Cannabidiol (CBD) is the hottest thing right now, and no matter what rock you’ve been living under, you’ve likely come across this non-psychoactive cannabis compound. CBD is shown to be useful in reducing the symptoms of chronic pain, inflammation, skin conditions, anxiety, depression and even some seizure conditions (amongst many other things). You can now add another ailment to the ever-growing list – insomnia! CBD has shown substantial promise in reducing restlessness and promoting a good night’s sleep.
Exciting, right? Let’s dive in!
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?
A good night’s sleep is crucial for both the creation and retention of memory, with sleep experts comparing a fatigued brain to an overflowing memory inbox. New emails containing vital information try to flow into your mind during the deepest parts of your sleep cycle, but they bounce straight back out. During sleep, the brains of humans and animals remain highly active, with electrical signals present in the hippocampus (the area devoted to memory and learning), while exposed to little sensory input. During deep sleep, these memory traces are formed and become independent of the hippocampus, and these become the memories we keep
Studies also suggest that a lack of good quality sleep can lead to the build-up of the toxic protein beta-amyloid associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. It’s during our deep sleep cycle each night that our brains cleaning systems get to work and remove this toxic protein, which reduces the chance of build-up and disease. It isn’t just the number of hours of sleep each night that matters, but the quality too! Some patients that presented an elevated level of toxic protein were sleeping more at night and napping throughout the day. Still, they weren't getting high-quality sleep.
Reproductive & Immune Systems
We know that sleep deprivation affects the reproductive system. We know that men who are sleeping five to six hours a night have testosterone levels akin to that of someone 10-15 years their senior! It’s clear that a lack of sleep is crucial in looking and feeling your age. Our immune systems rely on rest, and with just one night of four to five hours of sleep, there is a 70% reduction in critical anticancer-fighting immune cells. The link between a lack of sleep and cancer is now so strong that within the last decade, the World Health Organisation classified any form of night-time shift work as a probable carcinogen. Thus, in other words, jobs that disrupt your sleep rhythm may induce various types of cancer!
One of the leading health concerns facing modern society is issues with cardiovascular health. Along with diet and exercise, we know that sleep impacts your cardiovascular system profoundly. During deep sleep, your body receives its own wonderfully effective blood pressure medication, as your heart rate naturally drops, and your blood pressure goes down! If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, you’re not getting that reboot of the cardiovascular system. In turn, your blood pressure rises. If you’re getting six hours of sleep or less, you have up to a 200% increased risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke in your lifetime. Sounds crazy, right? What’s even more stark is the 24% increase in heart attacks the day after day-light savings come into effect each year. This goes to show the dramatic results that take place when we lose just one hour of sleep.
CBD & Myrcene in inducing sleep
CBD can work to stimulate melatonin production by boosting levels of tryptophan in your bloodstream. It also does a great job at improving the levels of serotonin, while helping to regulate the Endocannabinoid system. This system regulates mood, pain, appetite, cognitive function and other critical biological processes. Not only can CBD work at the chemical level in your brain, but its main job is also to reduce the external factors that contribute to a restless night’s sleep. The most significant external factors of a miserable night’s sleep are anxiety and depression, physical conditions such as chronic pain and restless leg syndrome and other medications that can disturb your sleep cycle or have unwanted side effects. While clinical trials are still in their infancy, many case studies demonstrate CBD’s efficacy in helping with sleep and reducing the impact of insomnia.
There is another sleep aid that the generous cannabis plant offers: the terpene ‘Myrcene'. Terpenes are naturally made by all plants on earth and are the essential oil that gives each plant its unique scent, flavour and effect. Although it might not get as much recognition as CBD, Myrcene is highly sought-after due to its medical benefits, including its potent anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antioxidant and sedative qualities.
It’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking supplements or medication of any kind — including CBD. CBD is illegal in Australia currently without a prescription.
If you would like us to help you find access to CBD and obtain a prescription in Australia, please get in touch here. But if you feel that terpenes sounds as amazing as we do, explore our LIFE+GREENE Terpene tincture collection and find your next favourite.