Is CBD the key to a good night’s sleep? We ask the expert.
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and runs a health consultancy specialising in the nutritional neurology, the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabininoids including CBD.
CBD often comes up when sleep troubles are the topic of conversation. We asked one expert in this area if this cannabinoid could hold the key to a good night’s sleep.
With winter coming and the days getting shorter, those long nights are creeping in fast. This can impact our energy levels and with the clocks changing our sleep patterns are often disrupted.
What can we do to help regulate our body clocks and enjoy good sleep and energy through the winter months?
As a clinical neuroscientist, Dr Elisabeth recommends several things to help with sleep; using light boxes to regulate sleep hormones; switching your phone off an hour before bed; and stop drinking caffeinated drinks after midday.
There’s also a lot of buzz around the hemp product Cannabidiol helping sleep, but does the hype really stack up?
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Sleep: Getting it right
A good night’s sleep is as important for our health as nutrition and exercise. But it’s not just the quantity of sleep we get on a nightly basis that’s important; it’s also the quality. If you wake feeling refreshed and ready to go within 10-15 minutes (without the use of caffeine) then this is a good indication you’ve had the right quality (and quantity) of sleep. However, for many people this isn’t the case but simply reaching for sleeping medication or alcohol is not a long-term solution.
How can CBD help?
CBD works within the endocannabinoid system, which is spread throughout the body. CB1 receptors are particularly concentrated in the brain, including the centres responsible for sleep regulation, mood and pain perception. CBD from the hemp plant raises natural levels of our body’s own endocannabinoids (mainly anandamide) and this helps to regulate sleep patterns, reduce anxiety, as well as reduce inflammation and associated pain; all factors that can keep us awake and disrupt our sleep.
A 2019 study showed that 67% of patients taking 25mg CBD capsules after dinner improved their sleep within the first month. A very small-scale study also showed that sleep was improved in people with Parkinson’s disease, where deep sleep phases are often disrupted.
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How does CBD work to make us sleep better?
The exact mechanisms are still being investigated but importantly CBD does not act as a sedative and does not alter healthy sleep patterns, which is the problem with alcohol and sleep medications.
So, what now?
Whilst we shouldn’t get carried away and presume that CBD is the magic bullet for all of our sleep problems, the research is beginning to suggest that CBD and other phytocannabinoids and nutrients in the hemp plant in general have a lot to offer. Yes, large-scale trials with hundreds of people are needed to better understand the exact mechanisms and benefits but from my own personal use and clinical experience, adding a CBD product such as oil or capsules from a reputable brand into your bedtime routine will help to improve sleep quality and energy throughout the day.
Read more: How do I know if my CBD is working?