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Getting Enough Sleep: Can Hemp Help?

Can hemp really help you sleep longer and better? The answer is yes — and the science seems to agree. According to a study, participants who took CBD saw their symptoms of sleeplessness decrease by about 4.5%.

Still, considering that it’s something everyone must do, sleep continues to elude many of us. According to the Sleep Foundation, approximately 60% of American adults suffer from insomnia. Forget Sleepless in Seattle: the top five most sleep-deprived cities in America are Detroit (MI), Baltimore (MD), Philadelphia (PA), Cleveland (OH), and Memphis (TN).

In Detroit, more than 50% of the population get less than seven hours of shut-eye at night. Sleeplessness is more than a nuisance; it affects our lives in serious ways.

The good news is that there’s hope if you’re struggling to get enough sleep. Doctors have identified steps you can take to make your nights more restful and your mornings brighter. Here’s what you need to know to give yourself the gift of better sleep.

Why Americans Aren't Getting Enough Sleep

Many factors play into sleep disruption, making the solution to insomnia hard to pinpoint. People can struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep — or both. The cause of these problems could be physical, environmental, psychological, or some unique combination of these factors. That said, the culprits responsible for poor sleep generally fall into several categories.

Medical Causes

Chronic pain makes sleep next to impossible. Physical injuries, heart disease, and restless leg syndrome can all cause wakefulness. Something as simple as heartburn or frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom can also fracture your rest. Sleep apnea is another major contributor.

Meanwhile, many pregnant women experience trouble sleeping at night. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 70% of pregnant women grapple with sleep issues, with sleeplessness increasing in frequency during the third trimester.

Diet and Medications

Something as seemingly innocent as eating a large meal too close to bedtime can keep you awake. And, if you had spicy or fried foods at a dinner party, you’re less likely to enjoy sound sleep that night.

Alcohol may also disrupt sleep. That glass of Chardonnay may make you feel sleepy at first, but it can disrupt the sleep cycle later in the night.

And, what about coffee? Often, work deadlines tempt us to indulge in a cup of java or Starbucks Caffe Latte a little later in the day than we should. Then, we pay for that gamble by lying awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling as the minutes tick by. It’s well known that caffeine is a frequent contributor to sleeplessness. However, prescription or over-the-counter medication can also affect sleep quality.

Not surprisingly, nicotine can also disrupt sleep cycles — a study led by researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) found that the use of nicotine led to a 40-minute reduction of sleep per night.

Mental Health Issues

Stress, anxiety, and depression are sleep-robbers. And, the vicious cycle continues — a lack of sleep can make all of these conditions worse. People with lower stress levels report sleeping more hours at night and enjoying better sleep quality. In a study, 45% of participants who slept fewer than eight hours a night reported higher stress levels and symptoms of stress, such as anger, irritability, and anxiety.

Lifestyle Choices

We all know we should put our phones away to get better shut-eye, but how many of us check our social media and email accounts in bed? Having irregular sleep schedules doesn’t help, either. Working nights or swing shifts is another sure-fire way to scramble circadian rhythms.

Being overtired is often treated as an unavoidable part of modern life. People like to joke about how much coffee they drink, but the negative impact of sleep deprivation is real. In fact, sleeplessness has been linked to seven of the 15 leading causes of death in the United States, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

As experts point out, all that missed sleep causes bigger problems than missing that 8 am meeting with your boss. The list of emotional, mental, and physical problems that are caused or impacted by insomnia is astonishing. Below are just some of the negative effects of sleeplessness, as identified by a study exploring the economic burden of insufficient sleep in five OECD countries.

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Being overtired is often treated as an unavoidable part of modern life. People like to joke about how much coffee they drink, but the negative impact of sleep deprivation is real. In fact, sleeplessness has been linked to seven of the 15 leading causes of death in the United States, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

As experts point out, all that missed sleep causes bigger problems than missing that 8 am meeting with your boss. The list of emotional, mental, and physical problems that are caused or impacted by insomnia is astonishing. Below are just some of the negative effects of sleeplessness, as identified by a study exploring the economic burden of insufficient sleep in five OECD countries.

Physical

  • Physical Pain
  • Increased Inflammation
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Weight Gain
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Type-2 Diabetes
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders

Mental

  • Cognitive Problems
  • Memory Issues
  • Performance Deficits

Emotional

  • Psychosocial Distress
  • Reduced Quality of Life
  • Mood Disorders
Pug dog on bed while woman sleeps in background

The problems don’t end on a personal level, either. Society suffers as a whole, with increased numbers of traffic incidents, industrial disasters, and medical errors. Insufficient sleep also leads to tragedies. Some of the terrible events that have been linked to lack of sleep include the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, Exxon Valdez oil spill, and Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Fatigue precipitated by grueling long shifts led to every single one of these catastrophes.

If that seems tragic, it is. Not getting enough sleep tends to be dismissed as a minor annoyance. However, it’s actually a significant drain on social stability and order. People are literally dying for want of sleep.

Can Prescription Medications Help

Since sleeplessness is such a serious health issue, it makes sense that the medical community would offer solutions. Indeed, there’s a slew of prescription medications available on the market — to help Americans get more shut-eye. The problem is that they don’t seem to work very well.

According to Consumer Reports, some have been shown to increase total sleep by only 20 to 30 minutes, while others only give users a net increase of nine to ten minutes of extra sleep. Meanwhile, some popular sleep aids are wholly ineffective.

In addition, prescription or OTC medications often come with negative side effects such as drowsiness, mental fog, or dizziness. There have even been rare cases when sleep medications precipitated sleep-walking and all manner of strange behavior, such as driving a car without any memory of having done so. For others, sleep medications contribute to memory loss and hallucinations.

Still, another problem is that these sleep aids can be habit-forming. It’s not unusual for people to experience a rebound effect when they stop using them, making it even harder to get the quality sleep needed.

Clearly, we need better answers for dealing with sleeplessness. Fortunately, researchers have identified some key ways to improve both the quantity and quality of sleep. Here are some science-based tips for getting more shut-eye.

The Basics of Better Sleep

Although sleep deprivation can have some serious effects, fixing the problem doesn’t have to be complicated. According to the CDC, changing just a few of your habits can go a long way towards helping us all get better rest. Here are some good places to start.

First, establish a consistent sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps the body get used to falling and staying asleep. And yes — this applies even on the weekends. Eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest your food and prepare for sleep.

You should also do what you can to make sure that you have a sleep-supportive environment. See what you can change to keep your room dark, quiet, and cool. Light-blocking curtains or sleep masks can cut down on ambient light, while white noise can help muffle disruptive sounds. Some sleep experts recommend keeping the temperature in the bedroom as low as 64 degrees to facilitate better sleep.

Counting Sheep Isn’t the Only Way to Fall Asleep Naturally

It bears repeating: put away the screens. The melatonin-disrupting blue light, adrenaline-spiking news stories, and addictive social media videos can rob you of your beauty sleep. So, set an alert for an hour or two before bedtime. Then, when that alert goes off, put the smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs in time-out until the morning.

Even a little exercise during the day can prime your body for sleep at night. This can be a full, sweaty workout or as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking. Just be sure to avoid working out too close to bedtime. Giving yourself at least two hours to cool off is important.

Last, but not least, channel your inner child and take a bubble bath. Relaxing in a warm tub not only feels great but can also work as a sleep aid. Yes, the warm water raises your body temperature. But, when you get out of the bath, the drop in temperature triggers a cascade of processes in the body that promote sleep.

Studies show that the simple practice of taking nighttime baths can help you fall asleep more quickly, reduce wakefulness, boost slow-wave sleep, and increase your overall sleep quality. For an extra dose of fun and relaxation, add a soothing DIY hemp oil bath bomb to your tub!

Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil and Sleep

Naturally, one of our favorite methods of supporting healthy sleep is with Hemp Oil. While studies on how cannabinoids affect sleep are still scarce, a review of clinical trials shows that cannabinoids have a pronounced effect on those with chronic health conditions. They reduce physical discomfort for patients and by extension, improve sleep duration and quality.

Considering the many conditions that contribute to insomnia, it makes sense that tackling chronic pain or anxiety would lead to better sleep.

Interestingly, the review also shows that cannabinoids consistently exert a positive impact on the sleep-wake cycle. Essentially, cannabinoids improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disturbances. Most of the research that’s available focuses on individual cannabinoids such as CBD, which brings up an important point.

At Functional Remedies, we take meticulous care in preserving all the powerful compounds in the hemp plant. There’s much focus on individual cannabinoids, such as CBD, but we developed our unique LipidTrans™Infusion Process to draw out all the different components of the plant, including a full array of cannabinoids, terpenes, phytonutrients, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Researchers continue to uncover how the different cannabinoids interact with the body, but it seems clear that all parts of the hemp plant are more effective when combined. To read more about this phenomenon, known as the Entourage Effect, click here.

If you decide to try Hemp Oil for sleep support, keep in mind that the tincture is absorbed very quickly, while capsules take about an hour to hit the bloodstream. So, plan your doses accordingly. Of course, another option is to use topical Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil. Many people find that applying it to the skin is equally effective. But, what if you could combine topical Hemp Oil with aromatherapy, another natural sleep aid?

Hemp and Aromatherapy for Deep Sleep

Aromatherapy has been a staple of alternative medicine for centuries, and it’s easy to overlook it in favor of more modern solutions. But, that would be a mistake — research suggests that aromatherapy can play a key role in promoting better sleep.

One study looked at using lavender and chamomile essential oils to help patients sleep in the ICU, a setting that breaks just about every sleep hygiene rule in the book. The patients who received aromatherapy showed significantly less anxiety and slept longer. Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of several studies showed that lavender can reduce high blood pressure and anxiety in postmenopausal women.

To deliver the benefits of aromatherapy and Hemp Oil, we created a special topical oil blend, combining essential oils with 100 mg of Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil. At Functional Remedies, the Lavender Chamomile scent is especially popular. Our roller ball bottles make it easy to get a cooling dose whenever you need a breath of calm. Using hemp aromatherapy as part of your sleep routine is a great way to prime yourself for restorative rest.

The quest for better sleep can seem impossible, but it’s well worth the effort. Without adequate sleep, your wellbeing suffers. Once you come up with a blueprint to improve the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting, you’ll find that the individual steps aren’t too hard. With a little planning and support from hemp, you can get the sleep you need and wake up to a brighter, healthier morning.

For more information about our Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil Aromatherapy product line, please feel free to contact us.