Sleep takes up a big part of our day and for good reason. A good night’s rest is essential to maintaining good physical and mental health. For those who struggle with their sleep hygiene, there are ample solutions out there that you can try, including supplements. Among two of the most popular sleep aids used today include melatonin and cannabidiol (CBD).
But when you’re striving for better sleep, which is better for you? Should you be taking melatonin or CBD? Let’s take a closer look at these two substances, what they have to offer, and which is best for your nighttime routine.
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What Is A Sleep Aid?
A sleep aid is essentially any product or practice employed to enhance sleep quality and tackle sleep disturbances. This broad categorization of sleep-related products includes everything from natural solutions and lifestyle modifications to over-the-counter drugs and calming relaxation techniques. Basically, if it can help you get to sleep, it’s a sleep aid.
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Why Are Sleep Aids Important?
Sleep plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. Here's why sleep aids are important.
- They Support Quality Sleep: Sleep aids help improve your sleep by enhancing sleep duration, depth, and quality.
- They Enhance Overall Health and Wellness: Adequate sleep is essential for physical health, immune function, cognitive performance, and emotional well-being.
- They Boost Energy and Productivity: A lack of sleep makes it difficult to stay alert and is detrimental to cognitive function. Quality sleep boosts energy levels, improves focus, and enhances productivity during waking hours.
- They Improve Mental Health: Sufficient sleep supports emotional stability, stress management, and mental resilience.
- They’re Necessary for Regular Recovery and Repair: During sleep, the body undergoes crucial processes like tissue repair, hormone regulation, and memory consolidation.
How Do Sleep Aids Work?
The specific workings of a sleep aid depend on the type or method used. That being said, there are some specific processes that sleep aids target to help you get a better night’s sleep. Here are a few common methods sleep aids leverage to help you drift off.
Regulating Sleep-Wake Cycle
Certain sleep aids, like melatonin, help regulate the body's internal clock, promoting a balanced sleep-wake cycle that makes it easier to fall asleep when you do lie down.
Sleep aids may induce relaxation by reducing anxiety, calming the mind, and easing the transition into sleep.
Enhancing Sleep Quality
Some sleep aids target specific sleep stages, such as deep sleep or REM sleep, to optimize the overall sleep experience.
Addressing Underlying Issues
Some sleep aids can target underlying factors like pain, discomfort, or environmental disturbances that may disrupt sleep, allowing you to rest without these various factors coming into play.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a compound derived from the hemp plant. It is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis, but unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not produce psychoactive effects. CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including sleep.
Here are some key points about CBD to know.
- CBD is commonly extracted from hemp plants due to its low THC content.
- It is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, gummies, and topical creams.
- CBD is believed to have potential benefits for sleep, nervousness, and discomfort.
- While research on CBD's effects on sleep is still limited, it may have the potential to improve sleep quality.
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What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening and decrease in the morning, promoting a regular sleep pattern.
Here are some key points about melatonin:
- Melatonin is available as a supplement in the form of tablets, capsules, and even gummies.
- It is often used to alleviate jet lag and address sleep disorders such as insomnia.
- Melatonin can help regulate sleep patterns and promote a sense of relaxation.
- Melatonin supplementation may be effective in improving sleep quality.
Efficacy And Research Comparisons For Sleep Aid
When comparing the efficacy and research behind CBD and melatonin, it's important to note that scientific studies are still ongoing, and more research is needed to draw definitive conclusions. However, here's a breakdown of what we know so far in regard to these two substances and their relationship to sleep.
CBD's Potential for Sleep:
- Some studies suggest that CBD may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, which can contribute to better sleep for some users.1
- CBD's impact on sleep disorders, such as insomnia, is still being investigated, but early findings show promise.2
- It is believed that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain linked to sleep regulation. CBD may also offer better quality sleep by enhancing overall health and wellness, or even through other reported benefits such as potentially reducing pain.3
Melatonin's Effectiveness for Sleep:
- Melatonin is a hormone directly involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, making it a popular sleep aid.
- Studies indicate that melatonin supplementation may help improve sleep quality, particularly for individuals with certain sleep disorders.4
- It is worth noting that melatonin is more suitable for short-term use, such as managing jet lag or adjusting sleep schedules.
How Can CBD and Melatonin Help You Sleep Better?
Now that we've explored the basics of CBD and melatonin, let's discuss how to choose the best sleep aid for your specific needs. Here are some factors to consider.
Assess your sleep issues, whether they involve difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or irregular sleep patterns.
If you have any underlying health conditions or take medications, consult with your healthcare provider before starting any sleep aid.
Consider your comfort with different forms of supplements, such as oils, capsules, or gummies.
Legality And Regulations
Check the legality of CBD and any regional regulations regarding its use in your area.
Trial And Error
Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. It may be necessary to experiment with different sleep aids to find the most effective one for you.
Other Considerations And Alternatives
While CBD and melatonin are popular sleep aids, there are some other factors to consider and alternative solutions that could help improve your sleep quality.
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.
- Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to quality rest, with comfortable bedding, proper lighting, and minimal distractions.
- Herbal teas like chamomile or valerian root tea can promote relaxation before bedtime.
- Magnesium and lavender supplements are known for their calming effects on the body.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I):
- CBT-I is a structured program that helps identify and address behaviors or thoughts affecting sleep.
- It focuses on improving sleep habits, managing stress, and changing negative sleep patterns.
Final Thoughts On Best Sleep Aids
Finding the best sleep aid is a personal journey that depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, and health considerations. There's a wide range of options available, from natural remedies to over-the-counter medications and relaxation techniques. With the right approach and a bit of patience, you can find a sleep aid that helps you get the restful night's sleep you deserve.
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Frequently Asked Questions On Best Sleep Aid
Are CBD and melatonin safe to use together?
CBD and melatonin can be used together, but it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure they won't interact with any medications or conditions you may have.
How long does it take for CBD or melatonin to start working?
The onset time can vary depending on factors such as the individual's metabolism, the form of supplement used, and the dosage. It's best to follow the instructions provided and give it at least 30 minutes to an hour to take effect.
Can I become dependent on CBD or melatonin for sleep?
Neither CBD nor melatonin are considered addictive substances. However, it's advisable not to rely on sleep aids as a long-term solution or as the only solution to your sleep issues. It's important to address underlying sleep issues and make lifestyle changes to promote natural, healthy sleep.
Can CBD or melatonin help with insomnia caused by anxiety?
Both CBD and melatonin have been studied for their potential to alleviate anxiety symptoms, which may indirectly improve sleep quality for individuals with anxiety-induced insomnia. However, further research is needed to establish their efficacy.
Is CBD better than sleeping pills?
Comparing CBD to sleeping pills depends on personal circumstances and preferences. CBD offers a natural alternative with potential relaxation and sleep-promoting effects, while sleeping pills can provide more immediate sleep induction. Consider factors such as side effects, dependency risk, and consult with a healthcare professional to make an informed decision.
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. The Permanente journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
- Ranum RM;Whipple MO;Croghan I;Bauer B;Toussaint LL;Vincent A; (n.d.). Use of cannabidiol in the management of insomnia: A systematic review. Cannabis and cannabinoid research. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36149724/
- Villanueva, M. R. B., Joshaghani, N., Villa, N., Badla, O., Goit, R., Saddik, S. E., Dawood, S. N., Rabih, A. M., Niaj, A., Raman, A., Uprety, M., Calero, M., & Khan, S. (2022, July 16). Efficacy, safety, and regulation of Cannabidiol on Chronic Pain: A systematic review. Cureus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9288157/
- Ferracioli-Oda, E., Qawasmi, A., & Bloch, M. H. (n.d.). Meta-analysis: Melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders. PLOS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063773