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Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep: CBD for Insomnia

Sleep is so critical to overall health that solving sleep issues alone can also help improve memory; boost problem-solving and learning; protect your immune systems, heart, and libido; and control weight.

Insomnia or an inability in falling asleep and staying asleep affects millions of Americans. In fact in 2018, the American Sleep Association reported that as many as 70  million Americans—more women than men—have insomnia and other sleep issues, including snoring, sleep disruption and sleep apnea.

Sleep, which is regulated by the endocannabinoid system, is how we heal, remember, and regroup. It’s when our tissues are repaired, immunity strengthened, memories stored, and so much more.

If we don’t get enough sleep, our health is jeopardized and our quality of life declines. Lack of sleep has been linked to depression, diabetes, anxiety, increase in falls and accidents, high blood pressure, heart disease, concentration and sex drive issues. And taking over-the-counter medication to try to get some critical zzzz’s has side effects, including liver damage, constipation, and daytime sleepiness.

Why Can't We Sleep?

There are many contributing factors from how you spend your waking hours, to your sleep approach, to foods and supplements, to paying attention to circadian rhythms. Read about new approaches to sleep.

While more research is needed to back the current published findings, several hopeful studies have begun to emerge that show CBD as an aid for insomnia and sleep. 

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What Does the Science Say?

CBD is one cannabinoid that has been found to interact indirectly with CB1 and CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). These two receptors are considered by current research to be the part of the ECS that aids with pain relief, inflammation, relaxation, and therefore sleep. 

One study published in January of 2019 called “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series,” points to CBD as a hopeful sleep aid. While it looked at a small pool of only 72 adults, the study found “sleep scores improved” within the first month of CBD use in 66.7 percent of the patients, 48 adults. It attributes sleep relief can to CBD’s “calming effect in the central nervous system.” Over time, the benefits fluctuated. 56 percent reported improvement in sleep after about two months of continued use. 

Another notable survey conducted by Project CBD examined a larger pool of 1,521 people who used CBD for issues falling and staying asleep. It found that CBD reduced the average time it took these individuals to fall asleep from 62 to 20 minutes.  Users also reported waking up less throughout the night, from 4 times on average to just once with CBD. It also concluded that 75 percent of non-CBD users reported waking up tired; that number dropped to 9% for people using CBD.

Furthermore, because CBD interacts with receptors in the serotonin system, it appears to influence a number of sleep-related bodily functions, including emotional regulation and sleep cycles. In addition to being studied for its effectiveness in combating insomnia and improving sleep quality, CBD is also being looked at for its efficacy in enhancing alertness and reducing daytime sleepiness. These aspects can be effective in increasing the consistency and strength of the sleep-wake cycle.


  3. CBD Handbook by Barbara Brownell Gorgan

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