Since the start of the pandemic most of us have had a harder time sleeping. In fact, it was recently reported that 2 of 3 Americans experience trouble falling or staying asleep. As the clock ticks past your bedtime and you toss and turn, scrolling on your phone may become more and more irresistible. Then suddenly, the alarm rings. Or, if you are lucky enough to fall asleep, you may find yourself awake at 3am analyzing your caffeinated beverages from the day, and wondering if it may be time to cut back.
While there is a large focus in our culture on “good sleep hygiene” which includes establishing a nighttime routine, turning down the lights prior to bedtime, and reducing the use of electronic devices, these behavior changes take time and effort to master. Without solid rest, willpower is hard to muster. Annoyingly, we may require a goodnight’s sleep in order to make these behavior changes possible.
The Washington Post reports that 18% of adults are turning to sleep aids in search of a better night's sleep. The problem is many prescription sleep aids are associated with side-effects such as brain fog, dependence on the sleep aid, and grogginess that spills into the following day. A good sleep isn’t good if it is followed by a lousy and unproductive day, and so–the cycle continues. Caffeine, frustration, sleep aid, anxiety, drowsiness - repeat.
As many find themselves seeking rest and avoiding unwanted side-effects, they are looking for a way to break that cycle. They want a middle ground - something that will allow them to get and stay asleep, but do so gently, and without a laundry-list of side-effects. While there is limited research into CBD, one study reports that 65% of participants experienced an improved sleep score when taking CBD.
While more research is needed, it seems that CBD works in a number of different ways to help us sleep. CBD, short for Cannabinoid, is contained in the name of one of our bodily systems called the endocannabinoid system. This system helps to regulate functions in our body including emotions, pain, and sleep and produces endocannabinoid molecules, which are similar to the molecules in the cannabis plant. When CBD attaches to our cannabiniod receptors, it sets off a series of events that improves our circadium rhythm - so we feel tired when we go to bed, and awake when we rise in the morning. Because of its ties to the endocannabinoid system, it can also lessen our anxiety about going to sleep, and assuage any pain that may be keeping you awake.
While research into the world of CBD has a long way to go, anecdotally, the sleep-deprived are finding solace in using CBD to get to sleep.