Erratic sleep may be behind your health issues, and CBD may help

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Sleep disorders are one of the most neglected causes of health disorders. One can prevent many health problems by simply sleeping more and sleeping better.

One of the reasons that sleep issues remain neglected is the lack of understanding of what constitutes ‘good’ sleep. It is not just sleeping for more time which is important, but the quality of sleep, too.

Most people who buy health bands or fitness watches with sleep monitoring are amazed to learn that they continually get poor sleep scores. 

Understanding normal sleep

Before going deeper into the topic, it is necessary to understand what is healthy sleep. It can be difficult to describe in detail due to substantial individual differences.

Healthy sleep is when a person can fall asleep quickly, does not wake up frequently during the night, and wakes up feeling fresh the next morning. For adults, 7 to 9 hours is the optimal sleep duration.

During these 7 to 9 hours, one goes through multiple cycles of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep.

Sleep disturbances can be both due to a lack of adequate duration of sleep or abnormal sleep patterns/cycles. With this variety of factors, recognising sleep issues can be challenging but it is possible with most commonly available wearable devices.

Sleep disorders may cause diseases, worsen existing health conditions

In the last few decades, researchers have started giving more attention to sleep disorders, as they are researching the reasons behind a global increase in diseases like hypertension, depression, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and more.

It is essential to understand that poor sleep scores should be taken as seriously as high blood pressure or elevated blood glucose readings, and may even be the underlying reason for many health conditions. So, if a person has difficulty in controlling hypertension, frequent mood-related issues, or even unexplained exacerbations in autoimmune diseases, poor sleep may be one of the reasons. 

Health statistics confirm that people are not sleeping well, though they might be getting enough sleep

Understanding how sleep habits have changed over time is challenging, as there is no accurate data from pre-industrial age. Nonetheless, it is well known that with the advent of gadgets, many people have changed their sleep habits considerably.

Analysis of clinical studies over the last 50 years show that there is not much decline in the total duration of sleep. Reviews from the UK only show a small decline in total sleep time. What has altered is the sleep quality and habits. For example, many people watch television and use gadgets whilst in bed, or are unable to sleep well due to stress. It means that what is needed is not necessarily increasing the sleep duration, but improving its quality by learning more about sleep hygiene, and if required using sleep aids. Using CBD can be one of the measures taken to improve sleep quality.

Sleep quality is affected by numerous factors

One of the challenges in improving sleep quality is that there is no single reason that is applicable in all cases. One must start by identifying the individual cause of poor sleep. 

Sleep disturbances may occur merely due to some habits like watching television late at night and using gadgets. On the other hand, issues such as sleep apnea are one of the important reasons for poor sleep. Other causes could be stress, or living with painful chronic illnesses.

It means that one can only improve sleep by using multiple strategies. Do not expect to have a good night sleep just by using CBD. One needs to identify and rectify underlying causes, and CBD may act as a supportive measure.

Role of CBD in improving sleep quality

Most people without severe ailments may use a simple strategy of improving sleep quality,  supplemented by using non-pharmacological supportive aids like CBD. CBD can be preferred due to its known efficacy in relieving anxiety, producing relaxing effects, improving sleep quality, and excellent safety profile.

Sleep hygiene is about using simple non-pharmacological measures like sleeping at the same time each day, avoiding the use of gadgets in bed, reducing noise levels in the bedroom, and ensuring appropriate temperature and darkness. One may also use other simple techniques like meditating or praying before going to bed, as such strategies may help relax.

With regard to CBD and its role in improving sleep quality, one can say that it seems to help, but there is a need for more clinical trials. It also seems that CBD works better for improving sleep quality when it has small amounts of THC in it. Additionally, animal studies have shown that CBD may modulate sleep pattern.

Analysis of data from extensive clinical trials for specific CBD based approved medications like Sativex show that it may considerably improve sleep quality in 40-50% of the subjects, perhaps by reducing the pain.

One of the reasons why researchers think that present research has many inadequacies is because most of the studies in humans were done in more severe illnesses. Thus, most studies focused on improving sleep quality in those living with severe ailments like multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pains, PTSD, and so on. 

There are almost no high-quality clinical studies in population groups who are living without any severe illness, but considering the use of CBD to improve sleep quality. CBD may show promising results in improving sleep quality in comparatively healthy adults.

To conclude, there is some proven rationale for using CBD as a sleep aid. Studies generally show a beneficial effect. It will work best when used as a part of broader measures. CBD with traces of THC (full-spectrum CBD) may be better for improving sleep quality.

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