Sleep is a vital component of our overall health and well-being and as important as eating, drinking or breathing. It enables our bodies to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Consequently, sleep plays an essential role in maintaining good mental and physical health.

Even a single night of disrupted sleep can affect our mood and alertness.  David Ray of Oxford University says that going 18 hours without sleep is comparable to having blood alcohol levels of 0.1% – the equivalent of being too intoxicated to drive.

We all know that we feel better after a good night’s sleep but here are three reasons to remind us why sleep really is important.

Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are known risk factors for heart disease and strokes.  When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert and this causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke and increased stress hormones raise the level of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as we age.

Sleep Improves Your Memory

Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation. – the process of preserving key memories and discarding excessive information.  During the early stages of sleep, the brain sorts through your various memories from the previous day, filtering out important memories and eliminating other information. These selected memories become more concrete as deep sleep begins. Emotional memories are also processed in the REM stage, your deepest sleep, which can help you cope with difficult experiences.  Deep sleep is an important time for your brain to make memories and links and so getting more quality sleep may help you remember and process things better.  Difficulty remembering things is a common symptom of sleep deprivation.

Sleep could Help You Lose Weight

People who sleep for only a few hours per night have a higher probability of being overweight or obese.  A study by Kaiser Permanente showed that people who had less than six hours sleep were less likely to achieve weight loss than those who had between six and eight hours. High stress levels also affected weight loss with stressed people being about half as likely to be successful at weight loss.  And quite apart from the science, when you’re short of sleep, it’s easy to be tempted to skip exercise (as you’re too tired), get a takeaway for dinner and then go to bed late because you’re uncomfortably full.  Sound familiar?

Can CBD help?

You’re probably wondering when we will get onto the topic of CBD.  Research into CBD’s effects on sleep is still in its early stages but what we know so far suggests that CBD could be an extremely helpful treatment to improve sleep quality.  However, unlike other sleep aids, CBD is not a sedative (so won’t leave you feeling groggy in the morning) but instead it tackles the root cause of insomnia.

Factors like stress, anxiety and depression may contribute to troubled sleeping habits. CBD is known to have properties that help manage these symptoms which in turn allows you to relax so that your natural sleep mechanism can take over. There is clinical research published in Colorado which reviewed the effect on patients who received CBD to help with anxiety and sleep complaints. Within the first 30 days of CBD use, anxiety decreased in nearly 80% of patients and sleep scores improved by nearly 70%. 

Our bodies produce their own cannabinoids, as part of what is known as the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in regulating many physiological processes, including mood, pain perception, appetite and cognitive functions. Research is ongoing but what we know is that CBD interacts in part with the body’s endocannabinoid system and its receptors.  These interactions create changes in the activity of neurotransmitters, hormones and other cells throughout the brain and body. Through these interactions, CBD appears to be able to affect many of the body’s functions, for example, from sleep-wake cycles and emotional regulation to inflammation and pain perception.

So there you have it.  Sleep is essential for everyone, affecting many critical bodily needs, so if CBD can help you get a better night’s sleep then maybe CBD should be part of your health and wellness routine.  Try some CBD oil around 30 minutes before bedtime and see for yourself if that improves your sleep.