Sleep is not a “Pillar of Health”. It’s the foundation.
We devote one third of our lives to catching those zzz’s. Not eating, not exercise... SLEEP!
Some would argue that there are three pillars of health: exercise, good nutrition, and sleep. About the Healthy Sleep Web Site | Healthy Sleep (harvard.edu) . But there are many who would argue that sleep is NOT just one of the pillars of health, but instead is a foundation.
The difference in those two ideas informs us just how important sleep is. As a pillar, we can think about sleep and its importance similar to food and exercise: It’s important and much needed!
But understanding sleep as a basis to health means that it is actually the most important of those three contributors to health, more so than nutrition or exercise. It’s the support for nutrition and exercise. Without it, our health isn’t really spectacular. It’s a foundation to our health!
Sleep supports brain health and lack of sleep is linked to chronic diseases.
As we learn more about sleep, we understand just how sleep supports healthy nutrition and healthy muscle and bone development. All very important things towards our health! It also promotes healthy brain functioning: memory and cognition. In fact, brain health is dependent upon good sleep. Sorry to tell you those all-nighters aren’t doing your brain or body any favors. We’ve also seen there is a strong correlation between behavioral disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia and sleep disturbances. All more reason to get some sleep!
When talking about sleep, we know there are different “stages” of sleep and sometimes people simply don’t spend enough time in the crucial stages:
“Stage 3 is the deepest part of NREM sleep. In this stage, your muscles and body relax even more, and brain waves show a clear pattern of slowed activity that is markedly different from waking brain activity. It is believed that deep sleep plays an important role in recuperation of the body as well as effective thinking and memory.” How Sleep Works: Understanding the Science of Sleep | Sleep Foundation
We know that inadequate sleep has been linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression (Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI, NIH). Yikes.
In the US, we have millions who struggle with getting adequate sleep.
If you’re struggling to count those sheep at night, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, about 50-70 million Americans have chronic (ongoing) sleep disorders and a full 40% of the adult population of the US reports inadvertently falling asleep during the day at least once a month. And up to 19% report not getting enough rest every day (Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI, NIH).
How do we get the best nights sleep?
Now that we get the idea that sleep is important, we should really think about changes we can make in our sleep habits. Included in standard recommendations for sleep hygiene (the tips that are commonly given to help improve sleep) are the following recommendations (Sleep: The foundation for healthy habits - Mayo Clinic) and some additional ones that are supported by current research:
Set a sleep goal of at least 7 hours. We know that Netflix can be tempting, but sleep can help boost your motivation and willpower, making it easier to fend off temptations!
Establish a regular bedtime and honor it!
Eat healthier foods. Limit or eliminate sugary foods especially in the evening. Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause you to waken with hunger, so it’s best to just leave that pint of Ben and Jerry’s for later.
Ease into sleep. Setting aside a little time before bed for relaxation can help you transition into sleep. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, gentle stretching or guided imagery to help focus your attention away from your worries and into the present. If your busy mind keeps you awake, jot down your thoughts in a journal or on a pad of paper by your bed.
Eliminate screen time at least one hour before bedtime. Choose “calming” thoughts, activities, and lower your surrounding stimulus (turn off lights, turn down or eliminate noises, prepare your mind for rest).
- Limit or eliminate caffeine in the afternoon. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others and it can greatly affect their restfulness in the evening.
Adjust your alarm clock 5 minutes EARLIER. If you wake to an alarm clock and are especially groggy, try adjusting it five minutes earlier and test that time for a few days to see how you feel. You may find that waking earlier can “time” your natural cycle to awaken feeling more refreshed!
Eliminate alcohol. We know that might be easier said than done, but alcohol can cause hormone fluctuations that exacerbate hot flashes in women and can make sleep less restful. We definitely don’t want that!
- Drink most of your water during the day. Not only will you be well hydrated, but some people waken at night to empty their bladders. If you drink fewer glasses of water toward the end of the night, you might be more likely to make it through the night without needing to use the restroom.
But good sleep can be elusive: What if you do shift work?
Yea, we get it. Sometimes those waves are better late at night or suuuper early in the morning, which will definitely change up when you sleep. Sleep is an “all day” concept. No, we don’t sleep all day, but what we do all day impacts the sleep we get at night.
Drinking or eating caffeine (sorry, that chocolate has bliss molecules… and it has caffeine) to using our electronics such as video games, blue screen phones and computers, and watching TV... and leading stress-filled lives... our world is NOT designed for good sleep. There’s too much going on, and definitely not enough hours in a day!
If you do shift work, are on call, or have small children who are learning to establish sleep habits themselves… you might be one of the millions who doesn’t get a good night sleep regularly. That’s just life. What’s more, getting a good night of sleep improves your odds of getting another good night of sleep.
Not getting a good night of sleep can lead to even more sleeplessness. It’s a wildly vicious cycle.
What can CBD do for Sleep?
CBD does SO MANY GOOD THINGS for the body and as a cascade of awesomeness, it domino-effects itself into benefiting your sleep (one good thing leads to another!). Here are some of the sleep benefits from CBD:
#1 - CBD lowers cortisol.
Lowering cortisol reduces stress. All day! That hormone that we need to go hunt down food? We don’t need it so much because for many of us, food is stored readily in our pantries. Yet we have cortisol to burn. Instead of burning it, we eat, retain fat (one of the benefits of unused cortisol) and also get “amped-up” on adrenaline which causes our bodies early-morning stress. This all happens on waking. In adults, cortisol is highest in the morning (it’s the opposite for children – hence why little kids are amped-up at night and ready to run circles when they should be going to bed, also why they often are hungriest at night).
#2 - CBD helps promote the production of serotonin and endorphins.
That means you’re happier and more relaxed with less pain. Less pain and more relaxed means less stress hormones. It’s a bit circular. Less stress… equals less stress! All day long! That’s pretty rad!
#3 - CBD helps your body lower inflammation.
Lower inflammation means lower pain... which means lower stress which helps your body to run more efficiently and concentrate on the “good” things it needs to do rather than to survive constantly in a stressed-out-trauma-state. So yea, less pain is better!
Research shows using CBD can help improve restful sleep.
All of these mean that at the end of the day… CBD helps your body remain relaxed and primed for sleep when it’s time to hit that pillow.
Some people report that CBD alone helps them to get better sleep. Some people use CBD combined with Melatonin. Some have turned to CBN which is another cannabinoid that helps promote DEEP SLEEP – the third stage of sleep that is most helpful to the brain and rebuilding the body, and where we dream of chilling on the beach!
Because of the cyclical nature of sleep – Good sleep promotes good sleep, and poor sleep promotes sleeplessness – CBD can be a good tool to insert into your sleep routine to help promote a good night of sleep.
Used repetitively, it does NOT have the negative consequence of being addictive like other sleep aids. It also does not interfere with other supplements. It’s an effective tool to help promote a good night of sleep.
It’s one of the reasons why we created products to help people improve their quality of life. We understand that sleep is a foundation to our health. With good sleep, we can take control!