Ahhh, sleep. That elusive, beautiful gift that is bestowed on the chosen, and cruelly withheld from the unlucky. We don’t need to tell you that sleep is important; you know how much better you feel after a great night of zzzz’s.
But when you’re not getting enough sleep it’s tempting to turn to the help of a sleep aid- even if that means experiencing a few side effects the next morning (looking at you, melatonin).
You aren’t alone if you’re finding yourself unable to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Today we’re discussing a few things that many people turn to in order to grab some shut-eye; CBD, melatonin and alcohol.
How Important is Sleep?
Even though the Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours a night- for adults- a recent report from the CDC discovered that about one in three adults (in the U.S.) are not getting enough sleep- on a regular basis.
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Lower the risk of health problems
- Stave off sickness
Not only does a lack of sleep negatively impact your heart health and immune system, but it can also impact your mental health– making you more prone to experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is not only important… guys: it’s absolutely necessary.
Like we said before: you’re not alone if you’re not sleeping well at night. While we acknowledge that there might be several factors contributing to this issue, sometimes it’s as simple as cutting out caffeine in the evenings or getting a new set of sheets. Additionally, many people rely on their melatonin gummies to get through a sleepless night.
Drinking Alcohol for Better Sleep
We’re all probably guilty of doing this at some point or another- right? Pouring a glass of wine in the hopes that it’ll make you fall asleep faster, mixing up a cocktail to help you feel a little sleepy…
If you’ve done this you’re not alone. You should be aware that this is not the best way to get better sleep.
“The immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and this effect on the first half of sleep may be partly the reason some people with insomnia use alcohol as a sleep aid,” Irshaad, medical director at The London Sleep Centre, tells WebMD. “However, this is usually countacted by having more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night.”
Drinking alcohol to get better sleep is one of the worst things that you can do- because even though it might help you fall asleep more easily, it won’t help to keep you asleep. “
Alcohol should not be used as a sleep aid, and regular use of alcohol as a sleep aid may result in alcohol dependence,” he says. People who drink alcohol often think their sleep is improved, but it is not. It’s really just tricking you into thinking that you’re getting better sleep.
Patients who drink alcohol to fall asleep report that, even though they might pass out faster, they wake up multiple times a night and feel groggy and restless in the morning. This is why many people opt for more natural supplements- like melatonin- for better sleep.
Taking Melatonin for Better Sleep
Did you know that our bodies naturally produce melatonin? Fact. The main function of this hormone is to help you fall- and stay- asleep.
At night, when the sun is setting, your body starts to slow it’s production of cortisol (which gives you spurts of energy throughout the day and keeps you awake) and increases it’s melatonin production.
However, due to certain circumstances, your body might not be producing enough of this miracle hormone- which is why some people choose to take melatonin supplements at night.
Even though melatonin steals much of the spotlight when it comes to sleep aids, according to recent studies it’s not actually as effective as it’s touted to be. Melatonin works best only under certain conditions, such as when you’re feeling jet-lagged, or if you’re experiencing temporary spurts of sleeplessness. According to the Mayo Clinic, it tends to work best for short-term use and to address what doctors call a “delayed sleep phase” (read: when you don’t get tired at night on your own).
However, patients who use melatonin frequently claim to feel groggy and sleepy in the morning due to the “hangover” like effect of this supplement.
The Effects of Melatonin and Alcohol
To emphasize the effects of this sleep aid, people frequently take this supplement with alcohol. This generally results in adverse health effects. So what exactly happens when you take melatonin and alcohol?
The combination of melatonin and alcohol doesn’t mean that the sedative effects will be enhanced. It’s quite the opposite. In fact, alcohol actually disrupts the effects of melatonin and wreaks havoc on your sleep/wake cycle.
Here are some of the ways that taking alcohol and melatonin together can affect you negatively:
Melatonin and Alcohol Side Effects
Breathing Difficulties: the mixture of alcohol and melatonin can cause the muscles in your throat to lose their functionality, making them work against you.
Heart Issues: Studies show that the combination of alcohol and melatonin can lead to a significant decrease in heart rate, affecting the overall function of your heart.
Sleeping Troubles: According to Dr. Nate Watson from SleepScore Labs, taking melatonin and alcohol together causes frequent awakening at night, causing sleep deprivation- making your insomnia way worse.
Other Symptoms: people who mix alcohol and melatonin can also experience drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, increased blood pressure, and heightened anxiety.
So, what is a sleep-deprived person supposed to do to get some good sleep if they want to avoid melatonin and alcohol? We’re so glad you asked.
Taking CBD for Better Sleep
*Drumroll please* Announcing CBD: one of the best ways to combat sleeplessness, naturally, without any of the nasty side effects of sleeping pills!
CBD is just one of the many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant found to interact indirectly with receptors CB1 and CB2 in your endocannabinoid system (or ECS). These two receptors are considered by current research to be the part of the ECS that aids with pain relief, inflammation, relaxation, and consequently… sleep.
How to Get the Best Night’s Sleep with CBD
If you’re taking CBD for a better night of sleep, we recommend that you start with a small CBD dosage and then increase slowly until you find what works best for you.
New to CBD? Here are a few helpful articles to get you started: