CBD for Insomnia Can Help You Sleep Better. Here’s How!

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

CBD for Insomnia Can Help You Sleep Better. Here’s How!

Our relentless days and sleepless nights often leave us neglecting our health, sacrificing self-care in the process. However, prioritizing good health is crucial for peak performance. One often-ignored factor is sleep. Disrupted sleep schedules and persistent insomnia can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Cannabidiol (CBD), a natural compound gaining traction in the wellness world, may hold the key to finally conquering those restless nights. In this article, we'll explore the potential of CBD for insomnia and achieving restful sleep.

Insomnia: Sleepless Nights and Daytime Dread

Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, disrupts your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. It comes in two main forms: acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). Environmental factors, behaviours, and psychological issues can all trigger insomnia.  The National Council on Aging reports a staggering 30% of adults to experience insomnia symptoms, with 10% suffering disruptions to their daily lives.  Furthermore, an alarming one in five adults battles sleep deprivation, meaning they consistently miss out on enough restful sleep.

With various supplements available for improving sleep, researchers are exploring the potential of CBD for insomnia. 

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant and holds promise for its medicinal properties. CBD interacts directly with the body's endocannabinoid system which regulates various functions, including sleep, mood, and appetite. Before understanding how CBD for insomnia works, it is important to know the role of the endocannabinoid system in sleep regulation. 

The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) acts like a complex internal network, regulating functions like emotions, pain, and most importantly restful nights, and sleep. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoid molecules, but external sources like CBD can also influence the ECS, according to medical experts. 

One key player in the ECS is the hypothalamus, a tiny region deep within the brain. Packed with cannabinoid receptors, the hypothalamus governs the circadian rhythm – the natural 24-hour cycle that dictates the sleep-wake patterns. Research suggests the ECS plays a crucial role in this cycle, helping in drifting off to sleep at night and waking refreshed in the morning.

What is a sleep-wake cycle and how does it affect your insomnia? 

According to the National Institute of Health, “The regulation of sleep is processed by the homeostatic physiology of the circadian rhythm, the sleep/wake cycle. Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock in our brain that regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in our environment.” When the brain's circadian rhythm, which is also referred to as the natural sleep-wake cycle, is out of sync, people experience difficulty falling asleep or staying awake at the right times which further contributes to the development of insomnia and other serious sleep disorders.

CBD for insomnia: How does it work? 

Cannabidiol (CBD), a prominent compound found in cannabis, shows promise in improving sleep indirectly. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD doesn't cause a "high." 

CBD's potential sleep benefits seem to stem from its ability to address factors that disrupt sleep. CBD may promote relaxation by easing anxiety and pain, common hurdles to falling and staying asleep.

Studies delve deeper into CBD's impact on specific sleep disorders. Research suggests CBD might help with insomnia by regulating stress through its interaction with the hypothalamus, a brain region crucial for sleep regulation. Insomnia often results from an overactive stress response interfering with nighttime rest. CBD might counteract this by suppressing stress hormones and promoting a more balanced sleep-wake cycle.

Research comparing the effects of CBD and THC on insomnia found CBD to be more effective in reducing symptoms. This highlights CBD's potential as a sleep aid without the intoxicating side effects associated with THC.

insomnia caused by stress

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Review on CBD for Insomnia

A systematic review by the NIH in 2023 analyzed 34 studies investigating CBD's potential for managing insomnia. Encouragingly, all studies reported at least some participants experiencing improvements in insomnia symptoms. 

The studies included two primary groups: those using CBD-dominant therapy and those with nearly equal CBD and THC. Interestingly, studies with hypothesis testing showed positive results: 4 out of 7 CBD-dominant studies and 12 out of 16 studies with balanced CBD/THC found significant improvements in insomnia outcomes. 

These findings suggest that CBD, either alone or combined with THC in equal amounts, might help alleviate insomnia symptoms. However, it's important to note that further research is needed to definitively confirm CBD's effectiveness.

So should you use CBD for insomnia? 

Ultimately, deciding if CBD is right for treating insomnia requires a conversation with your healthcare provider. However, CBD is a natural, plant-based approach so it can be effective for someone who is seeking an alternative to ineffective conventional treatments. Due to minimal side effects, CBD for insomnia can turn out to be a "wise alternative" for many seeking better sleep quality and duration. If you and your doctor decide to explore CBD, various delivery options are available. These include capsules, gummies, tinctures, and topical products like oils and creams.

Explore: CBD for insomnia 

Some things to consider before using CBD for insomnia

  • Consider Consulting Your Doctor FirstWhile this advice can help, it's crucial to speak with your doctor before using CBD for insomnia. They can advise on potential interactions with medications you're already taking and ensure CBD is suitable for you.
  • Finding Your Ideal Dosage: Start low and slow! Begin with a minimal dose, around 2 drops of CBD oil, an hour before bedtime. Gradually increase the dosage if needed, but allow time for your body to adjust between increases.
  • CBD Oil and Sleep: Choosing the Right Spectrum: For sleep concerns, broad-spectrum CBD oil might be more effective than isolate. Broad-spectrum includes additional cannabinoids that may work synergistically with CBD to improve sleep quality.
  • Avoiding Interactions with Other Sleep AidsWhile melatonin is a common sleep aid, it's best to avoid combining it with CBD until you discuss it with your doctor. Some medications may also interact with CBD, so transparency with your doctor is key.
  • Application Methods for Faster Absorption: For quicker absorption, consider taking CBD sublingually (placing drops under your tongue) rather than applying it to your feet. Sublingual application allows CBD to enter your bloodstream directly.


While CBD research for insomnia is ongoing, its potential to improve sleep is promising. Remember, a consistent sleep routine and healthy habits remain essential for good sleep hygiene.  However, CBD could be a valuable addition to your sleep toolkit, helping you drift off to dreamland and wake up feeling refreshed.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. Is CBD oil good for insomnia? 

Research on CBD for insomnia is promising, but it's not a definitive "yes" yet. Overall, CBD could be a helpful tool for managing insomnia, but it's important to manage expectations and consult a medical professional before using it.

Q. Does CBD cause insomnia? 

CBD's effect on insomnia can be a bit complex. While some people find it helps them sleep, others might experience the opposite. Everyone reacts differently to CBD. Factors like metabolism and body chemistry can influence its effects.

Q. Are there any side effects of using CBD for insomnia? 

CBD is generally well-tolerated, but there are some potential side effects to be aware of, especially when using it for insomnia.  These are usually mild and can include dry mouth, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Dosage also plays a role. Lower doses might have a stimulating effect on some people, making it harder to fall asleep. Conversely, higher doses can lead to drowsiness.

Q. How long does it take for CBD to work for insomnia?

The effects of CBD oil can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in, depending on the method of consumption (sublingual, capsules, etc.). It's best to take it an hour before bedtime to allow time for its effects.


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