What are the sleep benefits of CBD? Discover more about the science behind it, how to use it and how to choose the right CBD product. From ashwagandha to 5-HTP, there has been a significant increase in the range of sleep supplements in the UK lately. Given the range of options available, we wanted to break down the best options for CBD oil for sleep. But of course, to accurately compare these products and their results, you first need to understand the basics – such as how does CBD oil work for sleep? We realise some people might even be new to the idea of using CBD oil to improve sleep, so what is this all about? Cannabidoil has a number of health benefits, including easing anxiety, pain and stress symptoms – but can CBD oil be used to treat insomnia and help with sleep?
Can CBD really help you sleep better?
I love getting comfy and feeling myself drifting off; I love dreaming; and, most of all, I love waking up, no alarm clocks in earshot, feeling completely rested.
However, as with most love stories, loving sleep doesn’t equate to having a successful relationship with it – in fact, it’s something I really struggle with.
A few months ago I had a week of such bad sleep that I felt like crying everytime I woke up: enough was enough, I thought, and it was time to make a change.
I’d heard a lot about how CBD can help you not just get to sleep, but have a better quality sleep, but I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick, so I decided to try it out for myself.
CBD is cannabidiol, one of over 110 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids which are found in the cannabis plant – and it’s everywhere right now.
The CBD market has boomed exponentially over the last few years, expected to be worth £1billion by 2025, and is used most commonly for anxiety, sports recovery, neurological disorders like epilepsy, chronic pain and, of course, sleep.
What does the science say about CBD oil and sleep?
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and leading expert in the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids including CBD. She runs a CBD clinic and consults and collaborates with CBD brand FourFive.
She tells Metro.co.uk that, although the human studies around sleep and CBD are only small scale (around 70 to 80 people), many show that people’s sleep improved within the first month of taking CBD.
‘Not only that, but they felt better in the morning as well,’ she says. ‘I think it’s quite important with sleep to look at both how much sleep we’re getting and also, the quality of it.’
According to Elisabeth, there are a number of hypotheses for why CBD seems to work.
The first is that it simply makes us feel more relaxed: ‘There are studies that show CBD can reduce anxiety and help us feel more relaxed,’ says Elisabeth, which is what ultimately helps some people deal with that whirring mind I mentioned earlier.
Another theory is that it helps with chronic pain and, since pain is more heightened at night, the pain relief may help with insomnia.
These are both ‘indirect effects’ that, in turn, help us sleep better, Elisabeth says.
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However, a third theory – and one that doesn’t have enough solid research into it yet – is that CBD actually changes our sleep architecture.
This is down to the way CBD reacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a biological network of receptors and proteins that run through the body, such as in the brain, spine, guts, kidneys and lungs.
‘Our body already has cannabinoids,’ explains Elisabeth. ‘CBD helps to activate and raise the level of these cannabinoids and helps activate the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate most bodily functions.’
According to Elisabeth, the research is expected to show, in just a few years from now, that CBD is actually working in the endocannabinoid system in the brain to improve and support sleep architecture, therefore improving the quality of our sleep.
How to use CBD for sleep
Other than inhaling (or vaping) CBD, the best way to consume it is under the tongue, says Elisabeth.
Drop the oil (you can also find spray bottles) under your tongue and hold it there for one to two minutes before swallowing.
Elisabeth advises doing this around 20 minutes before or after eating and drinking, to ensure you’re not washing it away.
If you’re using CBD predominantly to help you sleep, taking a few drops around 20 minutes before bed is usually the best way to go.
Elisabeth adds that, if your sleeplessness is a symptom of anxiety, taking CBD throughout the day to calm your nerves might also benefit your sleep.
Also, if you wake up throughout the night, you can also take a few drops to either help you get back to sleep or at least make you feel less worried about the fact that you’ve woken up in the middle of the night.
Elisabeth lives by the mantra “start low and go slow,” so it’s a good idea to start with one drop at a time and gradually build it up over the days or week.
I tried taking CBD every night before bed for a month
Studies show that people using CBD notice the sleep benefits in the space of a month, so I thought that would be the perfect time to try out a product.
Starting with one drop per night and gradually building my way up to three or four, I placed the oil under my tongue using the pipette (you can also get spray bottles from other brands), around an hour to twenty minutes before I wanted to sleep.
Anecdotally speaking, from her experience running a CBD clinic, Elisabeth says most people are likely to notice an improvement in their sleep after just a few days – this was absolutely my experience.
Week 1: The first week I started taking CBD was admittedly rocky.
I had already been struggling with my sleep for a while and still found myself waking up a few hours too early and unable to go back to sleep.
That being said, actually falling to sleep in the first place was much easier as I felt calmer and much more relaxed.
Week 2: My second week taking CBD I had really started to notice a difference.
Although I would still occasionally wake up throughout the night, I didn’t struggle with getting back to sleep, and I would wake up feeling rested.
Weeks 3 and 4: The last two weeks of my experiment were definitely where the magic happened.
I was no longer worried that I wouldn’t be getting good quality sleep.
Most nights, I would fall asleep upon my head hitting the pillow and wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
If I did wake up, it was only ever to use the toilet, and I would be back to sleep within minutes – something I had always struggled with.
By this point, I’d become one of those irritating CBD converts, raving about it to anyone who would listen.
When my first bottle of CBD oil ran out around the one month mark, safe to say I cracked open another without a second thought.
How to choose a CBD product for you
Like I mentioned earlier, CBD is everywhere and, as Elisabeth puts it, can be quite a “minefield”.
However, when choosing a CBD brand, it’s important to look out for a reputable brand that will be able to show you a certificate of analysis.
‘This shows exactly what is in the product,’ says Elisabeth – and the CBD market isn’t short of fraudsters, so do your research.
You can get bottles with a higher concentrate (usually up to 2000mg) or a lower concentrate (around 500mg).
The main difference between these products is that you’ll need to take more drops of a lower dose to feel the same effect.
So, while higher doses are more expensive, they usually last longer, so the cost balances out overall.
It’s likely a good idea to choose a lower dose for your first bottle – that way, if you’re not a fan, it’s not too much money lost.
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The verdict: Can CBD help improve sleep?
I was pretty sceptical when I decided to give this a go, given that most wellness products are gimmicks, but my sleep improved pretty much instantly and I haven’t looked back.
While research is still lagging, I truly believe CBD has changed my sleep – and my life — for the better.
Do you have a story to share?
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Best CBD Oils for Sleep UK (2022)
From ashwagandha to 5-HTP, there has been a significant increase in the range of sleep supplements in the UK lately.
Given the range of options available, we wanted to break down the best options for CBD oil for sleep.
But of course, to accurately compare these products and their results, you first need to understand the basics – such as how does CBD oil work for sleep?
We realise some people might even be new to the idea of using CBD oil to improve sleep, so what is this all about?
What is CBD?
CBD is a health supplement taken from the hemp plant. For decades, research into this supplement was halted due to the legal issues around cannabis.
However, as cannabis laws have slowly relaxed around the world, CBD is becoming more and more popular as a supplemen t with a myriad of benefits – one of which is improved sleep and a reduction of insomnia symptoms.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an organic compound found in hemp and cannabis plants. You are likely aware of THC, the most famous compound from the cannabis plant. This is the (mostly) illegal substance that gets people “high” and the ingredient for which recreational users smoke cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand, has no psychoactive effects or risk of addiction, making it relatively harmless in comparison.
Is CBD Legal?
While CBD has previously been illegal in the UK as part of a blanket ban on cannabis as a whole, it is now fully legal. THC remains illegal due to its potential for abuse but CBD alone can be used legally in health supplements, skincare products etc.
However, most drug tests that check for cannabis do so by detecting the presence of THC. Due to this, CBD products that contain THC do pose a risk of failing such a drug test. As such, full spectrum CBD products or any that contain notable amounts of THC should be avoided by lorry drivers, people who operate heavy machinery, or anybody who is likely to be drug tested regularly.
CBD itself does not show up on drug tests, does not make you drowsy and holds no serious potential for abuse or addiction, and so CBD products with negligible or zero THC content are risk free.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
Taking too much CBD can cause mild side effects such as:
However, these side effects are very rare and often require a huge dose. In general, CBD is as low in side effects as other herbal supplements such as chamomile or lavender. As long as you use high quality CBD products with quality ingredients such as those listed in this article, there is nothing to worry about.
Can CBD Help With Sleep?
CBD has become very popular as a sleep supplement as well as to reduce symptoms of related complaints such as anxiety.
A 2019 study found that when test subjects were given 25mg of CBD per day, 66% of them saw improvements in sleep.
Another study concluded that 160mg of CBD provided clear additional sleep benefits over placebo.
While studies are still in their early stages compared to other supplements due to the previous legal issues around CBD, the existing studies are almost entirely positive so far and there is a strong suggestion that CBD can help reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and cause a mild sedative effect that can help reduce stress, anxiety, encourage relaxation and help with a good night’s sleep.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?
Since hemp contains both CBD and THC in varying concentrations, the way CBD oil is prepared is extremely important and can dramatically change the quality of the end product.
Beyond THC and CBD, hemp contains over 100 other lesser known cannabinoids, many of which hold their own benefits. These cannabinoids have also been found to work together to increase the results experienced from taking CBD in something known as ‘the entourage effect’.
Pure CBD that has all other cannabinoids removed is known as CBD isolate. This is generally the worst way to take CBD for health benefits as it throws the entourage effect out the window.
An unchanged hemp extract that contains all of the same natural ingredients in the same ratios as the plant itself is known as full spectrum CBD. This is much better than CBD isolate as it benefits from the entourage effect, but it also usually contains THC, making it potentially cause similar side effects to cannabis. There is also a risk that taking full spectrum CBD can cause you to fail a drug test. Most full spectrum CBD products are illegal in the UK due to the THC content.
As a result, the best way to take CBD for sleep (or any other health benefit unless advised otherwise by a doctor) is to take broad spectrum CBD. This has THC removed (or less than 0.2% THC content), but with all of the other cannabinoids remaining in their natural quantities – allowing you to experience the full benefit of the entourage effect without any potential side effects or legal risks.
Unfortunately regulations are still premature enough that many of the CBD oil products for sleep in the UK use low quality ingredients, very low doses, CBD isolate alone, or in some cases no CBD at all.
Fortunately for you, you’ve done the research so you don’t need to, and here are our picks for the top CBD oils for sleep in the UK:
The Best CBD Oils for Sleep
1: Evopure Sleep Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
Evopure is a UK based CBD startup that has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. From a product perspective they have done everything right – their CBD oil is broad spectrum and high quality from EU hemp farms, they make use of sustainable farming practices and offer independent testing results for each batch letting you see exactly what your bottle contains.
Add to this a no-GMO rule, fully organic ingredients and a 30 day guarantee and it’s pretty hard to find fault with Evopure.
But they’ve gone a further step and made a sleep specific product which combines the benefits of broad spectrum CBD oil with additional ingredients to help you switch off.
These additional ingredients include passiflora extract ( proven to help support sleep ) and a custom-sleep focused blend of terpenes and flavonoids.
While they do offer a full range of products including hemp tea, pure CBD oil and CBD capsules, their sleep broad spectrum CBD oil is the best CBD product in the UK for sleep or insomnia, without question.
2: Love Hemp CBD Liquid Oral Drops 10,000mg CBD
At almost 7 times the price of our #1 pick, Love Hemp’s broad spectrum CBD oil is likely not for newcomers or the budget conscious.
However, for those CBD enthusiasts who are willing to push the boat out a little – it certainly earns its place on this list with a whopping 10x the CBD content of Evopure’s sleep CBD oil.
Made primarily from hemp extract and MCT oil with little in the way of additional ingredients to boost results, Love Hemp’s option is still an amazing choice for those who want to take a large dose of high quality broad spectrum CBD, quickly.
Testing has found positive results on sleep from as little as 25mg of CBD, meaning this won’t be necessary for the vast majority of people – but if you find your tolerance has risen after using CBD for a long time (or a history of cannabis use) and that you need very large doses to experience the results you’re looking for – Love Hemp is the only realistic solution for getting a massive hit of CBD in a single drop.
3: OTO CBD Pillow Spray
Unlike our two higher ranked products, this one isn’t an oral supplement. However, it’s a powerful pillow mist containing 2400mg of broad spectrum CBD combined with lavender and chamomile extracts.
This makes it the perfect product for those who don’t like taking oral supplements before bed and/or dislike the natural earthy taste of pure CBD oil, but still want to experience the sleep benefits of CBD oil. It’s luxurious herbal scent will have you ready to doze off as soon as you smell it.
Studies show that inhaling CBD can be just as beneficial as taking it orally, although CBD isolate is much more bioavailable than most other cannabinoids meaning there is a chance the entourage effect will be reduced slightly by going this route. Even with that said, for people who don’t want to orally ingest CBD, there simply isn’t a better product around.
4: Apothem Lights Out Drops
Following in the footsteps of Evopure’s sleep oil, Apothem takes a high quality CBD oil for sleep and adds additional herbal sleep supplements to boost results. This time it’s lemon balm, 5-htp, L-theanine and chamomile. The product also comes in a delicious caramel and vanilla flavour.
At 3x the price of Evopure’s product for the same dose and with no sustainable farming practices mentioned on their website, it’s hard to rank this one higher – but it undoubtedly deserves it’s spot on our list, and if you have the extra cash to spend it’s a brilliant quality product that is made from 100% organic hemp extract.
It comes in a suitably premium feeling bottle and the wide range of sleep-inducing additional ingredients means you’re almost guaranteed to feel something, even if CBD isn’t quite your thing.
5: CBDistillery Relief + Relax CBD Oil
CBDistillery is a veteran of the CBD game and one of the first companies to show up back when CBD was just a niche topic being discussed online but mostly unknown to the general public.
Despite a huge range of competitors popping up since then, very few have overtaken CBDistillery and they remain an authority in the industry. You’ll be glad to know then, that they’ve recently launched their new Relief & Relax CBD oil.
The product misses out on the entourage effect by only including pure CBD, but makes up for this by offering 3 separate strengths to give you the exact dose you feel you need, making it a potential #1 option for people who are regularly drug tested.
CBDistillery hemp comes from a US non-GMO farm and while there is no mention of organic hemp on their site, in most other areas it can hold its own against the other products here and is one of the best CBD products available in the UK.
6: Kiara Naturals CBD Sleep and Relax Tincture
Kiara Naturals is a Swiss manufacturer known for potent CBD supplements. Their CBD oil is full spectrum but with the THC removed to less than 0.2% presence for the full entourage effect. Added ingredients include valerian root, hops and California poppy.
This is the only CBD product on our list that contains alcohol, which may be a no go for some but Kiara claims it helps to deliver the herbal remedies into the system more quickly.
Despite the alcohol question and the fact that Kiara’s CBD oil is one of the more expensive on the list, it’s high dose, added ingredients and typical Swiss high quality make sure it remains a great option for anybody looking to experience CBD’s benefits for sleep.
7: Holistic Hemp Scotland CBD Tincture Oil
Holistic Hemp is a small, family run business in Scotland. Their hemp plants are sourced from small farms all over Europe in an attempt to minimize their footprint on the environment and all hemp is certified organic.
They also take more care in the harvesting process than most, handpicking hemp flowers and extracting the CBD with minimal heat or pressure, which they claim results in a better quality CBD oil.
With only one choice of dosage which is the smallest on this list, and none of the added ingredients included in our higher ranked products, this is a no frills option for CBD oil for sleep – but it’s a high quality and trustworthy one that puts nature first, and that’s hard to argue with!
8: Vibes CBD Oil
Vibes delivers a premium quality CBD oil that has won a lot of industry awards, and what really makes it stand out amongst the rest of this list is the delicious mixed fruit flavour. The hemp used is 100% organic, non-GMO, and lab tested regularly
The CBD is broad spectrum and while the starting price is high, the dose is too so there are no issues with value.
Without any additional beneficial ingredients and no sustainable policies mentioned on their website, you will likely get better results and less guilt from something like Evopure – but if you aren’t a fan of the natural herbal taste that product provides, this is a perfect solution.
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CBD oil for sleep: what you need to know
We speak to Dr Sarah Brewer about the benefits and potential risks factors associated with using cannabidiol for insomnia treatment.
If you suffer from insomnia or have trouble getting to sleep from time to time, you might be considering turning to CBD oil for help.
Cannabidoil, more commonly known as CBD, has been associated with a number of health benefits, including easing symptoms of anxiety, pain and stress. But is CBD oil an effective treatment for insomnia or will it keep you awake?
We speak to Healthspan Medical Director Dr Sarah Brewer about using CBD oil as a natural sleep remedy:
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia affects millions of people in the UK and is most commonly caused by stress, anxiety or depression.
Worry-related sleep problems have been on the rise during lockdown, with more than half of Britons saying they have experienced more disturbed sleep than usual.
Can CBD oil help to improve sleep?
While further scientific research is needed on this topic, preliminary studies have suggested CBD oil may be an effective natural remedy for insomnia sufferers, thanks to the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
‘Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular treatment for insomnia, and promotes refreshing REM sleep to reduced excessive daytime sleepiness,’ says Dr Brewer. ‘CBD is proven to be particularly helpful for sleep disorders in people with neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.’
‘A review of preliminary research found that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia and may hold promise for REM sleep behaviour disorder,’ Dr Brewer adds.
How does CBD oil for sleep work?
While you might associate cannabis with feeling relaxed and sleepy, using CBD oil to treat sleep disorders is slightly more complex than simply making you feel drowsy. Ironically, CBD oil can make you feel more alert. So how does it work as a treatment for sleep disorders?
‘It is particularly helpful for people whose sleep problems are due to anxiety,’ explains Dr Brewer. ‘A recent review of 72 adults with anxiety or poor sleep found that anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 79.2 per cent and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores also improved within the first month in 66.7 per cent and it was well tolerated.’
Similarly, one of the other major factors associated with insomnia is stress, but research has shown that CBD oil can improve your stress response, which can in turn help you to relax.
‘Anecdotally, ever since I started taking CBD at night I have enjoyed really deep sleep and also feel more relaxed,’ says Dr Brewer.