PTSD symptoms.

cannabidiol ptsd benefits

While the terpene content of CBD oil used in the study is not known, the addition of terpenes such as limonene and pinene may have substantial benefits for those struggling with PTSD sleep-related symptoms.

Though insomnia was not specifically addressed in the study, decreasing the overall symptom burden of PTSD through oral CBD consumption may be expected to contribute to better sleep.

If you’re interested in more in-depth studies about CBD benefits for PTSD check out our guide here.

cbd ptsd clinical study

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CBD for Insomnia: Allergies

One of the main benefits of CBD and terpene consumption is its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Inflammation is one of the main symptoms of allergic reactions.

Inflammation fighting benefits of CBD can be very useful in the treatment of seasonal allergies that lead to insomnia. (35)

By cutting back inflammation and reducing pressure, consumers of CBD oil report their breathing and pain-related symptoms from inflammation are improved.

cannabidiol insomnia allergy benefits

Congested airways and physical pain are frequent contributors to insomnia.

By taking CBD and terpenes to reduce allergy symptoms, you can set the conditions for restful sleep.

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CBD for Insomnia: Pain Relief

CBD has pain-relieving benefits for chronic neuropathic pain and pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. (36)

cannabidiol arthritis inflammation benefit

CBD interacts with a part of your nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD changes the way pain is transmitted through the nervous system. (37)

cbd pain clinical study

CBD and terpenes have inflammation benefits which can relieve joint and arthritis pain. (38)

cbd pain treatment

Physical pain is a frequent obstacle to getting the sleep you need.

Pain-relieving  CBD and terpenes will put you on the path to more restful sleep.

 

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Other Causes: Medications

Some pharmaceutical medications cause insomnia.

This is something you want to talk to your doctor about.

Medications that are known to cause insomnia:

  • some allergy and sinus medication
  • blood pressure medications
  • medications for heart disease
  • some asthma medications
  • some depression medications.

Lifestyle Choices

There are many ways you can achieve a better night’s sleep.

Tip: Try watching the sleep trick in Jim Donovan’s TED talk video at that beginning of this article.

CBD is helpful but behavior and lifestyle choices can make the difference between getting to sleep or tossing and turning for hours.

Having a bedtime routine, a safe and comfortable place to sleep, and not using technology before bed are all good examples of lifestyle sleep aids.

Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol are known factors that contribute to difficulty sleeping.

Decreasing your consumption of any of these can benefit your sleep quality and help get you to sleep faster.

If you’re looking for an evening relaxer, lay off the Nic and Alcohol.

Try CBD hemp.

That’s what I do once my kitchen closes up for the evening.

Resting into a nice hemp joint of a favorite strain is my favorite part of the day.

There are tons of tasty hemp chemovars (strains) and they’re legal in the U.S. since 2018.

Develop a new nightly routine that will help you sleep.

 

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References

 

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