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Maximizing Your Rest: How & When to Take CBD Oil for Sleep  

Written By Ellese Symons Mar 10th 2023
Table Of Contents
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More than 50% of US adults report struggling with daytime sleepiness 3-7 days each week (Suni, 2022). Sleep difficulties have increased so dramatically over the past 30 years the CDC proclaimed sleep deprivation a "public health epidemic" (Filip et al., 2017). With growing public awareness of the potentially detrimental effects of too little sleep and poor sleep quality, many people who prefer natural, holistic solutions are turning to products made with CBD oil. 

CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of more than 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants (Komarnytsky et al., 2021). It does not cause intoxication and is not habit-forming. In this guide, you'll learn how CBD works in your body, what the research says about its sleep-promoting potential, and the information you need to know how (and when) to take CBD oil products to help you get the deep, restorative sleep you deserve. 

The Science Behind CBD and Sleep  

There are many potential causes of sleep difficulties, everything from age-related hormonal shifts to medication side effects (Suni, 2022). But a vast majority of sleep experts feel most issues are stress-related. Even a single night of too little sleep increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol. The increase in cortisol makes it difficult to transition from wakefulness to sleep. The resulting circadian rhythm disruptions can throw several other neurochemical processes out of sync, including melatonin production (Foster, 2020). 

CBD interacts with more than 65 molecular targets (Elsaid & Foll, 2020), including the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (Marzo & Piscitelli., 2015). As the largest regulatory system in your body, researchers believe the signaling between ECS messengers and receptors is essential for nearly every crucial function, from stress responses and emotional equilibrium to hormone production and sleep cycle regulation (Mouslech & Valla, 2009). Based on what their efforts have revealed so far, researchers believe supporting ECS function with CBD helps promote homeostasis (Sallaberry & Astern). 

What Does the Research Show?  

Based on the feedback of nearly 2000 survey respondents, most CBD users report positive results using hemp-derived products for pain or discomfort after physical activity, relaxation, mild or temporary anxiety, better sleep, and more. While encouraging, many people prefer basing their health and wellness decisions on lab results and clinical trials. With little effort, you'll find numerous reports and peer-reviewed studies. Although most researchers stress the importance of continuing their work, even their preliminary reports are quite impressive. 

In one of those studies, researchers evaluated the effects of CBD on the sleep scores of 103 participants. Their report concluded with evidence of substantial improvements that investigators credited to CBD's "calming effect" (Shannon et al., 2019). In a 2021 report published in The Journal of Cannabis Research, you'll find similar data suggesting the possibility of multiple benefits, including a positive impact on sleep duration (Moltke & Hindocha, 2021). A Report investigating the combined effects of CBD and THC also suggests "statistically and clinically significant" benefits for sleep (Vigil et al., 2018). 

Serving Sizes and Methods of Cannabinoid Administration  

Hemp-derived CBD is extracted from the plants stems, stalks, and flowers. Once the oil is extracted and distilled, it's ready for use as an ingredient in numerous products that can be taken orally or applied topically. Although most manufacturers print directions for use and serving size suggestions on product labels, those instructions are intended as a guide. 

Every CBD user is different. An amount that works well for some could be significantly more or considerably less than the serving size that's ideal for you. That's why most reputable sources recommend starting "low and slow" with a partial serving. After giving your system time to respond, increase your serving sizes gradually at a pace you're comfortable with. Your goal is to find the smallest serving size that helps you drift off quickly and sleep peacefully through the night. 

Can Anyone Use CBD for Sleep? Can It Cause Side Effects?  

Hemp-derived CBD is generally well-tolerated and also considered safe for most people. A 2020 publication released by The World Health Organization confirms "no evidence of public health-related problems" associated with daily use (WHO, 2020). But side effects are possible. Like any other cannabinoid, CBD can cause fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, or disrupt your appetite (Bergamachi et al., 2011). However, most people find any adverse effects are mild and often resolve with smaller serving sizes. 

But that in no way means CBD is right for everyone. If you have a medical condition or take medication, discuss your interest in CBD with your physician before using any hemp-derived product for sleep.  

Choosing the Right CBD Oil for Sleep  

The key to getting the best results is choosing high-quality, naturally farmed, rigorously tested products. Without access to the certificate of analysis (COA), you have no way to verify the CBD content of the products you select or confirm they've been screened for pesticides, extraction residue, or microbial contamination. 

Once you've narrowed your search to a selection of products from a reputable brand that ticks all those boxes, you'll want to refine your search based on product type. While just about any high-quality CBD product could help you sleep better, it's important to understand that most fit into one of three main types based on their cannabinoid and terpene profiles. 

Full Spectrum CBD  

CBD products made with full spectrum extract contain all the additional cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients found in nature, including a small amount of THC. The 15-20:1 CBD to THC ratio ensures there's little risk of intoxication. Full spectrum extract is considered the most potent because the additional cannabinoids and terpenes contribute to a property researchers call an "entourage" effect (Nahler et al., 2019). 

Broad Spectrum CBD  

Products made with broad spectrum hemp extract provide many of the same cannabinoids and terpenes, but the THC is reduced to non-detectable levels. Although broad spectrum products retain enough of their additional cannabinoids and terpenes to give you the potency-maximizing potential of an entourage effect, many find the impact somewhat diminished once THC is taken out of the equation (Wilkins, 2022). 

Pure CBD Isolate Products 

CBD isolate is flavorless and odorless. Once the additional cannabinoids, plant oils, and other unwanted components are removed, all that remains is a white powder that's nearly 100% pure cannabidiol. Products made with CBD isolate powder are often favored by those who want to add 0% THC CBD to foods and beverages and those who don't care for the rather distinctive taste of cannabis. 

The Best CBD Products for Sleep Fit Easily into Your Nightly Routine 

Product pages can be rather intimidating if you're viewing everything at once. After you've decided between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate, it's easier to refine your search. You're then free to choose the products you find most appealing based on how they're made. While no single option suits every CBD user, the following descriptions could help you determine which might be the best fit for your nightly routine. 

CBD Oil Tinctures – Versatile & Fast-Acting  

Our full spectrum, broad spectrum, and pure CBD isolate tinctures are made with hemp extract and fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil). You can use CBDistillery® CBD Oil Tinctures to add the sleep-promoting potential of CBD to your evening snack, a soothing cup of tea, or to make your own CBD edibles. Hold the oil beneath your tongue for 45-60 seconds, then swallow. 

CBD Gummies – Flavorful & Consistent  

A clear bedtime favorite, CBDistillery® CBD Gummies are made with your choice of full spectrum or broad spectrum hemp extract. You'll get a precise, premeasured 30mg serving in every gummy. Since it can take time for the cannabinoids in any product your swallow to clear your digestive system, we suggest enjoying your gummies about an hour or so before calling it a night. 

CBD Softgels – Discreet & Portable  

Like our gummies, CBDistillery® CBD Softgels give you a precise, premeasured serving. Whether you choose our full spectrum or broad spectrum formulations, you'll get 30mg of CBD in every easy-to-swallow gelatin shell. CBD softgels are most often favored for their discreet portability. You won't have to worry about traveling with a bottle that could leak or break. Just slip a few servings into your vitamin caddy or pill case. 

Could You Benefit from The Sleep Promoting Potential of CBD?  

Most people need 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to wake feeling refreshed. Some need more. Difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking, and daytime sleepiness are common signs of too little sleep or poor sleep quality. Although most of the evidence is based on lab reports and a small number of clinical trials, numerous studies suggest CBD has considerable sleep-promoting potential. 

Cannabis researchers credit the cannabinoid's impressive list of possible benefits to its interaction with multiple molecular targets, including the ECS receptors involved in sleep cycle regulation. Although the best way to know if CBD could help you kiss sleepless nights goodbye is to try it, most CBD users report achieving their best results within 7-14 days (or nights) of consistent use. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

How Does CBD Help with Sleep?  

CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids interact with more than 65 molecular targets, including the receptors of the dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and endocannabinoid systems. As your body's largest regulatory system, endocannabinoid system (ECS) signaling is involved in nearly every crucial process, including sleep cycle regulation. Cannabis researchers believe CBD helps support ECS function in a way that promotes essential balance (homeostasis). 

What is the Best CBD Oil Serving Size for Sleep? 

You'll typically find serving-size suggestions printed on CBD packaging and product labels. However, a serving size that works for someone else could be quite different than the amount that's best for you. We generally recommend starting with a partial serving so you can gauge how your system responds. Then increase your serving size in small amounts until you feel you're getting the relief you need. 

How Long Does It Take CBD Oil to Work for Sleep?  

When you swallow a gummy, capsules, or CBD-infused snack, it takes up to an hour (or more) for the cannabinoids to clear your digestive system. Some CBD users claim they can feel a difference in as little as 15-20 minutes.   

Although you'll find reports from people claiming impressive results shortly after their first serving, everyone is different. It could take time for your system to adjust. Most of our survey respondents report achieving their best results within 7-14 days of consistent use. 

Can I Use CBD Oil with Other Sleep Aids?  

Pairing CBD oil products with over-the-counter sleep aids or prescription medications is generally not recommended. Cannabinoids are known to interact with several medications. If you have questions or concerns, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Instead, consider trying CBDistillery® Broad Spectrum CBD & Melatonin Gummies or one of the CBN-infused products you'll find in our Synergy Collection.   

References 

Bergamaschi M, Mateus R, et al. (2011) Safety and Side Effect of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent. 6(4) Curr Drug Saf 237-49. https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924 

Elsaid S, Foll B (2020) The Complexity of Pharmacology of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Its Implications in the Treatment of Brain Disorders. 45 Neuropsychopharmacol 229-30 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-019-0518-1 

Filip I, Tidman M, et al. (2017) Public Health Burden of Sleep Disorders. 25(3) J of Pub Health 243-48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-016-0781-0 

Foster, R (2020). Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Health. Interface Focus. 10(3) https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2019.0098 

Komarnytsky S, Rathinasabapathy T, et al. (2021) Endocannabinoid System and Its Regulation by Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Full Spectrum Hemp Oils. 22(11) Int J Mol Sci 5479. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115479 

Marzo V, Piscetelli F. (2015) The Endocannabinoid System and Its Modulation by Phytocannabinoids. 12, Neurotherapeutics 692-98. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0374-6 

Moltke J, Hindocha C. (2021) Reasons for Cannabidiol Use: A Cross Section of CBD Users, Focusing on Self-Perceived Stress, Anxiety, and Sleep Problems. 3(1) 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00061-5 

Mouslech Z, Valla V. (2009) Endocannabinoid System: An Overview of Its Potential in Current Medical Practice. 30(2) Neuro Endocrinol Lett 153-79. PDF 

Nahler, G, Jones T, et al. (2019) Cannabidiol and Contributions of Major Hemp Phytocompounds to the "Entourage Effect"; Possible Mechanisms. J Altern Complement Integr Med 70(5) PDF download 

Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator 

Shannon S, Lewis N, et al. (2019) Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. 23, Perm J 18-41. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041 

Suni, E. (2022) Insomnia: What It Is, How It Affects You, and How to Help Get Back Your Restful Nights. Sleep Foundation. 

Vigil J, Stith S, et al. (2018) Effectiveness of Raw Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia Under Naturalistic Conditions 5(3) Medicines 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines5030075 

Wilkins T. (2022) What Is the Entourage Effect? How This Enhances CBD Effects. Marijuana Takers. 

World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2