BY MARIE LODI
Photograph by Stephen Simpson/Getty Images
Sleeping sounds easy enough: put your head on a pillow, close your eyes, and boom — lights out. The reality of it is more complicated. The mandate of 8 hours for optimal health is something we strive for but most of us are clocking in way less than that. It’s a common problem: 30% of the population complain of sleep issues, though only 1 in 10 people make it their priority. The CDC has even declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic. And we know that everything from memory to heart issues to weight loss could be helped, if only we could get some well-needed rest.
You’ve heard about CBD being the magical cure-all for everything from acne to anxiety to stress. And yes, research suggests that cannabidiol could be an effective treatment for insomnia, and may even increase overall sleep time. It’s good news: most common sleep aids aren’t exactly made for long term use. But before you go all-in on CBD as your new nighttime aid, here’s everything you should know.
It’s Not a Magic Sleeping Potion
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as simple as popping a CBD gummy and drifting off to dreamland. Cannabinoids like THC and CBN have sedative properties but cannabidiol works differently by targeting the causes behind your insomnia like anxiety, stress, and pain. It interacts with a chemical in our brains that reduces anxiety, plus it can also lower cortisol levels — a telltale measure of our stress levels. So if you spend every night mentally freaking out about your work to-do list, this is the stuff that can calm your racing mind. And if it’s aching joints or sore muscles that prevent you from drifting off, CBD targets inflammation and relieves discomfort.
It Might Keep You Up
Research has shown that low doses of CBD (which is more likely along the lines of what most people take) can make you feel more alert. The amount you need to go from awake to drowsy depends on the individual — there’s no one size fits all dosage. Plus, CBD’s effectiveness may depend on what time you take it. One study, which looked at the sleep patterns of rats, showed that when CBD was administered during the day, they experienced an increase in wakefulness, compared to a nighttime dose.
So, What Should I Try?
Consider using a product that combines CBD’s relaxing effects with the sedative powers of other cannabinoids like CBN and THC. If you prefer something that you can slip under the tongue, try Prana CBN:CBD Tincture or Kin Slips Shut Eye. You can also swap out your nighttime tea for an infused beverage like Atlas Sleep Chamomile & Mint Beverage Mix CBN:CBD. And if you’re looking for a tried-and-true favorite, dosist’s sleep pen is always a solid bet.