CBD expert Ruby Deevoy explains how CBD oil works to tackle sleep issues, before revealing the best CBD oils for sleep on the market…

Longing for better quality sleep? You’re not alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, one in three people suffer from at least mild insomnia. Plus, approximately 10 per cent have associated symptoms of daytime functional impairment that ties in with sleep deprivation. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common reasons people want to try CBD is to get a better night’s sleep.

The anecdotal evidence is certainly strong, with plenty of CBD users swearing by their daily dose to deliver longer, restorative sleep. But what does the science say? And how exactly does CBD work to support sleep?

Does CBD help with low serotonin?

In a clinical trial on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 24 adults were treated with 30 minutes of massage therapy, twice a week for five weeks. As well as experiencing less pain, depression, anxiety, and improved sleep, the results also showed that all participants had raised serotonin and dopamine levels.

But how does this relate to CBD oil? Well, in short, the CBD molecule directly activates your serotonin receptors, therefore elevating the serotonin in your body. Without appropriate levels of serotonin, which can also be supported by regular exercise, sunlight, probiotics and massage, your body cannot create melatonin – a natural hormone that is produced by the pineal gland and released into the bloodstream to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. By giving your body what it needs to make melatonin, you may find that sleep starts to come more naturally.

CBD oil can ease anxiety to aid in a better night’s sleep.

Does CBD help with anxiety?

Anxiety is often connected to sleep problems. Other than stressful thoughts preventing you from relaxing mentally, it can also provoke tense muscles, rapid breathing and heartbeat, sweating, trembling and gastrointestinal distress. None of which are going to help you drop off! What’s more, common sleep conditions, such as sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome can activate the fight or flight response. This floods your body with adrenaline and cortisol to wake it up in times of emergency.

Taking CBD oil regularly can help keep the anxiety cascade in check, and stop it from being an issue both at bedtime and during the day. In addition to those lifted serotonin levels, CBD oil also helps support your own endocannabinoid system. This regulates all bodily functions with the help of your endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG. By inhibiting the enzyme, which ordinarily breaks these chemicals down, the CBD oil encourages an abundance of endocannabinoids. Your body can then use these when needed.

One action of anandamide is that it helps control the fight or flight response. This aids the brain in knowing when it’s inappropriate to trigger the process – and when it’s not. And reacting accordingly. In a full or broad-spectrum CBD product, which contains a wider range of cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp, you may also get the benefits from other compounds, such as CBG, which activates the endocannabinoid system, meaning it can stand in for your naturally-produced endocannabinoids if needed.

Pain keeping you awake? CBD oil might be able to help.

Can CBD help with pain relief?

Any sort of pain can prevent you from sleeping and without sleep, pain is often exacerbated. It’s a vicious cycle, but one CBD oil can help with. Again, the activation of serotonin receptors and the endocannabinoid system play important roles here – both in terms of pain perception and contributing to reduced inflammation. But CBD also directly activates your vanilloid receptors, which impacts pain transmission in a positive way.

How does CBD help with sleep?

The whole hemp plant works wonders for the sleep deprived, so it’s worth adding a couple of tablespoons of organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil (or whole hemp seeds) to your diet each day, in addition to CBD oil. Here’s why:
  • Magnesium: One of the many essential minerals hemp seeds contain in abundance is magnesium. This is an essential macro-mineral that the human body does not produce, but requires in large quantities to function. One common symptom of a magnesium deficiency is insomnia. Therefore, restoring healthy magnesium levels within the body is one way to ensure a better night’s sleep. One serving of hemp seed oil (1-2 tbsp of hemp seed oil or 2-3tbsp of whole hemp seeds) contains 39 per cent of your RDA.
  • L-tryptophan and vitamin B6: Hemp seeds also contain a special combination of amino acid L-tryptophan and vitamin B6. When paired together like this, the B6 triggers the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. Your body then converts this into melatonin which, as mentioned earlier, is the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

Try one of these CBD oils for a better night’s sleep…

5 best CBD oils for sleep

Dreem Distillery Night Drops (£160) include a whopping 2400mg broad-spectrum CBD oil with a range of cannabinoids and a proprietary ‘super terpene blend’.

Lady A Evening Tincture (from £60) is a luxury CBD nightcap, with added chamomile, chocolate and mint. This is combined with a hemp seed oil base.

Ardoa S-Drops (£119.99) is a heavy-hitter for serious sleep problems! This potent oil contains a wide range of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG and THC at the highest possible legal limit.

Oto 10% CBD Sleep Drops (£69) contain a delicate, coconut-based botanical blend of lavender, butterfly pea flower, field mint, liquorice, lavender, spearmint and cannabidiol.

Body and Mind Botanicals Cannabis Ginger Herbal Tea (£18.50 a month) is a restoring tea with 1.5g of cannabis sativa L plant and seeds, as well as 1g of ginger per teabag.