Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges facing many Americans. Whether you’re working two (or even three) jobs, juggling work and school, caring for a busy household full of kids, or enduring a long commute, sleep seems to take a backseat when there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
When you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, the sleep deprivation just gets worse. You start to accumulate a sleep debt, and paying it back isn’t as simple as sleeping in on the weekend or taking a sick day to “crash.”
Your body is designed to get itself ready to fall asleep and ready to wake up naturally, in tune with the circadian rhythm. However, in today’s busy environments where something can be going on 24/7, it’s no wonder human bodies get confused about where in the cycle they are supposed to be at any given time.
Melatonin is a hormone that your pineal gland (a tiny, pea-sized gland buried in the center of your brain) produces. Melatonin can also be found in the eyes, bone marrow, and gut.
How melatonin works
Most people call melatonin the “sleep hormone”, as rising levels signal that it’s time for rest and help regulate the body’s ability to slow down and fall asleep. Melatonin levels typically start to rise at night as it gets dark.
Some people don’t make enough melatonin, or don’t make melatonin at the time in their schedule allotted for sleeping. When the internal clock gets confused, it can lead to lasting insomnia, inability to fall asleep, inability to stay asleep, and inability to enter deep sleep.
Decreases in melatonin levels at night have been associated with alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, smoking, shift work, aging, certain medications, and exposure to excessive light – including blue light – at night.
Taking extra melatonin often helps people counter low levels and normalize their internal clock. Many people take synthetic melatonin supplements, which are considered generally safe (some exceptions apply, so check with your doctor before starting any new supplement).
Melatonin supplements usually don’t “knock you out” like heavy prescription sleep medicine or muscle relaxers will. They also typically won’t leave you feeling overly groggy when you wake up.
People who seek out melatonin supplements include:
- Persons with insomnia
- Travelers who suffer from jet lag
- Individuals who work night shift or swing shifts
- Anyone with sleep pattern disruption
- Older people whose bodies simply don’t make that much melatonin any more
- “Night owls” whose bodies operate with a slightly different circadian rhythm
Interestingly, melatonin has the capability to bind to receptors in your brain to reduce nerve activity, lower dopamine levels, and help you relax and feel less anxious. All of these can have the side benefit of aiding in falling asleep.
Taking melatonin before bed has been connected to decreased sleep latency – the time it takes to fall asleep after lying down – and increased sleep duration. Quality of sleep seems to be better for people who take melatonin as well.
People with specific sleep disorders have benefitted from melatonin usage, studies show. Sleep disturbances are greatly reduced, and patients studied were able to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and enjoy more restful sleep with fewer interruptions.
In addition, melatonin has been shown to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and is connected to the processes that regulate body temperature, blood pressure, and blood glucose. Melatonin levels can also affect metabolism and body weight as well as impact levels of other hormones.
Before trying melatonin, most medical professionals recommend looking at your body’s circadian rhythm as a whole and identifying factors that may be interfering with natural melatonin production.
If alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption are under control and kept away from bedtime, exposure to light and electronic devices before bed is limited, and an attempt is being made to establish and maintain a regular sleep schedule, but sleep still eludes you, it may be time to try melatonin.
Many people use melatonin in tandem with another holistic therapeutic option: CBD. CBD has many similar effects to natural and synthetic melatonin, and the two compounds work well together in many cases.
While melatonin is a hormone, CBD is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that can be made naturally by the body (endocannabinoids) or by plants (phytocannabinoids).
Endocannabinoids are designed to work with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. They bind with receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems to help regulate many bodily functions, such as temperature, appetite, mood, and sleep.
Phytocannabinoids don’t interact directly with receptors in most cases, but they do slide into the DMs of your ECS and help your natural endocannabinoids last longer and work more effectively. So, if you’re having issues with mood or sleep, cannabinoids like CBD may be able to help.
CBD is just one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in the common Cannabis sativa plant. For hundreds of years, people have used these plants as part of their holistic therapies. Unfortunately, in the United States cannabis was illegal for many years due to the presence of another common cannabinoid: THC.
THC is what is known as a psychoactive compound, meaning it binds to central nervous system receptors and causes altered perception. People who get THC in their bloodstream often exhibit signs of being high such as euphoria or paranoia.
In order to make CBD legal while still keeping THC illegal, in 2018 the U.S. government reclassified C. sativa plants with low amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD as “industrial hemp ”and designated it as legal at federal level.
As long as a plant has less than the legal limit of 0.3% THC -what is know as a trace amount – it’s hemp and thus legal. All other cannibis plants are classified as marijuana due to their THC content and are still illegal at federal level.
CBD has been shown to be extremely helpful for modulating sleep cycles due to its effects on various issues that negatively impact sleep.
Increase REM sleep
Rapid eye movement or REM sleep is the most restorative part of the sleep cycle. Many people with sleep issues can’t fall into REM sleep with ease and also can’t stay there for extended periods of time. This leads to sleep deprivation even if you are “sleeping” at night.
CBD has been shown to increase REm sleep as well as sleep duration. This alone could be one reason you’d choose to try CBD as a natural sleep aid to help you catch up on sleep and maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Reduce anxiety and stress
When taken regularly in small doses, CBD may help reduce or relieve anxiety according to multiple studies of groups of people with both generalized anxiety disorder and specific types of anxiety. In one study, 80% said taking CBD helped reduce their anxiety.
Since anxiety or stress are often cited as reasons people can’t get to sleep, reducing those levels could well lead to a calmer evening and an easier time drifting off to sleep without tossing and turning due to worries running through the brain.
It’s thought that the reason CBD has a positive calming effect is because it positively impacts serotonin levels. Since low serotonin is linked to depression and anxiety, taking CBD for anti-anxiety and calming benefits makes sense.
Many people have trouble sleeping at night because of pain or other sensations that make them uncomfortable. This can range from the constant pain of arthritis, to the burning or stinging of neuropathy, to the continual urge to shift one’s legs, which is caused by restless leg syndrome.
CBD can help dampen frequent nerve impulses sent to the brain to signal discomfort. By keeping those pathways from becoming so heavily traveled, CBD can mitigate discomfort. It won’t cure whatever is causing the sensations of pain or restlessness, but it can help desensitize the brain from the constant bombardment of signals.
Additional wellness benefits
People who take CBD for unrelated reasons often report that their sleep is significantly improved as well. Studies repeatedly show that even when better sleep isn’t the goal of taking CBD, it is often a much appreciated side result.
For example, 65% of patients taking CBD for anxiety in one study found they had better sleep. This isn’t really surprising since their anxiety was probably affecting their sleep and they hadn’t even realized it.
In the same vein, patients who were prescribed CBD for pain in several research studies consistently listed improved sleep as a change they noticed during the period of the study they participated in. Since pain can cause sleeplessness or poor quality sleep, this is also no surprise.
CBD taken regularly as a sleep aid may be able to help you fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep longer with plenty of REM cycles to allow your brain to restore itself, and let you wake up each morning feeling more refreshed than ever, without the grogginess of pharmaceutical sleep aids.
Combining CBD and melatonin for sleep
As always, ask your doctor before taking either CBD or melatonin as part of your therapeutic approach to insomnia or other sleep disorders.
It’s been shown that combining melatonin and CBD can enhance the sleep benefits of each, providing a stronger effect then either one can have when taken alone. That’s why, at Yummy CBD, we’ve offer several products specifically to deliver better, longer sleep, using both CBD and melatonin.
Our range of products containing CBD and melatonin for sleep include both CBD oil tinctures and CBD gummies. Oil can be measured out using the supplied dropper and placed under the tongue to penetrate to the capillaries in the sublingual soft tissues. This gets the CBD into your system fast.
Our CBD gummies contain a little less CBD than the oil, so you can choose how many to take before bed and simply chew them. They are fruit flavored and will take just a little longer to get into your bloodstream by way of metabolizing through your digestive system.
Both the CBD oil and CBD gummies meant for sleep enhancement contain 1 mg of melatonin, either per gummy or per each mL dose of oil. Melatonin and CBD can work simultaneously to support better sleep.
As a general rule of thumb, take the sleep CBD oil about half an hour before bedtime or sleep CBD gummies an hour before bedtime. Then do your evening routine, such as getting dressed for bed, brushing your teeth, getting a glass of water, taking the dog for a walk, and turning down the bed.
It is also helpful to make sure the TV is off and your electronic devices such as phone and tablet are put away to reduce blue light. Consider reading a book or listening to music quietly to give your brain a chance to calm down and move on from the stimulation provided by the day’s events.
This will allow the melatonin and CBD to have a better effect, since your body won’t be fighting back against the calming effects of both compounds. Ideally, you’ll be able to relax and drift off to sleep, eventually sinking into REM sleep and getting a full night of peaceful, undisturbed rest.
Yummy CBD products containing CBD and melatonin for sleep
Our standard CBD products contain full spectrum CBD in a MCT coconut carrier oil or a fruit-flavored gummy. We also have a special line of CBD products with added melatonin to boost sleep benefits.
- Our Fruitful Dreams Sleep Gummies come in a 30-count bag, and each gummy has 24 mg of CBD as well as 1mg of melatonin per gummy.
- Our Mellow Mint Sleep CBD oil comes in a dark glass bottle with a dropper to measure your doses accurately. Each mL of oil has 67 mg of CBD plus 1 mg of melatonin.
Want more information about the use of CBD and melatonin for sleep? A good starting point is our helpful CBD Buyer’s Guide. Once you’re ready, you can head over to our SHOP page to check out our sleep line of CBD and melatonin products.