Can CBD Help with Sleep?

CBD in text and cannabidol formula with marijuana plant with space for text
Source: By ClaudioValdes/ Shutterstock

Just about everyone will experience some insomnia at some point in their lives. Getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night can leave you feeling sleepy during the day, unable to think straight, moody, and emotional. 

Over-the-counter sleep supplements may not help, but you may not want the hassle of a prescription sleep aid – or you may be afraid that a prescription sleep medication could be habit-forming. Cannabidiol (CBD) provides a natural, safe way to cope with anxiety and stress, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. 


What Is CBD?

CBD is one of the two most common chemical compounds found in hemp and marijuana, which are both cultivars of the plant Cannabis sativa. The other most common chemical compound found in Cannabis sativa is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which causes the intoxicating effects of marijuana. CBD, however, is not intoxicating. While a drug test might detect THC in your body, CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test, so you should be able to use it even if you are employed in a field that requires drug testing. 


Many people use CBD to treat anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. Epidiolex, an FDA-approved medication made with CBD, is used to treat some forms of epilepsy. CBD has also been used to treat:


  • Depression
  • Inflammatory skin conditions, including acne
  • Chronic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Opioid addiction
  • Chemo-therapy related nausea
  • Diabetes


Research into the efficacy of CBD for these and other medical conditions is ongoing.


CBD Reduces Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone. It’s produced by your adrenal glands, and it plays a number of important roles in your body, including managing how your body digests food, your circadian rhythms, your blood sugar, and your blood pressure. One important effect of cortisol is that it gives you more energy, so that you can handle stressful situations.


People who don’t suffer from insomnia experience their highest cortisol levels in the morning. But if you have trouble sleeping, you may experience higher cortisol levels at night, instead, and this could be contributing to your insomnia. Even if you don’t have trouble falling asleep, high nighttime levels of cortisol could contribute to frequent nighttime wakings that could degrade your sleep quality and leave you feeling tired during the day. 


One large retrospective study on how CBD affects anxiety and sleep has found that CBD can lower cortisol levels in doses of 300 to 600 mg. The same study also found that smaller doses of CBD can help some people fall asleep. Doses of 40, 80, and 160 mgs were studied.


CBD Can Help You Sleep

While researchers are still seeking to understand the benefits of CBD for insomnia and other medical conditions, CBD has been found to support sleep better than a placebo at doses of 160 mg. In one three-month study of 103 participants, researchers looked at the effects of CBD on sleep and anxiety. While the study found that doses as low as 25 mg helped relieve anxiety in study participants, it also found that you need a higher dose in order to support sleep. More than 56 percent of the study participants experienced better sleep on CBD.


CBD has few side effects. You can safely take extra-strength CBD for sleep support without worrying too much about side effects – doses as high as 1,500 mg are well tolerated. Most people take doses of 10 to 400 mg. 


However, CBD can interact with some prescription medications, so talk to your doctor before you add this or any other supplement to your routine. Medications that CBD can interact with include blood thinners like warfarin, levothyroxine, amiodarone, and certain seizure medications, like valproate, clobazam, and lamotrigine. 


There have been no reports of anyone overdosing on CBD or experiencing any toxicity from taking this supplement. However, you should keep in mind that, as a supplement, CBD is not regulated by the FDA. This means that CBD supplements may contain more or less of the chemical than is reported on the label. Some CBD products may even contain THC, which can make you anxious and make it harder to fall asleep. You should choose a CBD product that has been tested by an independent, third-party lab. Check the product’s Certificate of Analysis (CoA) to make sure it contains what it says on the label. If the product doesn’t have a CoA, you shouldn’t buy it.


Tossing and turning is so frustrating and can cause a lot of stress in and of itself. CBD can help relieve your stress, lower your body’s cortisol levels, and help you sleep better and longer. It’s all natural, and safe for use as long as you buy from a reputable manufacturer. With a little CBD, you can experience the life-changing effects of sound, restful sleep.


While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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