This is a question I am asked often in my business. Experts tell us a good night’s sleep is critical for overall wellbeing and ensures you feel rested and have energy for the next day. Effective sleep also contributes to memory formation, repairing of muscles and tissue, and helps to prevent illness. But how many adults are troubled by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep and what is the culprit? I would suggest there are a couple main contributors to periodic or chronic insomnia – anxiety and body pain. While many look to over the counter and prescription sleep aids, cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming an increasingly popular approach for sleeping better.
How does CBD Work in the Human Body?
To begin to understand how CBD aids sleep, it is important to learn how it works in the human body. In the early 90s, researchers discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which plays a role in maintaining certain body functions, such as mood, appetite, immunity responses, metabolism, memory, sleep, and regulating circadian rhythms – essentially homeostasis or balance in the body.
Within the ECS is a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The two primary receptors identified are CB1 and CB2. CBD works by interacting with a vast collection of different cells and receptors throughout our bodies that make up the ECS.
The ECS involves three core components: Endocannabinoids, Receptors, and Enzymes.
Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body. Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far:
- anandamide (AEA)
- 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
These help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as needed, making it difficult to know what typical levels are for each.
These receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to act.
There are two main endocannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system
- CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells
Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor and the resulting effect depends on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid is bound.
For example, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. Others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation.
Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function.
There are two main enzymes responsible for this:
- fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA
- monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which typically breaks down 2-AG
How does CBD Aid Restful Sleep?
Research suggests that the cannabinoid CBD may interact with specific receptors, potentially affecting the sleep/wake cycle.
CBD reduces anxiety, which can be helpful in reducing sleep difficulties and improving sleep quality. CBD may increase overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia, according to research. CBD has been shown to reduce insomnia in people who suffer from chronic pain.
Research on the effects CBD has on sleep disorders is still preliminary. Some people who use CBD for chronic pain report sleeping better. Currently, it is unclear whether these patients sleep better because of the pain relief or because CBD directly affects their sleep.
Anxiety and CBD
While not a sleep disorder itself, anxiety can contribute to poor quality sleep, insufficient sleep, and sleep disorders. Because CBD calms the nervous system, early research indicates that CBD can be used to treat anxiety-related disorders with success.
Insomnia and CBD
People who suffer from insomnia experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. This disorder affects daytime wakefulness, ability to concentrate, and mood. Because of their history of poor sleep, people with insomnia may suffer from anxiety about getting inadequate sleep, which can then increase sleeplessness at night – a vicious cycle if you will.
Given the potential positive outcomes of CBD treating anxiety, it is speculated that CBD may also help reduce the anxiety associated with insomnia.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and CBD
In REM sleep behavior disorder, patients verbalize and make aggressive movements during their rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. The disorder is most common in older patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
In a limited study of four patients with Parkinson’s disease, CBD helped manage the REM sleep behavior disorder symptoms. Before taking CBD, the patients experienced disorder symptoms 2–7 times per week. After taking CBD, the symptoms occurred 0–1 times in a week. Further studies are necessary, but these initial results suggest CBD as a possible treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Disorder and CBD
Those who have excessive daytime sleepiness disorder struggle to stay awake during typical daytime hours. One solution for waking up on time and staying wake may be CBD. Initial research on animals shows that CBD functions as a wake-inducing drug. However, other studies suggest CBD functions as a sedating drug. Further research is needed to determine what doses and methods of CBD use affect wakefulness and sleepiness.
How to Pick the Best CBD for Sleep
Purchasing a high-quality CBD product is essential. Because CBD is identified as a dietary supplement and not a medication, it is currently not regulated by the FDA for safety and purity. As a result, there is little in the way of regulations in place and unfortunately, there are many contaminated products on the market. If you are looking at a cheap CBD product in your local gas station, reconsider! So, how can you be sure you are purchasing a quality product? The proof of the purity and potency of a CBD product lies in the lab analysis conducted. Any product you purchase should have a corresponding independent lab analysis that details the components contained along with the levels of each component. Additionally, while many companies only test for potency, the product you choose should indicate in the lab analysis that no pesticides, fertilizers, metals or other contaminants are present. Regular users of CBD products should also ensure they do not include extra sugar, colors or additives. Just make sure to evaluate the source of your CBD product before purchasing.
What is CBN and How is it Different than CBD?
I have discussed the amazing benefits of using CBD and now I want to introduce another component , a cannabinoid called cannabidol (CBN). CBD and CBN are two of more than 100 types of natural cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBN is the result of the THC “psychoactive” component aging and breaking down. CBN is about 25% less effective than THC and in lower doses does not provide a psychoactive effect. CBN has been found to be particularly helpful in the relief of inflammation and a more restful sleep. Both CBD and CBN tend to bind with the CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plans a role in the central nervous system functions, one of which is sleep. CBD and CBN together are a very powerful duo for sleep and inflammation.
How can Natural Harmony Help?
Our Natural Harmony Sleep Formula is a 3:1 ratio of CBD and CBN (and contains no THC). Each dropper carries 30mg CBD and 10mg CBN. These two components together are a powerful sleep aid, without a foggy head the next morning. Simply hold the oil under your tongue for 20-30 seconds about 30 minutes before turning in for the night, then swallow. We recommend taking our Natural Harmony Sleep Formula every night before bed for 2 weeks, then adjust your dose and timing based on how you feel.
“Best sleep I have had in years and I can move in the morning”
“I slept all night without shoulder pain”
Experience the purity and quality of our Natural Harmony Sleep Formula by visiting our online store at www.naturalharmony.life
What else should I know about using CBD?
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician at your next appointment.