As humans, there are a few things that we just can’t live without. Oxygen, water, food, shelter — and sleep.
And love – we’d make an argument for that too.
But, in life, everything comes down to these bare essentials. Oxygen and shelter typically aren’t something we go without, but water, food, and especially sleep, tend to be areas where things can slide.
While as far as we know, no one has died from staying awake too long, it’s surely possible. The longest anyone has lasted, depending on who you ask, is between 11 and 19 days.
What about people who suffer from chronic lack of sleep (insomnia)? What are the health risks for them?
Issues with Insomnia
Insomnia is actually a really big deal and one that isn’t talked about nearly enough. A chronic lack of adequate sleep places you at risk for a staggeringly wide array of health conditions. Here are a just a few to chew on:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Asthma attacks
- Weakened immune system
- Greater sensitivity to pain
- Confusion or cognitive impairment
- Poor productivity and performance at work or school
- Low sex drive
- Poor memory
- Impaired judgment (putting you at higher risk for car accidents)
Most significantly, insomnia can shorten your overall life expectancy. This research that covered over 1 million participants (and 112,566 deaths) looked at the correlation between average sleep time and mortality. Insomnia, or lack of adequate sleep, increased the risk of death in participants by 12 percent, compared to those who slept a minimum of seven hours per night.
This study, specific to the effects of persistent insomnia and mortality, found that those with insomnia had an increased risk of death by 97%.
Ninety-seven percent! Insomnia is obviously a health condition that you should not fail to take seriously.
How do I Know if I Have Insomnia?
Nearly 60 million Americans experience insomnia each year. If you’re curious about the average amount of sleep in your area, check out these charts from the CDC, because they’re pretty interesting. You can also dig into our library of research studies.
Almost everyone will experience insomnia at some point. We’ve all had those nights where no matter how much we try to fall asleep, dream-land eludes us. Factors such as stress, jet lag, pain, anxiety, and even diet (hello, caffeine) can all affect your ability to sleep. Sometimes these problems only last a night or two, and sometimes they become chronic issues.
Here are the categories of insomnia:
- Chronic Insomnia – a month or longer
- Acute Insomnia – a day, days, or weeks
- Comorbid Insomnia – associated with another health disorder, such as chronic pain. Comorbid insomnia accounts for the majority of chronic insomnia cases — up to 85-90%.
- Onset Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep
- Maintenance Insomnia – difficulty staying asleep
So, how do you know if YOU have insomnia?
- Do you find your mind buzzing with anxiety as you’re lying in bed at night?
- Are you exhausted all day, falling asleep at your desk, but wide awake as soon as you climb into bed?
- Do you find that, no matter how many sheep you count, it still takes hours to fall asleep?
- Does pain keep you awake at night? Does pain or other discomfort make it difficult to stay asleep for long?
- Do you wake up multiple times throughout the night and have difficulty returning to sleep?
- Is it hard to remember the last time you woke up feeling rested from a full night’s sleep?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, we may have a solution for you — a solution that does not drug you or create dependency.
CBD for Sleep
CBD oil works within your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for a wide array of functions — sleep being one of them. CBD oil helps sleep by regulating the hormonal and chemical balance of your body. This ‘body balancing’ helps you to physically and mentally relax. This allows sleep to come more easily. Studies are also indicating that CBD oil shows promise for REM sleep behavior disorders, increasing both the quality and the length of the REM cycle.
Pharmaceutical Sleep Aids
CBD oil is a safe alternative to standard sleep aids, such as pharmaceutical prescriptions and over the counter options. These drugs have many side effects and nearly all of them create a feeling of being drugged or sedated.
Just a few common side effects of pharmaceutical sleep aids include:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty keeping balance
- Daytime drowsiness
- Dry mouth or throat
- Risk of overdose and death
While the FDA allows OTC sleep aid brands to advertise as non-habit forming or addicting, these statements are considered misleading by some medical practitioners, who state many of these drugs actually are addicting.
Basically, regardless of what the companies advertise in regard to the safety of their pharmaceuticals, there’s plenty of concern surrounding these drugs.
Natural Sleep Aids
Of course, there are natural alternatives as well. Melatonin is one of the most well-known sleep aid supplements. CBD oil is an alternative or complementary aid to these natural sleep supplements.
Comparatively, the function of these natural sleep aids versus CBD as a sleep aid relates to its effect on the body. Melatonin is one of the actual hormones responsible for signaling sleepy-time to the body. When taking melatonin, people report that they can ‘feel it kicking in’. This is often a sudden intense drowsiness as your system is flooded with this sleep signal.
We’re not opposed to melatonin by any means — we think it’s a great supplement that has been very helpful for many people! We do know, however, that finding the correct dosage can be difficult. If you are unable to go sleep within the ‘window’ before it wears off, it can be more difficult than ever to actually fall asleep. Some people report that melatonin is ineffective for them, and in some cases, can even cause them to be MORE wakeful. (Remember, all of our bodies are different, and what works for some of us doesn’t always work for all of us!)
CBD as a sleep aid works by creating homeostasis within the body — a balancing and lowering of the ‘wakeful’ hormones, such as cortisol and others. The relaxing action of CBD oil is the primary tool in creating sleep. If you take CBD for sleep, there is no concern of staying up too late after taking it, or experiencing the sudden flood of drowsiness. This makes CBD a great option for those who haven’t found success with other sleep supplements, or a good pairing for those who wish to take both.
CBD for Sleep and Anxiety Relief
Anxiety is often a huge player in the inability to fall asleep. Is there anyone who hasn’t had a buzzing brain that just won’t shut off, no matter how tired you are? This anxiety can produce stress hormones that make it chemically difficult for you to fall asleep.
So, nope. It’s not just in your head. It’s in your hormones too.
People in high-stress jobs (and yes, stay-at-home-parenting counts as a high-stress job!) often experience periodic or chronic anxiety. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety and stress.
Larger doses of CBD oil calms anxiety, producing a physical and mental calm. This relief from anxiety allows your body’s natural sleep hormones to do their job — to send you to sleep and keep you there.
To learn more about CBD oil for anxiety relief, check out this article we wrote on the topic, and give our team a call or stop at any of our local Madison nutrition stores. We can help you work out your best brand and dosage, and, if you’d like, connect you with local medical practitioners to help guide you as well.
CBD for Sleep and Chronic Pain
Pain and insomnia are often a vicious circle. Chronic pain makes getting a good night’s rest nearly impossible, while the lack of adequate sleep can increase inflammation in the body and worsen chronic pain issues.
If you’re dealing with chronic pain and insomnia, the root of your sleep problems is almost certainly the pain that you deal with daily. Rather than focusing only on resolving your insomnia, we’d recommend treating both conditions at the same time with CBD oil. It’s quite likely that, once the pain is under control, you’ll also find that your sleep issues improve as well.
For chronic pain management, you can check out this article and give our team a call or stop in one of our store locations. Depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing and the source, we may have additional insights or recommendations to help resolve your pain (and sleep!) problems.
CBD Sleep Aid for Jet Lag
We’ve been hearing and reading stories of people who’ve used CBD oil to help them overcome jet lag. So far, we haven’t found any studies documenting the effects of CBD oil on jet lag. But based on the known benefits of CBD oil, we’d say that CBD oil seems a probable helper.
Here’s the gist. CBD oil taken in small doses throughout the daylight hours can help stimulate the body to stay awake. When it gets close to bedtime, a larger dose of CBD oil helps to calm the mind and relax the body. This makes it easier for the traveller to fall asleep at the local time.
This is by no means a magic cure to jet lag, but anecdotal evidence indicates CBD oil can shorten the jet lag recovery time. For those traveling for business or with children, you know that even a little bit of help in this area can go a long, long way!
The next time one of our team members crosses some time zones, we’ll test it out ourselves and let you know how it worked!
What’s the Best CBD for Sleep?
The rules for finding the best CBD oil for sleep are the same as finding CBD oil for any other medical issue — always choose quality products. With the legalization of cannabis in many areas of the US, the production of CBD and cannabis and hemp products is rising. While this is great news, it also means that there are companies taking advantage of new interest in the market, and produce sub-par CBD oil to make a quick profit.
To ensure you’re getting a good product, we recommend following these rules.
- Talk to a local trusted resource. This may be your local nutrition store, your naturopath, a nutritionist, or a pharmacist. They may be able to sell you products directly that they’ve already vetted, or direct you to the best CBD oil brands. Based on our brand research, we chose to carry CBD Plus and Hemplucid in our local Madison nutrition stores.
- Purchase a pure CBD oil with a high percentage of CBD.
- Purchase from the US or Canada. The USA and Canada have strict regulations regarding CBD and related cannabis products, so sourcing from either of these countries is recommended.
CBD Oil Dosage for Insomnia
When it comes to finding the right CBD oil dosage for sleep, remember that the reactivity threshold is different for everyone. We sometimes compare it to coffee. For some people, just one cup is all it takes for them to be bursting at the seams. Others can seem to drink coffee nonstop with only mild effects.
It’s important to note that in small doses, CBD oil stimulates alertness and reduces daytime sleepiness. This actually helps relieve insomnia as well, by keeping your body on track with an appropriate sleep-wake cycle. However, this does also mean that small doses of CBD oil right before bedtime can have a reverse effect. To use CBD for sleep, we’d recommend speaking with our team, a naturopath, or other medical practitioner to help you find the right dose of CBD oil for insomnia relief.
When to Take CBD Oil for Sleep?
We suggest taking CBD oil for sleep approximately an hour before bedtime. You may find that you respond more quickly or slowly. You can tailor the time you take your CBD oil to your unique body’s needs. Expect a few days of trial and error.
For example, one member of our staff feels the effects of CBD oil within 30 minutes, while other customers report that it can take up to two hours. Remember, you can also take small doses of CBD oil throughout the day to help keep you awake and ease stress and anxiety. This will also contribute to a solid light/dark sleep cycle.
Try CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia
If you’re struggling with insomnia or sleep disorders, we’d be happy to talk with you about the potential benefits of CBD oil. Our team of Wellness Consultants would be happy to provide you and your medical practitioner with additional information and guidance on finding the best CBD oil for insomnia relief, and explore CBD oil dosages that will work best for you.
When it comes to our customers, we’ll go any length to help you find great sleep, great support, and your healthy place. Call us at 608-663-2640 or stop in any one of our local Sun Prairie or Fitchburg nutrition stores.
Disclaimer: We always recommend that you speak with a licensed medical practitioner before modifying, stopping, or starting use of any medications and supplements. The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.
Apple Wellness – The Healthy Place
6313 McKee Road, Fitchburg, WI 53719
Apple Wellness – The Healthy Place
2824 Prairie Lakes Drive, Sun Prairie, WI 53590
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