CBD Research  -  How CBD Works for Sleep
How CBD works for sleep



We all do it.


Some of us sleep like babies (like...babies!).


Some of us look longingly on those days!


We all know sleep is important but do we understand how important?

A person will pass away from lack of sleep long before lack of water or food.


Scientists just found an entire system in the body whose role is to remove waste and toxins resulting from metabolism out of the body.


When does it get turned on??


Go figure...when you sleep.

But only if you sleep deeply.


A lot goes on when you sleep:

  • Memory consolidation
  • Tissue repair
  • Tissue building

It takes so much work just to be awake that all the cellular housekeeping of the body has to wait.


Till sleep!


We live in a world full of enemies to good sleep.

  • Nighttime light and activity
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Various medications
  • Hormonal changes such as perimenopause, menopause, and puberty
  • Caffeine and other stimulants
  • Overloaded stress pathways
  • Poor nutrition or age-related reduction in nutrient absorption


The list goes on and on.


We're a country of sleep-deprived zombies grasping for straws (and coffee).


Some of us are grasping for more.


Sleep aids, both over-the-counter and prescription, are used by millions of Americans.


The side effects can be nasty!


New research points to long term use and dementia



Many others have worst side effects (some even tout insomnia as a possible side effect! Really???)


We need relief and we need an alternative.


Enter CBD!


Cannabinoids in general.


Let's dig into the research to see what's available.


If you want to jump to the CBD products specifically for sleep click here:


Buy CBD online


Otherwise, jump to any section on CBD and sleep here:


The research is pretty amazing.


Let's get into it before we nod off!

The Ultimate Guide To CBD And Sleep

We've covered a lot regarding how CBD works and the Beginners Guide to CBD but we need to drill down into sleep specifically.


Let's break down the many aspects that have to work properly for us to sleep well.


We'll start with our favorite topic...Hormones

Sleep is partially governed internally by a rich orchestrated dance of various hormones.


Signals from outside (light, activity, etc) send relays to the brain to increase or decrease certain hormones.


Some of these hormones are calming (GABA and Melatonin) or excitatory (cortisol being primary).


Learn all about CBD and GABA here.


The calming hormones obviously are critical to sleep while the excitatory are critical to waking and alertness (or to impairing sleep if present at the wrong times in the wrong amounts).


This ebb and flow follow a natural rhythm called the circadian rhythm.

This rhythm can change over time.

For example, it's documented that the teen's circadian clock shift later which is why the Pediatric Association has recommended later start time for school.


It just so happens that a later start time results improve performance, mood, and general well-being in teens.

There's hope!!


Perimenopause can also throw a wrench at the clock!

Aging, in general, can see shifts in this rhythm which may simply be a result of a reduced absorption of key nutrients needed for these hormones (magnesium, B complex vitamins, etc).


There's a whole cycle for each hormone pathway with genetic factors and basic nutrients that play key roles.

For example, it's estimated that 40% of the population has the MTHFR mutation and most don't know it.


With MTHFR, you can't process vitamin B12. You need to supplement methylated B12.


B12 is so critical across multiple pathways in the body!

  • MTRR is a poor use of Folate (NOT folic acid which actually reduces the cycle).
  • COMT makes it hard to break down hormones in the liver including...Cortisol!


So check out 23andme and find out what you have there.


You'll be surprised...you probably have at least 1!


You just need to supplement those!


So...where does CBD come into play?


We ALL have a vast internal system called the endocannabinoid system.

This system is thought to be a master regulator of other important systems.


The one we're focused on for sleep is the endocrine system which governs...wait for it...




There are CBD receptors (CB1 and CB2) throughout the body. Millions of them.


CBD is thought to boost this system.


When cortisol gets out of whack or is high at the wrong time, sleep falters.

When melatonin is inadequate (it drops with age), sleep suffers.


Melatonin is a derivative of Serotonin so if it drops, sleep may suffer.


Again, it's a rich dance that can be affected by all sorts of things present in our modern world:

  • Endocrine disruptors – cosmetics, plastics, toxins
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Stimulants such as caffeine
  • Stress and Trauma
  • Anxiety and Depression


Many of our current health issues (insomnia and poor sleep) may be a function of the choreographer of our hormones being overwhelmed and overworked.


That's the endocannabinoid system.


CBD directly helps that system.


Don't take our word for it. Let's look at the research.

Research On CBD And Sleep

Let's look at different aspects of CBD and sleep in the research.


First, a quick summary:



This shows there's a promise for CBD and sleep across a few factors.


Let's dig deeper still.


First, a nice summary of other studies:

Cannabidiol may play a therapeutic role in sleep regulation (Monti, 1977; Chagas et al., 2014b). In healthy volunteers with regular sleep cycle, 600 mg of CBD induced sedative effects (Zuardi et al., 1993), whereas in subjects with insomnia, acute use of CBD (160 mg/day) was associated with an increase in total sleep time and less frequent awakenings (Carlini and Cunha, 1981). Daily CBD doses of 40, 80, or 160 mg were shown to reduce dream recall and did not cause ‘hangover' effects compared to placebo (Carlini and Cunha, 1981).



Furthermore, they found that CBD didn't have the sluggish after-effect like other sleep aids.

we found no residual effects of CBD on cognitive or psychomotor functions compared to placebo,


CBD's effect on sleep may come down to its impact on a naturally occurring endocannabinoid in the body, Anandamide.

Anandamide increased adenosine levels in the basal forebrain and also increased sleep.



Interestingly, CBD can increase alertness during light cycles.



This points back to CBD's effect on balancing the hormones rather than just sedating a person.


There's a natural cycle of alertness and sleepiness.


CBD doesn't just cause a phase of sleepiness. The theory is that it helps to strengthen the internal pathway for the whole cycle.


This is the role of the endocannabinoid system which CBD nudges into action.


More is found here.

Endocannabinoid Signaling Regulates Sleep Stability.



You'll see lots of talk about "modulation"  and "regulation"  or cycles.


More here:

Endocannabinoid modulation of cortical up-states and NREM sleep.



Sleep is a function of many things but hormones govern the core mechanics of it.

The endocannabinoid system helps to keep the endocrine (hormone) system in homeostasis (balance).


CBD directly interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a positive way.


Let's look at specific questions people often have on CBD and sleep.

Is CBD A Sedative

Despite its track record for aiding sleep, CBD is not a sedative.


It can have a calming feeling and some people may experience drowsiness as a result of removing anxiety or inflammation.


It doesn't knock you out!

It does appear to help people sleep better, deeper, and longer.


Conversely, it appears to help people be more alert during light cycles.


Best of both worlds!

Is CBD Good For Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the conditions receiving intense study with CBD.


We're starting to get some data on this front.

A trial of cannabidiol oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient's sleep.



Most of our current information is anecdotal...people swear by CBD for sleep.

Especially, women in perimenopause and menopause.

The good news on insomnia is that you'll know pretty quickly if it's effective for you and what's is keeping you from sleeping.


Check below for the best CBD for sleep.

Is CBD Good For Sleep Apnea

Interestingly, we're seeing data that CBD may affect certain types of sleep apnea.


Personally, I have stopped snoring and "catching"  at night after CBD.


My wife is shocked (and happy)!


This is anecdotal but we're starting to see data on this (and I'm not complaining).


Early studies in animals here:

Previous investigations demonstrated that systemically administered cannabinoids can be used therapeutically to decrease the apnea/hypopnea index in rats



Again, this a quick test to see it's effectiveness in your situation.

Does CBD Make You Sleep

CBD is not sedative. It doesn't knock you out.


It strengthens the internal system that makes you sleep and wake.

This is driven by hormones and a tightly choreographed ebb and flow of competing hormones (primarily melatonin and cortisol).


The endocannabinoid system keeps this cycle in balance.


CBD helps the endocannabinoid system when it's overworked (which may be the health issue of our day!).

When To Take CBD For Sleep

It partially depends on how you take it.


Here are the different delivery options:

CBD oils versus balms


Most people use the tincture for sleep since its effects are slower and longer-lasting.

Generally, 20-30 minutes prior to sleep time is ideal but test with your situation.


There's a nice calming effect but you will not feel "hit"  by sedation.

Best Dosage For CBD With Sleep

This partially depends on the nature of your sleep disturbance.


Here's a basic guideline to CBD dosage for sleep:

CBD dosage guide


For therapeutic uses, 25 mg is generally ideal but work your way up to it.

The studies done with intense insomnia due to PTSD were using 300-600mg dosages!


Research on sleep specifically shows effects at 160 mg of CBD.


The safety profile for CBD is quite strong and there's never been a recorded overdose.


See more on CBD safety here.

CBD And REM Sleep

REM sleep IS sleep.


Most of the heavy lifting that sleep does is REM sleep.

  • Memory consolidation
  • Metabolic waste removal from the brain (implications for Alzheimer's and Dementia)
  • Repair of tissue
  • Building of new tissue


The heavy lifting!


REM sleep is part of the cycle we've been speaking of throughout this article.

It's actually the 3rd phase of sleep where you typically dream.

Lack of quality sleep has intriguing connections with many illnesses such as autism, schizophrenia, and more.


So...it's important.


Many of the research items speak to REM sleep quality and CBD's effect on it.


To some extent, sleep without REM sleep isn't really sleep.


That would bare out in the results on total sleep quality above.


We expect a slew of new research to measure REM and CBD directly shortly.

CBD And Pain Or Anxiety For Sleep

Many times, the lack of quality sleep is more about what's impeding it.


Many things can interrupt, disrupt, or affect sleep quality and quantity.


The two most common disruptors are pain and anxiety.


We've all been there.

Try sleeping after you've thrown out your back.


Or worried about the test or interview the next morning.


This may be CBD's greatest benefit for sleep quality.

Removing impediments like pain and anxiety.


We've looked at these in-depth at CBD and Pain and CBD and Anxiety.


The net net...both pain and mental health have their own cycles.


Their own pathways that the endocannabinoid system is working feverishly to keep in balance.

  • Inflammation pathways for pain
  • Neurotransmitter and Hormonal pathway for anxiety, depression, and OCD.


Those systems just happen to be under the influence of endocannabinoids like CBD!

CBD Versus THC For Sleep

CBD is not the only endocannabinoid available to us.


There are dozens of them.


Some aren't even well documented or studied (for now).


CBD itself is not a sedative.


It does not "knock you out".


Some people swear by THC for sleep and even pain.

The issue is that THC is not legal in many States or Federally.

A quick comparison of CBD and THC here.


That being said, if legal where you are, a blend of CBD and THC may have a stronger impact on sleep if the CBD itself doesn't give you full relief.


There may be drawbacks to THC which need further research.

  • THC can call cause anxiety
  • Roughly 70% of people with allergy issues may be allergic to THC


There are questions of short term sleep help at the expense of long term sleep quality.


CBD doesn't have those same issues.


In general, CBD has a calming quality while THC can cause anxiety depending on a person's chemistry.


Anecdotally, some people swear by THC for sleep.


If that's the case, try to combine THC and CBD.


CBD will help to mitigate the psychoactive quality of THC.

There's a thought that up to 80% of the benefits that people get from using cannabis products come from the CBD!


Until recently, the only way people could get these benefits was from marijuana which is illegal Federally.


We no longer have that issue.


CBD is available directly now.

CBD Versus Sleeping Pills

Before CBD, people would try anything to help with sleep.


A whole host of options have been used:

  • Benadryl
  • Unisom
  • Tylenol PM
  • Ambien
  • Lunesta


And a host of other prescription medications.

Most of them function as sedatives and the side effects can be nasty.


Throw into this, range herbs, teas, and other sleep aids.


Here's the deal...


The traditional sleeping pills can be habit-forming, have nasty side effects, and not work long term.


The herbs and other remedies are not necessarily as effective as sleeping pills.


So what about CBD versus sleep pills?


First, the safety profile of CBD is much better.

There's no evidence of habit-forming, normalization, or rebound effects with CBD.


We've discussed the effectiveness of CBD for sleep above.


Coming off of the sleeping pills can be extremely difficult.


CBD has even been shown to help with withdrawal!


See CBD and Addiction

Best CBD For Sleep

What CBD should we look at for sleep?


First, the tinctures are the most popular way to use CBD for sleep.

It's slower acting, longer-lasting, and more controllable in terms of dosage.


Full-spectrum versus Isolate.


This is a big deal.


All the research is based on CBD by itself.  

Furthermore, all the brands that are pushing full spectrum are forgetting that 40-60% of the population has allergy and histamines issues.


We've seen first hand how people have bad reactions to full-spectrum which disappears when they take CBD to isolate!


The two best sleep options for CBD Isolate based on 3rd party testing and cost per mg of CBD:


IndigoNaturals 2000 CBD Isolate for allergy and  histamine issues Pharma xtract 30 ml 2500mg


You can check out the comparison of CBD oils here or go right to the product page here:


find affordable and quality cbd isolate online with zero thc


Shop and Compare CBD Oils here from a brands with 3rd party testing