How to Get Better Sleep with CBD Oil

CBD Oil For Sleep

Lack of sleep plagues over 30% of the American population, with approximately 10 million people using prescription sleep aids.1 We are always looking for new research, techniques, and products to help us sleep better and feel more rested. Perhaps this is why the research into CBD oil as a sleep aid is so exciting.
Lack of sleep isn’t just a nuisance — it can be downright bad for health. One study found that 40% of people suffering from insomnia also experienced some type of psychiatric disorder.2 Sleep deprivation, or continual poor sleep, has been linked to serious medical conditions, including heart disease, weakened immune system, diabetes, and diminished longevity.3 This is because sleep (and all its phases) is the time when our body undergoes muscle repair, memory consolidation, detoxification, and release of regulating hormones. A number of factors can cause poor sleep including stress and anxiety, chronic pain, and endocrine imbalances.

CBD for Insomnia

Stress can be a killer when it comes to sleep. In fact, more than half of Americans say they’ve lost sleep due to stress.4 So, for those who are missing out on valuable sleep due to their racing minds, CBD oil appears to hold some therapeutic promise.
A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain.5  Serotonin participates in many biological processes. These include: the mediation of stress, appetite, addiction, pain perception, nausea, and sleep.
A study that examined the ways in which serotonin impacts sleep discovered that stimulation of serotonin receptors could help in facilitating sleep.6 By interacting with the serotonin receptors in the brain, CBD can promote a healthy and restful sleep.  

CBD Oil and the Sleep Cycle

Our sleep cycle follows a pattern of alternating REM and NREM sleep.7  The majority of sleep is NREM (approximately 75%), which is essential for memory, hormone release, as well as cell production and repair.
The rest of sleep (25%) is REM — eye movements become rapid, and the brain perks up, resembling the brain when it is awake. This is when your most vivid dreams occur. Sleepers also dream during NREM sleep, but these dreams tend to be more concept-based rather than the vivid and emotional REM dreams. The ill effects of REM sleep deprivation are less severe than NREM deprivation.

Stages of The Sleep Cycle

CBD oil has been shown to prolong the third phase of sleep in NREM.8  This stage, also known as N3, is where one receives the deepest and most restorative sleep, blood pressure drops, breathing slows, muscles become relaxed, blood supply to muscles increases, tissue growth and repair occurs, and hormones are released.  This stage is key for restful and healthy sleep.

Stages of NREM Sleep

The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep

One of the main functions of CBD in the body is promoting a healthy and balanced endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system permeates all of the other eleven unique systems in the body and helps direct their functions. For this reason, you will often hear the ECS referred to as a “meta-system”. It interacts with these systems while also governing them. While the nervous system enables communication throughout the body, the ECS aids in regulating almost every aspect of our wellbeing.
A study by PLOS discovered that regulating the endocannabinoid system improved the stability of NREM sleep.9 By activating the CB1 receptor, one of the main receptors in the endocannabinoid system, scientists increased sleep stability during NREM sleep. The same scientists also experimented with blocking CB1 receptors. Consequently they discovered that NREM sleep was reduced and had more interruptions.
The body’s own endocannabinoids are responsible for binding to and stimulating the CB1 receptors found throughout the body. Since CBD can increase the availability of your body’s own cannabinoids, it stands to reason that CBD could encourage the ability of your endocannabinoid system to stabilize sleep.

Increasing The Amount of Sleep With CBD

Ever feel like you aren’t getting enough sleep? A study carried out by the University of Sao Paolo discovered that CBD increased the amount of sleep time in rats.10 Compared to placebo groups, rats that received CBD slept longer and also experienced greater amounts of REM sleep during the night. While much of the research into CBD and sleep is still in its infancy, studies like these indicate CBD shows enormous promise in supporting healthy sleep.

CBD and Daytime Wakefulness

Unlike prescription sleep aids, CBD does not appear to induce sleepiness during the day, but rather helps promote a healthy a sleep cycle. One study discovered that CBD worked as a wakefulness agent, meaning that it could actually help people that felt sleepy during the day to feel more alert and awake.11 In addition to helping you get more sleep, CBD appears to encourage alertness during the day.

CBD And Sleep: Concluding Thoughts

The research shows CBD interacts with our sleep cycles in a complex way that includes mitigating stress, prolonging essential NREM sleep cycles, and stabilizing sleep patterns.  For the 10 million Americans that are affected by lack of restful sleep, CBD oil can provide benefits to your sleep cycle.
Have more questions about introducing CBD into your life? Find the answers, latest research and science in the Intro To CBD Textbook and CBD Crash Course where you can learn how CBD interacts with the body in detail.


  1. Julie Sowder. Insomnia Statistics, Better Sleep Guide, 2018, https://www.better-sleep-better-life.com/insomnia-statistics.html
  2. Thomas Roth. Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2007 Aug 15, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978319/
  3. Rachel Nall. How Does Seven To Eight Hours of Sleep Affect Your Body?, Healthline,  2016 Oct 16, https://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night
  4. Julie Sowder. Insomnia Statistics, Better Sleep Guide, 2018, https://www.better-sleep-better-life.com/insomnia-statistics.html
  5. Leonardo Resstel, Rodrigo Tavares, Sabrina Lisboa, Samia Joca, Fernando Correa, Francisco Guimaraes. 5-HT1A Receptors are involved in the cannabidiol-induced attenuation of behavioural and cardiovascular responses to actue restraint stress in rats, British Journal of Pharmacology, 2009 Jan, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697769/
  6. Reidun Ursin. Serotonin and sleep, Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2002, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c2fb/651aca435df7761047e13b4a941cc0517318.pdf
  7. Jodie Tyley. What Happens to Your Body When You Sleep?,  Independent, 2015 Oct 1, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-sleep-a6675861.html
  8. Marcos Chagas, Jose Crippa, Antonio Zuardi. Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2013 Jan 23.  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112474524
  9. Matthew Pava, Alexandros Makriyannis, David Lovinger. Endocannabinoid Signalling Regulates Sleep Stability, PloS One, 2016 Mar 31, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816426/
  10. Marcos Chagas, Jose Crippa, Antonio Zuardi. Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2013 Jan 23, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112474524
  11. Eric Rodriguez, Andrea Sarro-Ramirez, Daniel Sanchez, Stephanie Mijangos-Moreno, Alma Tejeda-Padron, Alwin Poot-Ake, Khalil Guzman, Edla Pacheco-Pantoja, Oscar Arias-Carrion. Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent, Current Neuropharmacology, 2014 May, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/#R3