CBD’s versatility is definitely a thing of greatness – because what truly makes CBD (short for cannabidiol) so special is its potential to improve the quality of your life as a whole. There are many things that CBD can do for the system. And since wellbeing can encompass a wealth of different things, we are narrowing down how using CBD oil for sleep can improve our sleep patterns – and our mood, as a result.
One thing about the mood: it ties very closely to sleep hygiene. In fact, sleep claims a huge chunk of how we function, feel and respond to things. And, as a consequence, a good sleep cycle can severely improve our mental health.
According to a wealth of research out there, good sleep hygiene is the number one step to a better quality of life. Here are just some things a good night’s sleep can do for us:
- Let’s the brain store all the information we need;
- Repairs cells, tissues, muscles and organs in the body;
- Organises the nerve cells;
- Conserves energy;
- Regulates emotions;
- Aids weight-loss;
- Boosts immunity;
- Keeps the heart healthy.
Note that these are just some things that a regular sleep routine can implement – which means that, with more research and understanding, there’s a lot more to the list. A good sleep routine keeps us healthy, emotionally stable and full of energy. Long story short, sleep controls almost all other avenues of our life.
But, despite knowing this, many of us struggle to get sleep.
Most of the time, this isn’t our fault. With day-to-day requirements becoming more strenuous, stressful encounters playing around in the back of our minds, and mental health issues getting in the way, it can be really hard to get the consistent 7-9 hours we need. Despite the body having its own circadian rhythm (i.e., our very own built in and personal sleep monitor), it can be easy to fight our own instincts. Hence, many of us end up developing insomnia or other such issues- making it difficult to sleep and, as a consequence, difficult to function at our best.
According to research, a healthy and restorative night’s sleep can be incredibly essential in a number of ways – in particular, good sleep hygiene can help keep symptoms of depression and anxiety at bay. Statistically, those who suffer from insomnia are four times more likely to form depression and, out of a case study of 10,000 people, twenty times more likely to develop some type of panic disorder (or generalised anxiety).
This is because when we don’t get proper sleep, our cognitive processes become all haywire. As iterated above, sleep gives our body time to recover – deeper still; it allows our body to shut down so that unconscious processes can take place. This involves the brain depositing what it doesn’t need, healing (emotional and physical) to occur and, when it comes to boosting mental health, allowing our synapses to rest. This last point is, most likely, how sleep can keep depression at bay.
Basically, when we’re awake and conscious, our brain is constantly signalling- shooting messages across our neurons via little gaps known as synapses. Without a regular sleep routine, these synapses can become fatigued- too much signalling is going on, without enough time for our synapses to restore and recover. Essentially, lack of sleep decreases synaptic strength – which can cause cognitive impairment. It can also increase the chances of a person developing depression and/or anxiety…and worsen symptoms in already existing cases.
So, here’s the scientific bit: this neuroplasticity (how proficient our neurons are) can be severely impacted in a sleep-deprived person. And it can end up having an impact on how feel-good neurotransmitters (think, serotonin, dopamine, GABA) are perceived. It’s theorised that sleep deprivation makes the brain less sensitive to feel-good neurotransmitters. In fact, REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) has been shown to increase the concentration of serotonin in the brain.
In most cases, fragmented or unhealthy sleep lowers the reward-circuit of the brain, causes a loss of the receptor known as NMDA (which can cause paranoia, hallucinations, low mood and loss of memory, among other things) and impairs a process known as LTP (long-term potentiation) and increases LTD (long-term depression)- in a nutshell (if you haven’t already guessed) this means, with less sleep, you are prone to weaker neurons, a higher chance of forgetfulness and an increased risk of long-term depression.
But, it’s easy to talk about getting enough sleep. Putting it into action can be a lot harder. According to studies, insomnia is prevalent in as high as 50-60% of adults – with chronic insomnia touching 33% within the adult groups sampled in this study.
So, a natural sleep aid is a pretty vital necessity for many of us. This is where CBD comes in strong!
For centuries, people have been turning to CBD as a sleep aid. According to research, CBD oil has the potential to decrease cortisol levels (which are typically high in those who suffer from insomnia – especially at night-time), improve how the brain perceives serotonin (by potentially activating 5-HT receptors) and lowering pain perception and boosting feelings of happiness and relaxation in the brain. Above all, CBD can lower anxiety levels- and, as a result, tends to act as a sedative for those with insomnia.
A study on cannabidiol on anxiety and sleep explains how CBD acts as a sleep-aid: essentially, CBD ‘calms’ the central nervous system (the system responsible for fight or flight), activates the feel-good serotonergic pathway to promote wellness and wellbeing (as well as promoting the release of other neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and GABA) and encourages a restful, balanced state (by helping to modulate the endocannabinoid system by promoting homeostasis in the body). It seems that research concludes that it is CBD’s potential to relieve anxiety which might make it a good sleep-aid. Since many instances of insomnia are also closely tied to stress, anxiety or trauma, CBD’s power to lessen these might help promote it as a sleep aid. CBD’s positive effects on pain, neuroplasticity and neurotransmitters might also have a significant role to play as an effective sleep aid.
Sleeping regularly and routinely is much easier said than done. Many of us have gone through bouts of insomnia (and have woken up the next day feeling the effects!). We all understand, in theory, how sleep can improve our lives.
But, with CBD making a name for itself in the markets as an anxiety-reliever and potential sleep-aid, there may be a way to actually prioritise high-quality sleep – using cannabidiol as a natural nightcap.