This is all too familiar for me and I know it is for a staggering number of people worldwide, it’s the middle of the night and you find yourself struggling to fall asleep. Maybe it’s from anxiety, ongoing insomnia, or one of many other sleep-related issues. Statistics show that nearly 68% of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, that’s a staggering 146 million people in the U.S. alone dealing with sleep-related issues.
So, How Do We Fall Asleep?
Falling asleep takes time in most cases as our brains and bodies slowly adjust. As soon as we turn the lights off and begin to get comfortable, that’s when we start to relax and slowly our brains begin to disconnect from the world around us. After a period of time, our brains transition into stage 1 sleep where brain waves start to slow down, this is what most of us refer to as dozing off. During this stage of sleep, we can be easily woken up and this stage of sleep can be difficult for light sleepers to get through. This is mainly because as our brain activity slows down it still wants to take notice of our surroundings.
Non-Rem ( rapid eye movement sleep ) is the next sleep stage, this is when we finally fall asleep but can still be easily woken up but rarely perceive things going on around us. It’s not until the next sleep stage “deep sleep” or slow wave sleep that we can finally get the quality rest we need.
A large percentage of people who experience trouble sleeping have some sort of anxiety issues. Whether it’s racing thoughts at night, obsessing over what didn’t get done or what needs to get done, or just outright fear can have a huge effect on our ability to fall asleep. In order to transition into stage 1 sleep where our brain activity slows down, it’s important not to think about anything. Focusing too much keeps the brain from slowing down, additionally, many of the hormones that accompany anxiety such as adrenaline make it even more difficult to enter stage 1. Unfortunately, as most people who suffer from anxiety know, a lot of these issues are involuntary and it can be almost impossible to stop.
Fortunately, CBD has the potential to help treat anxiety. All humans have a receptor called 5-HT1A, when this receptor is activated by cannabidiol ( CBD ) it inhibits anxiety responses and produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves mood and well-being. Another receptor that is activated by CBD is CB1 that reduces anxiety when activated, can lower your heart rate, and lowers blood pressure.
Okay, so you can fall asleep not a problem, but can you stay asleep? CBD might be able to help with that too. A study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo Department of Neuroscience and Behavior as well as the Department of Psychobiology, researchers administered large doses of CBD to rats. They found that the rats that were given CBD had longer deeper sleep times compared to rats that were given placebo pills. While this study hasn’t been done with humans yet, there are many accounts from CBD users stating that it has helped them stay asleep and feel better, I’m one of those people! 🙂
One study took a group of patients suffering from insomnia and gave them 40, 80, and 160mg of CBD over a period of 30 days. Another group of insomniac patients was given 15mg of nitrazepam ( a common sleep medication ). The study found that the patients that were given 160mg of CBD had significant improvements in their sleep, falling asleep faster and experiencing deeper sleep, and all patients that were given CBD reported better sleep than patients receiving placebo pills and nitrazepam.
For many people, their sleep problems don’t begin when they try to fall asleep but after, when they reach REM or deep sleep. Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder ( RBD ) is when an individual acts out their dreams while they sleep. This occurs due to a loss of muscle atonia ( muscle paralysis during sleep ). RBD can actually be very dangerous causing a person to hurt themselves, leaving the safety of their home and more. RBD is often a precursor to diseases like Parkinson’s and typically develops with age, but can develop in young people too.
According to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, a study was published in which researchers gave patients with Parkinson’s that were also suffering from RBD cannabidiol. Those researchers found that those patients had significantly reduced symptoms of RBD, and they had improved sleep with no side effects. More studies are needed, and I’m sure more are on the way, but this may mean that CBD has a direct impact on our REM sleep cycles in a positive way.
CBD And Sleep
If you’re someone who is having trouble sleeping then CBD might just be what you are looking for. There are a number of high-quality, safe and effective CBD products available on the market today. CBD is an amazing all-natural alternative to prescription medications that can help with a wide variety of ailments without any unwanted side effects. We suggest giving some a try and seeing for yourself.
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