A Foundation for Healing: Sleep & CBD

Sleep is not a “Pillar of Health”. It’s the foundation. 

One third of our lives is devoted to sleep. Not eating. Not exercise. Just… sleep. 

Some would argue that there are three pillars of health: exercise, good nutrition, and sleep. About the Healthy Sleep Web Site | Healthy Sleep (harvard.edu) But there are many who would argue that sleep is NOT just a pillar of health, it’s a foundation.  

The difference in those two ideas informs people how important sleep is. As a pillar, we can think about sleep and its importance similar to food and exercise: It’s important.  

But understanding sleep as a basis to health means that it is actually the most important of those three contributors to health, more so than nutrition or exercise. It’s the support for nutrition and exercise. It’s a foundation to our health. 

Sleep supports brain health and lack of sleep is linked to chronic diseases. 

As we learn more about sleep, we understand just how sleep supports healthy nutrition and healthy muscle and bone development. It also promotes healthy brain functioning: memory and cognition. In fact, brain health is dependent upon good sleep. There is a strong correlation between behavioral disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia and sleep disturbances. 

There are multiple “stages” of sleep and sometimes people simply don’t spend enough time in crucial stages: 

“Stage 3 is the deepest part of NREM sleep. In this stage, your muscles and body relax even more, and brain waves show a clear pattern of slowed activity that is markedly different from waking brain activity. It is believed that deep sleep plays an important role in recuperation of the body as well as effective thinking and memory.” How Sleep Works: Understanding the Science of Sleep | Sleep Foundation 

Further, we know that inadequate sleep has been linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression (Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI, NIH) 

In the US, we have millions who struggle with getting adequate sleep. 

Unfortunately, about 50-70 million Americans have chronic (ongoing) sleep disorders and a full 40% of the adult population of the US reports inadvertently falling asleep during the day at least once a month. And up to 19% report not getting enough rest every day (Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI, NIH) 

Our understanding of how best to get a good night of sleep is improving.  

Included in standard recommendations for sleep hygiene (the tips that are commonly given to help improve sleep) are the following recommendations (Sleep: The foundation for healthy habits - Mayo Clinic) and some additional ones that are supported by current research: 

  1. Set a sleep goal of at least 7 hours.  Sleep can help boost your motivation and willpower, making it easier to fend off temptations. 
  2. Establish a regular bedtime and honor it.  
  3. Eat healthier foods. Limit or eliminate sugar foods especially in the evening. Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause you to waken with hunger. 
  4. Ease into sleep. Setting aside a little time before bed for relaxation can help you transition into sleep. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, gentle stretching or guided imagery to help focus your attention away from worries and into the present. If your busy mind keeps you awake, jot down your thoughts in a journal or on a pad of paper by your bed. 
  5. Eliminate screen time one hour before bedtime. Choose “calming” thoughts, activities, and lower your surrounding stimulus (turn off lights, turn down or eliminate noises, prepare your mind for rest). 
  6. Limit or eliminate caffeine in the afternoon. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and it can greatly affect their restfulness in the evening. 
  7. If you wake to an alarm clock and are especially groggy, try adjusting it five minutes earlier and test that time for a few days. You may find that waking earlier can “time” your natural cycle to awaken feeling more refreshed. 
  8. Eliminate alcohol. Alcohol can cause hormone fluctuations that exacerbate hot flashes in women and can make sleep less restful. 
  9. Drink most of your water during the day. Some people waken to empty their bladders. If you drink fewer glasses of water toward the end of the night, you might be more likely to make it through the night without needing to use the restroom. 

                  But good sleep can be elusive: What if you do shift work? 

                  Sleep is actually an “all day” concept. No. We don’t sleep all day. But what we do all day impacts the sleep we get at night.  

                  Drinking or eating caffeine (sorry, that chocolate has bliss molecules… and it has caffeine) to using highly brain-engaging electronics (video games, blue screen phones and computers, and watching TV), and to leading stress-filled lives, our world is often NOT designed for good sleep. 

                  If you do shift work or are on call or have small children who are learning to establish sleep habits themselves… you might be one of the millions who doesn’t get a good night sleep, regularly. What’s more, getting a good night of sleep improves your odds of getting another good night of sleep. 

                  Not getting a good night of sleep can lead to more sleeplessness. It’s a vicious cycle. 

                  What can CBD do for Sleep? 

                  CBD does SO MANY GOOD THINGS for the body and as a cascade of goodness, it domino-effects itself into benefiting your sleep (one good thing leads to another). Here are some of the sleep benefits from CBD: 

                  #1 - CBD lowers cortisol.  

                  Lowering cortisol reduces stress. All day. Cortisol. That hormone that we need to go hunt down food? We don’t need it so much because for many of us, food is stored readily in our pantries. Yet we have cortisol to burn. Instead of burning it, we eat, retain fat (one of the benefits of unused cortisol) and also get “amped-up” on adrenaline which causes our bodies early-morning stress. This all happens on waking. In adults, cortisol is highest in the morning (it’s the opposite for children – hence why little kids are amped-up at night and ready to run circles when they should be going to bed, also why they often are hungriest at night).

                  #2 - CBD helps promote the production of serotonin and endorphins.  

                  That means happier and more relaxed with less pain. Less pain and more relaxed means less stress hormones. It’s a bit circular. Less stress… equals less stress! All day!

                  #3 - CBD helps your body lower inflammation.  

                  Lower inflammation means lower pain means lower stress which helps your body to run more efficiently and concentrate on the “good” things it needs to do rather than to survive constantly in a stressed-out-trauma-state.

                  Research shows using CBD can help improve restful sleep. 

                  All of these mean that at the end of the day… CBD helps your body remain relaxed and primed for sleep. 

                  Some people report that CBD alone helps them to get better sleep. Some people use CBD combined with Melatonin. Some have turned to CBN which is another cannabinoid that helps promote DEEP SLEEP – the third stage of sleep that is most helpful to the brain and rebuilding the body. 

                  Because of the cyclical nature of sleep – Good sleep promotes good sleep and poor sleep promotes sleeplessness – CBD can be a good tool to insert into your sleep routine to help promote a good night of sleep. 

                  Used repetitively, it does NOT have the negative consequence of being addictive like other sleep aids. It also does not interfere with other supplements. It is a safe and effective tool to help promote a good night of sleep. 

                  It’s one of the reasons why we created products to help people improve their quality of life. We understand that sleep is a foundation to our health. 

                  Feel Better. Do Better. Be Better.