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? Struggling to fall asleep? Studies are beginning to show that CBD oil could help to treat insomnia and help you enjoy deeper, more satisfying sleep. 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?
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.
How to Use CBD Oil For Better Sleep
Dealing with a sleepless night can be a frustrating experience. From affecting your energy levels and mood the next day to preventing you from reaching your full potential, going without sleep — even if it’s only for one night — can take a real toll on your health and wellbeing.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, lack of sleep due to insomnia is linked to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and forgetfulness. Failing to get sufficient sleep even has the potential to increase your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
Luckily, there are a range of options available for preventing insomnia and improving your sleep quality.
Over the last few years, CBD oil has emerged as an increasingly popular natural treatment for insomnia. Although studies are still in their early stages, there are promising signs that CBD is an effective treatment for improving and enhancing your sleep.
Below, we’ve looked at the science behind CBD’s potential benefits as a sleep aid and natural insomnia treatment. We’ve also explained how you can use CBD to improve your sleep if you currently find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or sleep deeply enough for optimal health.
Why Does Insomnia Happen?
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in the UK. According to data published in The Guardian in 2018, approximately 16% of all adults in the UK sleep for fewer than six hours per night.
A further 19% only sleep for six to seven hours — less than the seven to nine hours every night recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.
Although most people associate the term “insomnia” with an entire night spent awake, struggling to fall asleep, the reality is that insomnia can range from mild to severe. Signs of insomnia could include:
- Struggling to fall asleep for several hours after you get into bed
- Waking up in the middle of the night, then finding it hard to get back to sleep
- Frequently waking up during the night for short periods of time
- Relying on supplements or medication to fall and stay asleep
- Waking up early (for example, before sunrise) and struggling to sleep again
- Difficulty focusing and working productively due to poor quality sleep
Stress and Psychiatric Disorders
Insomnia can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common is stress. If you’re feeling overly stressed due to your work, your personal life or anything else that’s currently affecting you, there is a real risk that it could affect your ability to sleep properly.
Other potential causes of insomnia include anxiety and depression. Often, insomnia that stems from these conditions can compound their effects, creating a cycle in which your depression or anxiety symptoms become more severe, further affecting your sleep quality.
Physical Health Conditions
Certain aspects of your physical health can also affect your ability to fall asleep. If you have a medical condition such as chronic pain, difficulty breathing, heartburn or anything that affects your level of comfort in bed, it could also affect your ability to sleep properly.
Certain cardiovascular conditions can also affect your ability to sleep, or cause you to wake up frequently during the night.
Habits, Diet and Lifestyle Factors
It’s common for your habits to affect your ability to fall asleep. For example, if you drink a lot of caffeinated beverages such as coffee or energy drinks during the afternoon and evening, these could prevent you from falling asleep later in the night.
Other habits that can affect your sleep quality include drinking too much alcohol, napping during the day, eating large quantities of food shortly before you go to sleep, neglecting to exercise and exposing yourself to sources of bright light in the evening and night.
If you currently use prescription medications, there’s a risk that they could negatively affect your sleep quality. For example, many commonly prescribed thyroid medications, ADHD medications, thyroid medications and pain relievers can affect your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Certain supplements, such as herbal weight loss capsules and pre-workout stimulants, can also affect your sleep cycle and make falling asleep more difficult than normal.
How CBD May Help to Improve Sleep
Most of the time, doctors prescribe medications like benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like “Z-drugs” to treat insomnia. You might have heard of these drugs under brand names such as Valium (diazepam), Ambien (zolpidem) and zopiclone.
These drugs are extremely widely used in the UK. According to a 2012 article in The Guardian, more than 15 million prescriptions were written for sleeping pills in 2011. The author noted that sleeping pills were, to a certain extent, Britain’s “hidden addiction.”
Not only are many widely-used sleeping pills potentially addictive — they also have the potential to be harmful. Drugs like Valium are linked to side effects such as dependence, with people who use them often experiencing dangerous withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop.
They’re also relatively poor as treatments for insomnia, with treatments like Valium often helping people to fall asleep, yet preventing them from experiencing the REM sleep that’s important for optimal recovery and cognitive function.
Because of this, a growing number of people with sleep disorders are instead turning to natural treatments for their insomnia. Enter CBD.
Like many other potential benefits of CBD, research into CBD’s effects on sleep conditions such as insomnia is still in its early stages. However, the existing data suggests that CBD could be an extremely helpful, safe treatment for preventing insomnia and improving sleep quality.
For example, a 2014 study into cannabidiol (CBD) found that it reduces the frequency of events related to RBD, or REM sleep behaviour disorder, in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The four people given CBD during the study all showed measurable, substantial improvements.
The researchers further described CBD’s effects and concluded that CBD is “able to control the symptoms of RBD.”
A review from 2017 had similar findings. The researchers noted that preliminary research into CBD “may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia” and that it may treat REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Like many other scientific reviews of CBD, the researchers stated that the current data on the effects of cannabidiol and sleep is “in its infancy” and that additional research is required.
In short, while the research into CBD and sleep isn’t yet conclusive, it does show positive signs that CBD could be helpful for preventing insomnia and improving sleep quality in people prone to sleep disorders.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
CBD is available in a variety of forms, making it easy to use before bed to help you fall and stay asleep. However, there are a few things to be aware of if you want to use CBD for better sleep, but have never used it before.
First, not everyone has the same tolerance to CBD. This means that a mild dose of CBD for one person could be a significant dose for another. When you’re just starting with CBD, you’ll get the best results by choosing a relatively mild dose.
Second, CBD comes in a variety of forms. Depending on the product you buy, your CBD could be isolate, broad spectrum or full spectrum. We’ve covered the key differences between these forms of CBD here.
Using CBD for sleep is a simple process. We’ve explained the basics below for the most widely used forms of CBD, from sublingual CBD tinctures to vape oils (e-liquids), edibles, capsules and more.
CBD tinctures are designed for sublingual (under the tongue) use. CBD in this form takes about 20 minutes to start working, meaning you should use it about half an hour before you go to bed in order to improve your sleep.
We stock a diverse range of CBD tinctures. If you’re using CBD for the first time, it’s best to start by using the lowest dose recommended on your product’s packaging.
CBD Vape Oil (CBD E-Liquid)
CBD vape oil, or e-liquid, is designed for use with a vaporiser. Inhaling CBD as vapour allows it to enter your bloodstream and take effect relatively quickly. If you prefer to vape your CBD, you can do so about five to 10 minutes before you go to bed for optimal effects.
You can find a range of CBD e-liquids in our shop. Just like with CBD tinctures, make sure you follow the instructions provided on the product’s packaging.
CBD capsules allow you to consume CBD like you would a capsule-based supplement, making the process more convenient.
This form of CBD needs to pass through your digestive system and liver before it makes its way into your bloodstream. For optimal results, it’s best to use CBD capsules about one hour before you plan to go to sleep.
We stock CBD capsules in our shop. As always, make sure you follow the instructions provided with the capsules for the best results.
CBD can also be applied topically using CBD moisturisers, body salves and serums. This form of CBD is absorbed dermally (through the skin). Since this method of ingesting CBD isn’t very efficient, it’s best to apply any topical CBD products at least one hour before you sleep.
You can view our range of topical CBD products here. As with any other form of CBD, follow the instructions provided on the product’s packaging for optimal results.
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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