The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and well-being. Getting six hours or less per night has been linked with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Unfortunately, many Americans are not getting enough sleep. According to the CDC, over a third of adults report sleeping an average of fewer than seven hours per night. In a 2020 survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 44 percent of respondents said they feel sleepy during the day between two and four days per week, and another 28 percent said they feel sleepy during the day between five and seven days each week. On average, women reported feeling sleepy an average of 3.4 days per week and men an average of 2.7 days per week.
It’s no wonder, then, that many of us need help when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. A good first step is to practice healthy sleep hygiene—go to bed at the same time every night, keep your room cool and dark, get a supportive mattress, and banish your cell phone from the bedroom.
If that’s not enough, you may want to think about adding some CBD to your nightly routine. Studies show that it may help you relax and unwind. For example, for residents in North Carolina or Connecticut, our Incredible Edibles Grab & Go CBD Sleep Gummies offer a good way to get started.
Additionally, some even suggest combining it with melatonin, the sleep hormone. Therefore, in this post, we’ll talk about the combination of CBD and melatonin and when you may want to consider this combination.
CBD May Have a Calming, Anti-Anxiety Effect
While CBD isn’t likely to make you feel sleepy, it is known to have a potential calming effect. In a 2015 study, scientists noted that it interacts with several receptors in the brain known to regulate fear and anxiety-related behaviors. Moderate doses have an anti-anxiety effect as well as a stress-relieving action.
In a later article published in the Frontiers of Psychology, researchers stated that CBD reversed anxiety-like behavior. In their unique experiment on teens with social anxiety disorder, they also found that treatment with 300 mg of CBD daily for four weeks significantly decreased anxiety—so much so that they suggested CBD could be a useful option for treating social anxiety.
Could CBD Be a Potential Sleep Solution?
CBD’s possible calming effect was soon found to have potential when it came to helping people sleep better.
An earlier study showed similar results—that CBD held promise for sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness, and could even reduce nightmares associated with PTSD and improve sleep among patients with chronic pain.
Scientists now know that the body’s endocannabinoid system plays a role in both sleep and regulating our circadian rhythms (body clocks). Cannabinoids like CBD interact with cells in our brains that affect these functions, potentially making it easier to sleep when it’s time.
A review of the research on CBD and sleep showed that CBD (150-600 mg/day) could ease the symptoms of social anxiety disorder and insomnia.
In a 2018 study, researchers gave over 400 participants with insomnia natural medical Cannabis flowers. The results showed that users had an average symptom reduction of -4.5 points on a 0-10 point scale, with CBD associated with greater symptom relief than THC.
We need more studies to be sure of what CBD might be able to do for sleep disorders, but the research so far shows it may have promise. That got some manufacturers thinking: what if we combined CBD with melatonin—the sleep hormone?
What is Melatonin and Will It Help Me Sleep?
Melatonin is a natural hormone that keeps you on a regular waking and sleeping schedule. When all is well, your brain produces it in response to darkness—when the sun goes down. As long as you’re not exposed to too much nighttime light (or blue light from computers and cell phones), it will rise at night to help you to feel sleepy.
Today, melatonin supplements are available to potentially help with certain sleep conditions such as jet lag, delayed sleep-wake disorder, shift work, and anxiety before and after surgery. We still don’t know for sure, though, whether it can help with insomnia. The Mayo Clinic reports that it may slightly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, but its effects on sleep quality and total sleep time are unclear.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) doesn’t recommend it. It concluded in 2017 that there is not sufficient scientific support for melatonin in reducing insomnia.
So what if we combine it with CBD? Might that work better? And is it safe?
Can I Take Melatonin and CBD Together?
First, you should always talk with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your routine to ensure that they’re safe for you to take and won’t interact with other medications or supplements you may be taking. If your healthcare provider agrees that CBD and melatonin are safe for you to take, it’s always best to start with the lowest dose possible to see how it affects you.
Melatonin can cause side effects in some people, including headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness the next day, so you may want to try melatonin alone before trying a combination. You may find that melatonin alone is all you need. Or you may discover that it doesn’t work at all or that it makes you feel sleepy the next day.
It’s a good idea to take a similar approach with CBD—try it alone, first. It could be that a little CBD before bed is all you need.
If you’re still struggling, though, and can’t get the sleep you need, consider combining CBD and melatonin. We don’t have any studies on this combination yet, so we don’t know exactly how it may help with sleep disorders.
We do know, though, that melatonin can help reset your natural body clock, while CBD may help you feel calm and relaxed. The two together, therefore, may be just what you need.
If you’re still not sure which approach is best for you—CBD, melatonin, or a combination—consider these recommendations.
Take CBD Alone If:
- You feel anxious at night and can’t stop your racing thoughts
- You are on edge before going to bed
- You’ve had a stressful day and you can’t sleep
- You’re experiencing the occasional sleepless night
- You want to maintain healthy sleep cycles
Take Melatonin Alone If:
- You’re experiencing jet lag
- You do shift work and have to sleep at different times of the day
- You’re a night owl who has to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier for work or school
- You can take the melatonin 90-120 minutes before going to bed
- You need help for only a short period (doctors recommend limiting the use of melatonin)
Take CBD and Melatonin Together If:
- Either one alone is not working to help you sleep
- You’re experiencing jet lag and stress
- You’re a stressed-out shift worker
- You’re an anxious night owl who must change your sleep-wake schedule
While CBD, melatonin, or a combination of the two may be the solution you’ve been looking for to combat insomnia, it’s crucial that you discuss these supplements with your healthcare provider before taking them. Your provider can identify any potentially dangerous drug interactions or other risks based on any health conditions that you have. If your healthcare provider agrees that CBD and melatonin are safe for you to try, start with the lowest possible dose and inform your doctor right away if you experience any side effects.