Whether a result of pain, anxiety or illness, insomnia has far-reaching effects on a person’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. While over-the-counter sleep medications offer a quick solution, they also leave you drowsy and come with a number of side-effects. Unlike sedatives, which are designed to simply send you to sleep, CBD tackles the underlying causes of insomnia, namely anxiety and pain, offering a more sustainable solution to your sleep woes.

CBD has earned a reputation as an effective natural anti-anxiety, helping to promote relaxation in a number of ways. Firstly, it prevents the breakdown of anandamide, our ‘bliss’ molecule. Higher levels of anandamide make it easier for us to cope with stress and anxiety. Secondly, CBD helps to boost the natural production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Low levels of serotonin are linked to higher levels of anxiety. Finally, CBD is believed to inhibit GABA receptors which helps to calm excess brain activity, making it easier to fall asleep.

But falling asleep is only part of the problem – disturbed sleep is equally debilitating. Many people suffering from insomnia experience night-time waking, which disrupts their sleep cycle. CBD has been shown to regulate the sleep cycle, in turn promoting better quality sleep. A study published in 2019 looked at the effects of CBD on sleep in 72 adults and found that just over 66% of them experienced improved sleep within the first month of taking CBD. Some experts attribute CBD’s positive impact on the sleep cycle to its influence on cortisol levels. When our hormones are in balance, cortisol (our body’s stress hormone) normally peaks in the morning, but for those who suffer from insomnia, cortisol levels are higher in the evening, which leads to interrupted sleep. CBD acts on the endocannibinoid system to help regulate hormone levels, inhibiting cortisol production at night and encouraging better sleep.

Anxiety aside, chronic pain is another common cause of insomnia. While opioids offer fast relief from pain coupled with a sedative effect, they are highly addictive and don’t provide a long-term solution. CBD, however, delivers a potent analgesic effect by reducing inflammation in the body and is safe enough to use regularly.

Unsurprisingly, not getting enough sleep leads to grogginess during the day and, while CBD assists with better sleep at night, one study shows that it can also, when administered at the right dose, boost energy levels and make you more alert during the day.

While there are a number of ways to administer CBD, the key to unlocking its many benefits is finding the right dosage. Start on a lower dose and increase it slowly until you discover what works for you.

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