We all have nights when we find ourselves tossing and turning, wanting to then reach for something that will help us doze off quickly. The importance of sleep cannot be stated enough, and we all know how it feels when we go to work after a bad night of mostly staring at the clock.
There are various sleep aids out there, and if you’re the kind of person who prefers a natural means for falling asleep easily, you have come to the right place. We are going to be comparing two go-to options among those who look for holistic sleep solutions, which are cannabidiol (CBD) and melatonin. We’ll be discussing what each one can offer to your sleep cycle, and how each one uses its properties to promote calm, restful sleep.
Natural Sleep Support
So, why go for a natural sleep solution? A doctor can give you a prescription sleep medication if they feel that it will help you get better sleep each night, and many of these medications are effective. But it’s natural that some people want something more plant-based, because many popular sleep medications can be addictive, or can be so heavy that they make the person feel groggy the next day.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are commonly prescribed for sleep disorders, as these anti-anxiety drugs help shut off the part of the brain that’s overactive and disruptive to sleep. Heavier sedatives like certain popular hypnotics can simply be too strong for some people.
What natural sleep aids typically offer is a much less aggressive means for supporting sleep. These options are usually non-addictive, and don’t necessarily cause as many potential side effects. And, because both CBD and melatonin simply strengthen the body’s natural sleep cycle, you won’t be as likely to feel groggy the next day, as they don’t produce powerful effects on brain activity.
CBD for Sleep
CBD is a relatively new addition to the natural sleep aid family, as it’s only been legal for a few years. It comes from the hemp plant, being its dominant compound, and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system that play a role in, among other things, sleep function. CBD is known for its calming properties, which is why it’s commonly used for stress. This also gives it the ability to get the body and mind into sleep mode by regulating the production of neurotransmitters like cortisol, melatonin and serotonin, which must all be in the right levels for a person to maintain a healthy and consistent sleep cycle.
Over the past few years, many studies have been done on the unique effects of CBD, including research directed to its potential to act as a sleep aid and stress reliever. Taking cannabidiol at nighttime may help a person fall asleep faster and stay asleep during the night, by both offering relaxation in the mental and physical sense, and by regulating the body’s inherent sleep schedule.
CBD comes in various delivery methods, including tinctures, edibles, vapes, etc. All of these methods can be effective, but don’t bother using topicals for sleep, as these products only provide effects for the skin, muscles and joints.
Melatonin for Sleep
Melatonin is a neurotransmitter produced by the brain, which peaks at nighttime to help the body fall asleep. It’s responsible for the feeling of winding down that tells us that it’s time to go to bed. Melatonin must exist in the right level in the body to encourage sleep, and cortisol is an antagonist to melatonin, which is why chronic stress can lead to insomnia.
Melatonin has been used as a sleep aid for centuries, and it is present in certain plants. It’s extracted and concentrated, and turned into various formulas, including teas, tinctures, capsules, gummies and even topicals, as melatonin can be effective when applied topically to the skin through transdermal absorption, unlike cannabidiol.
What Do CBD and Melatonin Share in Common?
Cannabidiol and melatonin share some things in common, which is why they are often compared to one another.
- Both are plant-derived, which gives them a reputation for being gentle and calming rather than heavily sedating.
- Each deals with neurotransmitters responsible for sleep, which gives them the ability to potentially address the root cause of many common sleeping issues.
- Melatonin is a neurotransmitter, while cannabidiol regulates the production of neurotransmitters including melatonin.
Which is Better Suited for Sleep?
If we were to compare these two products to determine which is better for sleep, we would run into some trouble. Basically, some people respond better to one, and some to the other, for complex reasons revolving around their unique bodily chemistry. Luckily, you can try each of them to see what works, and then make a proper determination from there.
Also, it’s important to point out that both melatonin and CBD can only work so well if you’re not maintaining other good sleep habits. For instance, neither of these products will deliver their full potential if you take them with a big cup of coffee at night, which can interfere with sleep due to the stimulating effects of caffeine. Similarly, if stress or anxiety are interfering with your sleep, it’s important to try to work on these issues, most ideally with a therapist, to maintain a healthier state of mind that’s more conducive to getting quality sleep each night.
Also, keep in mind that we cannot provide medical advice, nor can we promise that either of these products will work for everyone. That is why anyone struggling with sleep should talk to their doctor and/or a sleep specialist about either melatonin or CBD, or both, to get a professional opinion. They can make recommendations based on your unique symptoms and needs and consider any medications that you are taking.
Try Taking Both
You may have noticed that there are a lot of CBD products on the market that are formulated specifically for sleep. A good number of these products contain melatonin, meaning that the formula offers a nightly dose of each of these natural derivatives. Therefore, you can definitely take a dose of cannabidiol and a dose of melatonin at the same time each night and experience the properties of these two products together.
Both Can Be Effective Indeed
Both cannabidiol and melatonin can offer sleep support thanks to their natural, regulating properties that are gentle to the body. If you want to explore plant-based options for improving your sleep routine, either of these products are a good way to go. Or try taking them together, as they may boost the efficacy of the other. Just make sure that, once again, before you take anything for sleep, speak with your physician and possibly a sleep specialist who can offer more personalized guidance.