Sleep is precious and we need it more than we may realize. Living in a chronic sleep deprived state affects overall health and cognitive function, and can cause fatigue, weakened immunity, decreased libido, weight gain and carry an increased risk for chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Signs of sleep deprivation include moodiness, irritability, depression, difficulty learning, forgetfulness and lack of concentration. While many people ignore their sleep nutrition needs, others obsess over how to get enough of it.
A commonly used remedy to insomnia is everyday cold, flu and antihistamine medicines such as Nyquil or Benadryl. But the sedating antihistamines present in these medicines that swiftly cause drowsiness to set in are not meant to induce sleep.
“[Over-the-counter] cold medications typically contain several medications, including a pain reliever, a cough suppressant and an antihistamine,” Susheel Patil, clinical director at Johns Hopkins Sleep Medicine Center, told the Huffington Post.
“These medications have an elimination half-life of 10 to 12 hours, which means they are often circulating in your blood after you are waking up,” Patil added.
This can lead to grogginess, headaches, and possibly heart palpitations. But a sleepy alternative may be found in cannabidiol (CBD). If taken a half-hour before bed, it could just do the trick.
“CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep,” Peter Grinspoon, M.D., professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote in a blog post.
CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system, reducing anxiety by regulating the production of the stress hormone cortisol. CBD also serves as a pain reliever and muscle relaxant, helping patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease to find better sleep. There is even some evidence that CBD helps to eliminate nightmares in those suffering from REM sleep behavior disorder.
Each body is unique, so it is important to experiment with CBD dosages and the time of day it is taken. Tinctures and sublingual sprays can offer effects quickly, while edibles and oils have a slower release, leading to a longer period of sleep.