A User’s Guide to CBD for Sleep

By Melena Gurganus
Bruce Mars, Unsplash

Your schedule may not always align with your body’s needs, and compromising the amount of sleep you’re getting is common. But without a good night’s rest, you’re putting yourself at risk. It’s harder to concentrate and remember details when you’re functioning on minimal rest. A lack of sleep can also impact your health in the long term. That’s why people are taking CBD for sleep, to hopefully get a better night’s sleep.

Why do you need sleep?

Many restorative, strengthening, and memory-building processes are put into action as we sleep, so it makes sense that our cognitive functioning would be hampered by insufficient amounts of rest.

By reducing the amount of rest given to your brain, it’s possible to disrupt your circadian rhythm as well. This biological clock plays an important role in establishing a sleep-wake cycle, as it tells your brain when to release sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin. When you’ve disrupted your sleep pattern and received less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, it can create a hormonal imbalance that contributes to sleep irregularities.

CBD Oil for sleep

Once your internal clock is no longer in sync with your sleep cycle, it’s not easy to get back on track. Even when you know your body is tired and needs rest, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can keep you up at night. Some natural remedies, like aromatherapy and herbal teas, can create a soothing environment to promote sleep. However, it may take more than relaxing surroundings to calm an active mind after a hectic day.

Thus, CBD comes into play as a potentially effective sleep aid.

It’s no secret that CBD may provide relief of symptoms related to a broad range of ailments. But can this cannabis extract really improve your sleeping habits?

According to a paper published by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, it would seem so. The authors of this review compiled scientific research in an effort to discuss the effects of cannabis on sleep, including the recent findings that pertain to the use of CBD for sleep disorders. In this review, it was concluded that the initial basic research suggests that medium to high doses of CBD may improve sleep and lead to an increase in total sleep.

In addition, CBD is a phytocannabinoid that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a major system in the body that helps to maintain homeostasis. This means that CBD and other cannabinoids might help regulate a variety of hormones, including those that prevent and promote sleep.

Finding the best CBD for sleep

Not all CBD oils are created with the same standards in mind, so it’s important to do your research beforehand to find the best product for your purposes. For sleep, we find that many people report having a better experience when using full-spectrum CBD as opposed to CBD isolate. When a broader range of cannabinoids are working together, they may have a more synergistic effect that leads to better results.

In addition to trying full-spectrum CBD, it’s also helpful to look for products that incorporate other natural sleep enhancers. CBD can be combined with natural hormones like melatonin, which helps regulate sleep and wakefulness, or paired with additional terpenes like Myrcene, which has its own sedative properties. When mixed with CBD oil, these compounds work well together to enhance its sleep inducing effects on the body.

We’ve noticed some CBD oils or products that consumers consistently report using for their sleep inducing effects, and we compiled a list of some of our favorites:

NuLeaf Naturals

What they offer: High grade CBD hemp oils that are available in 5 different bottle sizes.

What we love: NuLeaf Naturals formulates their products to have the same 50mg of CBD in each milliliter, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of dosing. Many customer reviews also noted that this highly concentrated formula helped alleviate their sleep issues.


What they offer: Three different concentrations of CBD oil to choose from (350mg, 700mg, and 1,000mg).

What we love: Rosebud is a female-led CBD brand that is dedicated to producing quality products. This brand also includes helpful dosing cards with each order of their CBD oil, which is a useful tool when trying to judge the amount of CBD you’re taking.

Green Roads

What they offer: A wide range of high-quality, pharmacist-formulated products including everything from CBD oil and capsules, to gummies and pain cream.

What we love: Green Roads gives customers plenty of options to choose from when selecting a CBD product that’s right for them. We particularly like their Sleepy Z’s gummies that include 0.5 grams of melatonin in addition to 25mg of CBD, which are a great introductory product for anyone who’s curious about trying CBD for sleep.

Is CBD good for insomnia?

It’s estimated that around 60 million people are affected by insomnia in the U.S. every year, yet there are few treatments that can provide relief for this disorder. Medications that are prescribed as sleep aids often turn out to do more harm than good, as they can worsen symptoms of insomnia and make it more difficult to fall asleep on your own. Many insomniacs try to find other ways to deal with their sleepless nights, such as sticking to a sleep schedule or avoiding caffeine. Although, it seems inevitable that there will be nights where you just can’t seem to get any shut-eye. In such cases, many people have found relief by giving CBD a try.

When it comes to insomnia, stress and anxiety are two key players that have major impacts on your ability to sleep properly. Preclinical studies have shown CBD’s ability to elevate relaxation and reduce the effects of disorders pertaining to social anxiety, post traumatic stress, and generalized anxiety. This highlights CBD’s potential for reducing feelings of worry, stress, and anxiety that can often cause you to miss out on hours of sleep.

Related: CBD Oil for Anxiety

Another culprit causing many people to lose sleep is chronic pain. If you have trouble falling asleep for this reason, CBD has proven to be quite useful in mitigating aches and pains throughout the body. Some CBD brands have arisen out of a desire to help people with these problems, like Joy Organics, whose founder started her own line of CBD products after her debilitating chronic pain and sleep issues led her to discover CBD as a natural remedy for these conditions.

Related: CBD Oil for Pain

How to use CBD as a sleep aid

There are several ways to administer CBD, and some methods will take effect faster than others.

For quick relief, keeping a CBD oil tincture or vape pen on your nightstand isn’t a bad idea. These products allow CBD to absorb into the bloodstream almost immediately. When you ingest CBD, it will take longer for the calming effects to set in since the product has to go through your digestive system before being fully absorbed. With this method, it’s best to take CBD 30 minutes to an hour before you intend to go to sleep so it can have time to take effect.

When using CBD for localized pain, topical balms and lotions are good choices that can relieve pain without affecting the rest of your body.

Additionally, CBD is non-addictive, so you won’t develop a dependency while using it as a sleep aid. Your body also does not develop a tolerance to CBD, which is a plus as you shouldn’t have to increase your dosage overtime. However, when you use CBD for the first time, it’s best to start in low doses and work your way up to find what’s best for you.

FAQs about CBD for sleep

Is CBD a sedative?

No, CBD on its own is not responsible for inducing sleep, but it may promote relaxation and stress relief which makes it easier to fall asleep. Another terpene called Myrcene is more commonly accredited for its sedative properties. Full-spectrum CBD oils may contain myrcene to induce sleep, if you need more than relaxation to get some rest at night.

How long do the effects of CBD last?

The length of time that CBD can last in your system will depend on the method of use.

Is it legal to buy CBD oil?

You may have heard that CBD is legal across all 50 states, yet this is not entirely accurate. It is true that CBD is widely available across the United States, but a couple of states have yet to define this cannabis plant extract has a bit of a legal grey area in a couple of states where it may be uncertain whether or not CBD is legal.

How much CBD should I take for sleep?

If you suffer from a sleeping disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea, you will likely want to take higher doses of CBD than regular individuals looking for a good night’s rest.

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