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Will CBD Help You Sleep Better?

A compound from Cannabis plants may help ease anxiety. But there is limited research on whether you can use CBD to help you sleep.

These are unsettling, anxious times. It’s little wonder that many people are having trouble sleeping. As a result, they are eager to try even a nonstandard treatment if they believe that would help. Would CBD help you sleep? One reader is wondering.

Could CBD Help You Sleep More Soundly?

Q. I have had a lot of trouble sleeping, especially since I started menopause. I know someone whose temperament (anxious-tending) and age (50s) are similar to mine. He’s male and I’m female, so I’ve got all kinds of extra-fun hot-flashy kinds of things to make nighttime interesting now.

Anyway, his go-to sleep remedy is a time-release melatonin capsule coupled with a dropper of CBD oil. I have never done one remotely illicit drug in my life, and my family thinks it is hilarious that I am considering CBD oil. All the same, my friend claims to be sleeping easily nine hours a night. That sounds like an absolute dream to me, given that at least half the time I wake up in the middle of the night and have terrible trouble getting back to sleep. Could CBD oil help with insomnia? What about melatonin?

Pros and Cons of CBD for Sleep:

A. Fortunately, CBD (cannabidiol) is not illicit. Even though it can be derived from Cannabis (hemp or marijuana) plants, it does not make people high.

There have been few if any randomized controlled trials of this compound for insomnia. However, in a large case series (72 individuals), CBD was associated with reduced anxiety and improved sleep (Permanente Journal, online Jan. 7, 2019). For some people, CBD can lead to digestive upset, fatigue and drowsiness (Current Neuropharmacology, Oct. 2019).

Melatonin can be helpful for restoring sleep disrupted during the night (British Journal of Pharmacology, Aug. 2018). To learn more about herbal remedies, cognitive behavioral treatment (Sleep Medicine Clinics, June 2019) and other nondrug solutions for insomnia, you may want to consult our eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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