On the list of natural remedies people try out for better sleep, CBD oil is climbing up higher and higher. Little scientific research has been done on CBD and sleep. Yet, there are several ways in which CBD can help to sleep better.
Below you can read what we now know about the different ways in which CBD can affect our sleep.
Have you tried CBD and found it doesn’t work? Also read our article about why CBD sometimes doesn’t work.
What do we mean by healthy sleep?
The sleep cycle consists of 5 phases. Stage 1-4 consists roughly of the slumber phase, light sleep, deep sleep and very deep sleep. The 5th phase is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In this phase dreams, waking up and falling asleep (again) take place.
These sleep cycles last about 90 minutes. The amount of time we spend in each phase shifts over the course of the night. For a period of 24 hours, the optimal duration consists of 4-6 consecutive cycles. Going through these sleep cycles undisturbed equals an optimal night’s sleep.
Assessment of the relationship between CBD and sleep
Given the enormous demand for good sleep solutions, you would expect that a lot of research has been done into the relationship between CBD and sleep. But unfortunately, hardly any experiments have been done on humans. The only research on CBD and sleep dates from 2016  and is limited to one adult. This person suffered from PTSD and, as a result, insomnia. Administration of water-soluble CBD has helped her to sleep better, but it should be noted that this is not an independent study, it was carried out by the Cannabinoid Research Institute founded by GW Pharmaceuticals.
How does CBD affect sleep?
1. CBD reduces anxiety
Because CBD oil can help with anxiety, as a consequence it has a positive effect in combating sleep problems and improving sleep. In 2011, scientists published an article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology  on the relationship between CBD and social anxiety disorders. In that year it also appeared that taking CBD preventively is effective for anxiety, stress and the feeling of discomfort that you experience before public speaking .
2. CBD reduces complaints that stand in the way of a good night’s sleep
Chronic pain, restless legs, depression, PTSD and a range of other conditions are undoubtedly related to sleep deprivation. CBD is seen as a treatment for these conditions. It relieves the complaints that prevent people from getting a good night’s rest. It could therefore play an influential role – albeit indirectly.
3. High dose ensures deeper sleep
A 2013 study  on rats showed that higher doses (40 mg) resulted in longer sleep, with REM sleep starting later. It was also concluded that this group of rats was deeper asleep. A shorter period of REM sleep was associated with a reduction in symptoms of depression.
Important: in rats with a lower dosage (10 mg) the sleeping time was slightly shortened. The doses mentioned in quotes apply to rats. People and rodents process CBD differently, so these data cannot be used to calculate an effective human dose.
Also, people who suffer from REM sleep disturbance may benefit from CBD oil. REM disorder for example, is a condition in which people move physically during REM sleep, which worsens the quality of their sleep.
Another experiment  shows that a high human dose had a very positive effect on sleep. This experiment had 15 participants who each received 40, 60 and 160mg of CBD. They also received a placebo and 5mg of the sleeping pill Nitrazepam, spread over a period of five weeks. The 160mg CBD dose had a very positive effect on sleep and was associated with fewer sleep interruptions.
4. CBD may contribute to a healthier day-night rhythm
In small quantities CBD oil stimulates alertness and reduces daytime fatigue . This in turn is important for the performance during the day, and for the regularity of waking up and sleeping.
Alternative to medication
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, there are still many people who try CBD to sleep better. An important reason for this is the unnatural sleep generated by sleeping pills. They often provide a feeling of numbness and having poorly rested in the morning. And, pharmaceutical sleeping medications often come with other serious side effects in the long term, such as liver damage and addiction.
More in-depth research and more extensive tests on human participants are badly needed to be able to optimally use CBD as a sleep aid. For the time being, testing CBD oil yourself is going to be the only way to find out whether it contributes to a better night’s sleep.
Despite as a sleeping aid, CBD has numerous other applications. Want to learn more about the other uses for CBD? Read our article on today’s most common applications for CBD oil.