If you’re reading this with bleary eyes, you’re not alone: Americans aren’t getting enough Zs. The CDC reports that a third of adults report that they’re not getting the recommended amount of shut-eye each night — from seven to eight hours a night for most adults.
Our shrinking amount of sleep has very real effects, aside from the grogginess and dark circles you might temporarily experience after a rough night: an array of diseases are linked with sleep loss and sleep disorders, from hypertension to depression to obesity.
And as we age, our sleep cycles tend to deteriorate. So it’s no surprise that so many people are looking to understand how they might develop a healthier sleep routine.
The little-known system at the center of it all
Enter the endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system that maintains homeostasis in the body, a kind of equilibrium — and a place where science is looking for answers to some of the problems of human sleep. The endocannabinoid system — first discovered in the 1990s — serves as a conductor of the body’s symphony.
The ECS has receptors in literally every part of the body and plays a role in your immune, endocrine, lymphatic systems, brain function, and more. It’s able to intelligently “modulate” our body processes — like turning up and down the “volume” of different signals. We’re not meant to wake up feeling tired, anxious, and hurting — and it turns out all of these are addressed by the endocannabinoid system.
How the endocannabinoid system plays a role in sleep
The ECS has also been shown to play a role in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm — the process that regulates our sleep and wake cycle. It’s our 24-hour biological clock. The endocannabinoid system activates receptors in our pineal gland, which regulates the release of melatonin. Melatonin, as you likely know, is a hormone that tells our body that it’s time to sleep. So maintaining a properly functioning endocannabinoid system is critical for the natural production of melatonin. You can get a synthetic version of melatonin over the counter — I use it when I travel. But I wouldn’t want to rely on it on an everyday basis. I think of taking melatonin as a kind of band-aid, whereas when you’re addressing the endocannabinoid system, you’re actually going to the root of the issue.
Why CBD can help you sleep
So how do you help foster a healthy endocannabinoid system? By taking an effective dose of a full spectrum of cannabinoids — the 80 to 100 naturally-occurring chemicals in a cannabis plant that join with the receptors in your endocannabinoid system. One of those, of course, is cannabidiol — CBD, which you’ve likely heard about, or tried in some form yourself. I’m partial, of course, to the Full Spectrum Hemp Elixir developed by my company, Ojai Energetics. It’s the fastest-acting, most bioavailable CBD product on the planet. We take the effort to extract the oil from organic, Colorado-grown flowers, then encapsulate it in nano water bubbles so that it’s instantly absorbed when it hits your mouth. We also make CBD Coconut oil and offer a starter pack combining both.
All CBD products aren’t created equal. Here’s why.
Perhaps during the past few years, you’ve tried a CBD product before. Maybe it worked for you, maybe it didn’t. The problem with many products on the market is that they’re fat-soluble, which presents a bioavailability problem — you’d have to take more than you might think to gain any benefit. You’d need to eat at least 500 milligrams of CBD to even get close to what the clinical data demonstrates is needed for a healthy endocannabinoid system response. Our product contains a precise 8.33 mg of CBD per dropper, but because of the increased bioavailability of our water-soluble process — it enters the blood immediately — we estimate it to contain the equivalent a much higher amount of CBD than similar fat-based CBD compounds: 166.67 mg or more.
How much CBD should you take for sleep?
So how do you find the right dose? It can change day to day depending on the oxidative stress you’re experiencing, so we recommend the “honey dripper” method, which has some pretty cool science behind it — a phenomenon that turns the elixir’s taste from bitter to sweet. If you slowly ingest a quarter of a dropper at a time, eventually the product’s taste will turn almost honey-like, as the endocannabinoid system fires up and the CB-2 receptors on your tongue change.
How to combine CBD with essential oils to usher on the onset of sleep
There’s another cool hack for sleep and relaxation we’ve discovered — consuming our Full-Spectrum Hemp Elixir then taking a deep inhalation of a lemongrass or oregano essential oil. Both of these essential oils contain myrcene, a terpene, or naturally occurring chemical that works to guide the cannabinoids toward sedation.
We recommend ingesting our water-soluble CBD oil no less than forty minutes before you go to bed, but taking it during the day may foster more productive sleep too, again because you’re promoting the function of a system that controls homeostasis in the body. CBD should help you feel like you’re meant to feel when you’re meant to feel it — including feeling drowsy at bedtime.
What to consider before taking CBD as a sleep aid
If your sleep has deteriorated — if you’re having problems staying asleep at night, or getting to sleep, talk to your health care practitioner if you’d like to add CBD to your routine. CBD interactions and side effects are rare, but we recommend not combining it with any prescription drugs that you’re not supposed to take with grapefruit — preliminary studies have shown that CBD may have similar effects to grapefruit on the enzymes that metabolize those drugs. And since CBD promotes healthy blood sugar levels, if you’re using insulin, you’ll want to check your blood sugar levels before your insulin shot and after taking our elixir.
We think of it as a way to supercharge your system — and that includes deepening your sleep, so instead of just laying there and dozing in fits and starts, your body uses the night to fully recharge.