by Iris Goldsztajn
You may have heard that CBD can help you both find energy and focus and sleep better. So, how is that possible, exactly? If CBD helps you sleep, doesn’t that mean it makes you feel sleepy? Well, not exactly. Let us walk you through how CBD works in the body and what that means for the quality of your sleep. We also dive into how and when to take CBD for sleep.
How CBD Works in the Body
It’s no coincidence that CBD may be able to help with a range of concerns, such as daily stress, discomfort or difficulty sleeping. The reason it can benefit humans is that it interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a neuromodulatory system that influences many of our bodies’ processes by creating cannabinoids that are endogenous to the body. According to a review in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, the endocannabinoid system is involved in maintaining a variety of your body’s key functions. It’s thought to play a role in regulating appetite, learning, mood and sleep, among other areas. It’s unclear how exactly CBD, which is a cannabinoid, interacts with the ECS, but there is mounting evidence that it can support many of the functions that the ECS influences.
Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
The simple answer is no, CBD doesn’t make you feel sleepy. That being said, some CBD products are formulated with high levels of terpene myrcene, which can have a sedating effect — if you choose a CBD product without myrcene, CBD can help you find better sleep, but not by “sedating” you. Instead, it may interact with the ECS to support the sleep-wake cycle, and when taken consistently, can help you to feel more alert during the day and sleep more restfully at night. Though more research is needed, it seems that the main way CBD helps you sleep is by potentially alleviating some of the causes of sleeplessness. For example, if you had a stressful day you can’t shake, which in turn affects the quality of your sleep, CBD could help you sleep better by supporting your mind’s ability to relax.
How and When to Take CBD for Sleep
Though exactly how much CBD you should take varies from individual to individual, taking 10-25 mg per day in an effort to improve your sleep is a good place to start. In one study that saw a high rate of improvement in sleep quality among participants, the following method was used: “If stress complaints predominated, the dosing was every morning, after breakfast. If sleep complaints predominated, the dosing was every evening, after dinner.” This may also be a good guideline to try if you’re new to CBD, and can be modified according to your unique needs.
It’s also important to take a CBD product that’s made from bioavailable ingredients to reap the most benefits. We recommend opting for an emulsion formulation, which has been shown to have better absorption and significantly increase the product’s efficacy.
The Bottom Line
CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating many of the body’s essential functions, including sleep. Though CBD doesn’t make you feel sleepy per se, it may help you find the balance you need to improve your sleep quality at night while promoting wakefulness during the day.
Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based writer and editor with seven years of experience creating content for various outlets. Her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Stylist and Cosmopolitan, and she won first place in Writing Magazine’s Grand Prize for a short story in 2020.
Healthline - Can CBD Help Energy and Focus?
MedicalNewsToday - What to know about CBD and sleep
Healthline - 7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects)
Healthline - A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System
Biological Psychiatry - “An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system”
Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal - “The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain”
British Journal of Pharmacology - “Endocannabinoid signalling: has it got rhythm?”
Current Neuropharmacology - “Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent”
The Permanente Journal - “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series”
VeryWellMind - What Dosage of CBD Should You Take?