CBD for Sleep

By Dr. Frank Michalski

For those of you suffering from chronic health conditions, this article is for you. Lack of sleep is impacting our society in more ways than one. I am going to break down for you the importance of sleep and how CBD BioCare CBD oil may benefit a healthy sleep cycle. 

If you are not sleeping, you are not alone. Just look at some of the alarming data below from The American Sleep Association.

  • 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder 
  • 48% report snoring 
  • 37.9% report unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month. 
  • Drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually 
  • Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder
  • One hundred thousand deaths occur each year in US hospitals due to medical errors and sleep deprivation!!!!!! YIKES!!!!

Why does the body need to sleep? There are two primary reasons our bodies need sleep. 

  1. Restoration and consolidation of memories 
  2. Detox and recovery 

How do our bodies know it’s time for rest? 

Do you have an internal alarm clock? Do you find that even on Sunday's when you want to be in bed, you wake up early?

The circadian rhythm is an internal clock within the human body that regulates our biological functions over 24 hours. This clock dictates when you are awake and asleep, aka the sleep-wake cycle. This clock regulates more than just sleep. The circadian rhythm is also responsible for bowel movements, blood pressure, body temperature, hormone production, appetite, and cell regeneration.

This clock is governed mainly by the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is also a common over the counter sleep supplement. During daylight hours melatonin levels are low. When the sun is out the body produces less melatonin, as the sun begins to go down melatonin production ramps up. Melatonin production can be negatively impacted by stress, environmental factors, meal timing, job, alcohol intake, nicotine usage, kids, and travel.  

Common symptoms of circadian rhythm disorders include: 

  • Trouble falling asleep 
  • Daytime fatigue and tiredness 
  • Headaches 
  • Brian fog/ lack of concentration 
  • Decreased cognitive function 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Mood fluctuations 

What happens when we sleep? 

Sleep is how the body heals. Sleep is crucial when it comes to recovering from physical injury and illness. Lack of sleep has been linked to almost all disease processes that involve systemic inflammation. Chronic inflammatory diseases include diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, some cancers, GI disorders, insomnia, and many more.  Recall our earlier podcast on chronic inflammatory disease, if not, please give it a listen. Think of it this way sleep plays a significant role in decreasing the amount of inflammation in your body.

High quality sleep (something we will discuss in a moment) is critical for brain function and keeping our mind sharp. The information you learned during the day is moved from short term memory to long term memory during sleep. Our memories are consolidated while we sleep; your brain literally strengthens your memory while you sleep!

Lack of sleep may also lead to elevated or decreased cortisol levels. For any of our listeners out there who have experienced adrenal fatigue, yes sleep is pertinent in your recovery. Elevated cortisol disrupts our brains ability to organize memories properly. Elevated cortisol can result in forgetfulness, difficulty processing new information, and trouble with focus.

People love going on a detox diet, but have you considered detoxing your brain? Age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease are now being assessed as a failure of the brains lymphatic detox systems. These diseases result as a buildup of beta-amyloid and tau protein plaques (aka waste products that build up in the brain). During a quality night of sleep, your brains own lymphatic detox system flushes out these waste products. It has been studied that during acute sleep deprivation, beta-amyloid levels rise in the brain.

Why is it that some nights I feel more rested than others even though I slept the same number of hours? 

There is no mystery to this question. The answer comes down to sleep quality, not sleep quantity. Generally speaking, 6-8 hours of sleep each night is enough for most people. 

Sleep is a series of cycles, not one but several cycles. According to the American Sleep Association, sleep has five cycles.  

  1. Light Sleep: During light sleep, body movement is decreased, and we are easily woken up. This is the lightest stage of sleep. Your brain wave activity is slightly slower than when you are awake.
  2. Stage 2: This is a deeper sleep. At this stage, it is harder to wake a person up. We spend a lot of time in this stage of sleep. Stage 2 is where the body begins to refresh. During stage two sleep, our body temperature should decrease 1-2 degrees. This drop-in body temperature is critical for a good night's sleep. This is why many people never feel refreshed after a night of humidity. Think about how wine and other sources of carbohydrates increase body temperature; no wonder these choices can negatively impact sleep.

  1. Stage 3-4: This is considered slow wave sleep. In this stage of sleep, the person is very difficult to wake. This is the most restorative stage of sleep. If a person is awakened from this stage of sleep, they will most likely feel groggy and fatigued the entire day. Waking up during this stage of sleep can also decrease cognitive function.  

Stage 3 deep sleep: It is during the "deep sleep" portion of the evening where memory consolidation occurs. During deep sleep, the brain repairs itself from its daily activities. During deep sleep, there is an increase in glucose (sugar) metabolism and a release of growth hormone. This is the stage of sleep where our bodies heal and recover. 

Many people lack deep sleep. People who do not successfully achieve deep sleep are subject to

  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Mood disorders 
  • Autoimmune conditions 
  • Memory issues 
  • Micronutrient dysfunction 
  • Lower pain tolerance 
  • Learning disorders 
  • Seizures 
  • Cancer progression 
  • Impairment comparable to alcohol consumption 

People who do not have quality sleep are also more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol, weed, and other drugs. These people are also at a higher risk of anxiety and anger. 

Think about this when you sleep your brain organizes and interprets events from that day. Imagine never fully processing those events, of course, anxiety would worsen. If one copes with anxiety via drugs and alcohol, you can see how this cycle progresses.

Stage 5 (REM Sleep):  Dreaming occurs during this stage of sleep. There is also a decrease in heart rate. For those of you using THC, you may have noticed less dreaming. This is due to THC's impact on REM sleep. The relevance and importance of REM sleep is currently a large area of debate.

If you are looking to improve your sleep, consider the following factors: 

  1. Decrease carbohydrates, grains, and other potential food allergens from your diet. These can significantly impact sleep and in turn, all aspects of one's health.
  2. Regulate your sleep cycle. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same times every day.
  3. Cut off the TV and Phone. Blue light can be very stimulating for the nervous system.
  4. Eliminate all caffeine. Let me say that again ALL CAFFEINE, even the half cup of coffee in the morning. Even the square of dark chocolate before bed, yes, all caffeine.
  5. Seek help if you suffer from psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and addiction.
  6. Consider reviewing your medications with your physician. Did you know that amphetamines, antidepressants, blood pressure pills, cholesterol drugs, steroids, and thyroid medication can all negatively impact sleep? 
  7. Eliminate any sources of chronic inflammation. This is vital. Sleep disorders are often related to low levels or high levels of inflammation. Listen to our podcast on chronic inflammatory disease to learn more. 

CBD and Sleep: 

Before jumping into it, let me make this clear. I have benefited from using CBD oil to support a healthy sleep cycle as have many of my patients. In my experience, sleep is one of the main areas of people’s health, they report improvement with when using CBD.  

As a disclaimer, I will begin by saying certain strains of cannabis Indica (marijuana) have been shown to support healthy sleep patterns. Although the long-term consequences are not yet fully understood. THC appears to be more beneficial than CBD for sleep, or at least a combination of THC and CBD.

Sleep and CBD is a tricky subject. This is due to the fact CBD has a bi-phasic action. At too low of a dose CBD will not work, at too high of a dose it may have the opposite effects. To make matters further complex, we all metabolize and respond to CBD differently.

Many individuals who use CBD may report more alertness during the day and less fatigue. This is an excellent thing for those who do not get a good night's sleep. A study carried out by Anthony N. Nicholas MD, Ph.D. showed that 15mg of THC had sedative effects while 15mg of CBD promoted wake activity during sleep. Generally speaking, those that find THC has a non-sedative effect, CBD may provide these people with a calming effect. While those that find THC creates a sedative effect may find CBD stimulating.

On the flip side, CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress significantly. I tell my patients if you find yourself lying in bed with your mind racing through millions of thoughts CBD may be for you! Anxiety, stress, and depression can ruin a good night's sleep. By using CBD to support a healthy "stress" response, we may be able to improve one's ability to fall asleep.

CBD has also been shown to improve symptoms of sleep apnea and inflammation. If you are not sleeping due to inflammation, CBD may be of benefit. If you suffer from a chronic inflammatory disease and have a sleep disorder give CBD a try.

For those suffering from PTSD and sleep disorders, CBD may be of benefit. If night terrors are present, consider speaking to your physician about THC containing cannabis. THC has been shown to decrease and, in some cases, eliminate dreaming.

Recall CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help reduce pain. Anyone who has ever suffered from acute or chronic shoulder or low back pain knows that pain will often wake them up during the evening. Clinically, one of the first things I ask my patients is "does this pain wake you up at night." This is a vital question if my patient is not sleeping due to pain, I know it's going to take a long time to get them better. Without sleep, our bodies cannot recover, and the prognosis goes down.  

If pain is keeping you awake at night, I have two recommendations. 

  1. Use oral CBD oil for systemic inflammation.
  2. Apply a small amount of the 500mg 3.8oz pain cream to the area of pain before bed.

For most starting with the micro or standard dose range will suffice between .5-100mg of CBD, taken right before bed or an hour or so prior. When you take CBD, and how much CBD you take will require intuition.  It should be noted 5mg of CBD before bed may result in alertness while 50mg of CBD before bed may act as a sedative.

Other things to consider: 

You may want to ditch over the counter sleep aids. Many sleep aids not only contain sugars (syrup oral solutions which lead to weight gain), diphenhydramine (causes constipation and heart issues), and acetaminophen (can result in liver damage) but they are not a good long-term solution. 

Begin a healthy exercise regimen. Exercise and sauna usage have both been shown to increase deep sleep. 

Decrease your carbohydrate intake and explore food allergy testing options. Both food allergies and excessive carbohydrate consumption have been shown to prevent deep sleep.

Ditch the nightcap drink or drinks. Alcohol will induce a light sleep while inhibiting a deep sleep. Alcohol is not your friend when it comes to a night of quality sleep.

Purchase a sleep tracker off of Amazon. This is a great way to track your sleep.  

Purchase a weighted blanket from Amazon. I use one every night. Now I never want to be without one.  

Why CBD BioCare:

When it comes to choosing the right CBD oil quality matters. CBD BioCare provides organic, domestically grown, third-party tested, CO2 extracted, medicinal grade, full spectrum CBD oil products, and lines. The company goes above and beyond to educate the consumer while remaining transparent as possible with their clients.

I use CBD BioCare products with my patients, friends, family, and myself. Having sold supplements for 9+ years before becoming a chiropractic and functional medicine physician, I know a thing or two about product quality and integrity.

Choosing a CBD oil product can be confusing for patients, doctors, and consumers. If you want to make life a little less stressful for a better tomorrow, choose CBD BioCare today!  

*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Frank Michalski and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Frank Michalski nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

In Good Health, 

Dr. Frank Michalski