Americans have trouble sleeping. According to a recent survey done by Consumer Reports, 80% of Americans have difficulty getting a full night’s sleep at least once per week.
But Consumer Reports, a respected source that takes no advertising and is supported by donations, also reports that a new sleep aid is on the rise: cannabidiols, commonly known as CBD.
CBD is the chemical ingredient in marijuana that does not get you high (that’s called THC). CBD is popular because it’s been used by everyone from entertainers to athletes for pain management, inflammation reduction and even to manage stress. It’s expanded into wellness products, specialty drinks and edibles.
And now, more people are turning to CBD for a good night’s sleep.
CBD Is Popular Because it Works
Consumer Reports wrote that about 10% of adult respondents in a recent survey said they had tried CBD to sleep. A majority of them said it worked.
Dr. Joseph Maroon, a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told Consumer Reports that CBD’s ability to ease anxiety and pain are helpful because both can make it hard to fall asleep.
A 2017 review of the literature on CBD also found that “CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.” The researchers, from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, wrote that THC may work in the short term but could impair sleep in the long run.
CBD, on the other hand, may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness and “may reduce nightmares associated with PTSD and may improve sleep among patients with chronic pain,” according to the study.
Sleep Study Has Some Positive Results
In a study published in 2019 and reported on by Healthline, 72 people agreed to participate in a trial involving CBD. Of the 72, 47 were experiencing anxiety while 25 had poor sleep. Each subject was given a CBD capsule containing 25 milligrams of CBD each day.
Within a month. 79.2% of the patients said they were experiencing lower levels of anxiety. And 66.7% said they were experiencing better sleep.
While not every patient gets the same results, Maroon told Consumer Reports that for those with sleep issues, CBD presents a safe, natural and non-habit-forming option for them to try.
Why Sleep Is So Important
Most people think of sleep as a time when everything shuts down. But that is not the case. Sleep is actually “an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The foundation reports that one function that happens during sleep is the solidification and consolidation of memories. Part of this process during sleep is taking bits of short-term information and transferring it to long-term memory.
Just missing one night of sleep can lead to puffy eyes, dark circles under the eyes, an inability to focus and trouble controlling food cravings. Going a long time with too little sleep can lead to many issues. For example, women who consistently sleep five hours or less a night are 15% more likely to become obese in the next decade, according to the foundation.
Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Children need 11 to 14 hours of sleep, while teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.
Sleep is important for everyone. CBD will likely continue to grow in popularly to treat sleep-related issues, especially when only a third of those who take over-the-counter medications report getting a good night’s sleep.