CBD Oils + Melatonin
CBD Oil + Melatonin
Melatonin is a chemical produced by the brain that everyone makes on their own, although the amount produced decreases with age. It is essential for regulating our body’s daily and seasonal rhythms, especially our sleep cycles. Newborns have a lot of melatonin, which is why they sleep so much. It remains high for most people well into adolescence and even into college. However, there is a wide range of natural melatonin production, with some people having significantly more than others. There is a genetic component to this, which is probably why you can see insomnia running in some families.
Most people think of melatonin as the sleep hormone, which is true. It is also a natural indoleamine, which is a family of neurotransmitters that includes serotonin. This can be useful to know because melatonin and serotonin are intimately linked and a deficiency of serotonin can also lead to decreased levels of melatonin.
Melatonin has more to do with when we fall asleep than keeping us asleep through the night. In other words, melatonin is part of the vital function of the body's biological clock, the circadian rhythm. And although melatonin can be released in the bone marrow, platelets, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, skin, and lymphocytes, it is primarily regulated by the pineal gland (just behind the forehead). When all is well, a high dose is released shortly before bedtime, hoping to help us sleep. However, there are several things that can go wrong in this system due to our modern lifestyle.
One of these barriers is exposure to light. We have evolved to respond to sunrise and sunset, with a surge in melatonin around 2-3 hours after sunset, making us sleepy. For example, if the sun sets at 7:00 p.m., our body would like us to go to bed at 10:00 p.m. Living away from the equator, however, the sun can set before 5:00 p.m. in winter and after 9:00 p.m. in summer. In the summer this is not an issue for most people. However, in the winter, that early sunset can encourage sleep around 7 or 8 p.m. Most people don't go to bed that early and since the effect of melatonin wears off after 2-3 hours, it's common to get a second burst of energy right at bedtime.
Artificial light is an even bigger problem. Even brief exposure to light around 9 or 10 p.m. can delay the natural release of melatonin by a few hours, meaning we might miss nature's cue to go to sleep.
Most research on cannabidiol (CBD) has focused on its possible benefits for anxiety disorders, perceived stress, and feelings of general anxiety. This research is helpful for sleep issues, as sleep disturbances related to stress and anxiety are quite common.
At this point, the research more strongly indicates that CBD is helpful for sleep issues related to stress and anxiety. This application is also supported by current evidence pointing to the use of CBD for anxiety-related issues.
CBD can support sleep disturbances throughout the night, while melatonin can support falling asleep. This combination may work to support overall sleep. Interestingly, some people may find that CBD makes them more alert, but without an increase in anxiety. In these people, using CBD at night may negatively impact sleep, while use earlier in the day may support sleep. This phenomenon is why melatonin in combination with CBD used at night and over a short-term period can address more severe sleep issues, as melatonin can offset the stimulating effects of CBD.