By now, you’ve most likely heard about somebody taking CBD for better sleep. You might have a relative who claims that CBD has helped her get the best sleep in years. Or you may have seen a news report about how people are ditching sleeping pills for CBD. No matter where you look, the stories seem to be endless.
And it should come as no surprise that people are looking to improve their sleep. The American Sleep Association claims that 50 million-plus Americans suffer from sleep disorders . They might have insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, or have difficulty falling asleep due to anxiety or pain .
After hearing the stories, you might be considering CBD for a better night’s rest. But you’re also wondering if CBD will make you sleepy if you take it during the day, which is why you’re reading this article.
Here’s the short answer:
Even though some people report improvements in their sleep quality after taking CBD, it is not a sleep-aid, and it is not meant to make you sleepy.
If that sounds confusing, keep on reading. In this article, we’ll explain how CBD works in your body. And how that might influence systems that affect rest, without making you sleepy.
How does CBD work within the body?
CBD works through the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates vital functions like mood, pain, and inflammation, as well as sleep.
The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, and the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Endocannabinoids are your body’s own cannabis-like compounds. They activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are located in the central nervous system, the immune system, and throughout the rest of your body. The ECS maintains balance in your body, and it keeps various systems functioning optimally.
For example, if your body needs rest, the ECS will make you sleepy, so you go to bed, and your body can rejuvenate.
It isn’t clear how CBD interacts with the ECS. But there is some evidence to suggest that CBD may influence the activity of the human body’s own cannabinoids .
Why do people take CBD for sleep?
CBD is a dietary supplement, not a sleep-aid. It is also not meant to cure any sleep-related ailments. Yet, there is an increasing number of people around the country who are reporting that CBD helps them sleep better.
While we can’t be sure why CBD is having this effect, we suspect that there might be a couple of factors that are responsible for this trend.
CBD may promote relaxation
Research suggests that CBD may slow down the degradation of anandamide , a neurotransmitter linked with promoting calmness . In other words, it could be possible that CBD helps you retain this chemical longer, which may have a relaxing effect. But the evidence isn’t conclusive.
A University of Montana report also states that CBD may influence serotonin levels in your brain . Serotonin is a chemical that promotes a balanced mood .
While CBD is not a cure for mood disorders, people often report feeling more relaxed after CBD. Feeling calm and relaxed might help you fall asleep .
CBD and pain
Besides sleep, one of the primary reasons why people take CBD is to deal with pain.
Inflammation has been linked with some significant sources of pain for many people. Conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis . Cannabinoid receptors play a critical role in regulating inflammation and how someone perceives pain .
If someone can manage their pain perception, they might also find it easier to fall asleep.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the sleep-wake cycle
Your body has an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. One of the functions of this clock is to regulate when you wake up and fall asleep. Evidence suggests that the ECS plays a role in the circadian rhythm and sleep stability . So, if CBD influences the ECS, it might also have an indirect effect on your sleeping habits.
CBD may promote alertness
One interesting thing to note is that depending on the dose, and someone’s sleep habits, CBD may also promote alertness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness is one of the sleeping disorders that people suffer from. In such cases, low to moderate doses of CBD may promote wakefulness and alertness .
So, is CBD going to make me sleepy or not?
In general, the answer is no. CBD will not directly make you feel sleepy or tired if you take it during the day. But there might be specific situations where CBD indirectly results in drowsiness.
For example, let’s say someone suffers from high levels of anxiety, which has been affecting their sleep for a few days. They are exhausted, but nonetheless, find it difficult to fall asleep. If such a person takes CBD, they might feel a certain sense of calmness. Being relaxed might allow them to fall asleep, so they can get the rest they need.
But CBD is not directly causing the sleepiness in this situation. They are feeling sleepy because they are exhausted. The relaxation is only allowing the natural process to take place.
For most people, CBD may support healthy sleeping habits through promoting relaxation, and by influencing the sleep-wake cycle. Not by inducing sleepiness.
If you’re considering taking CBD for sleep, you must consult with your doctor first, especially if you’re currently taking any medications.