Author: FIKA Team
Date: Monday 18th January 2021
A great night’s sleep is incredibly important for your mental and physical health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising, if not it's more important. When aiming to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, sleep is the element that people neglect and solely focus on healthy eating and exercise when in fact sleep and recovery are the building blocks and foundations upon which the other 2 elements are formed. Newer studies are strengthening known and suspected relationships between inadequate sleep and a wide range of disorders, including hypertension, obesity and type-2 diabetes, impaired immune functioning, cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias, mood disorders, neurodegeneration and dementia, and even loneliness.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can interfere with getting a great night's sleep which is the route cause of most peoples lack of sleep whether it be a problem of falling asleep in the first place, waking up through the night or waking up the morning after feeling groggy and tired (even in some cases if you’ve had a ‘good 8 hours’.) Getting enough sleep is harder now than ever before, Gallup poll data shows that humans today average over an hour less sleep per night than we did 70 years ago. A good night's sleep can not only improve concentration and productivity but also has an effect and to some extent can control what mood you’re going to be in for that day and your mental and physical performance.
Good quality sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults whereas poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function. Read: Cognitive benefits of sleep and their loss due to sleep deprivation
Further research suggests that interns on a traditional schedule with extended work hours of more than 24 hours made 36% more serious medical errors than interns on a schedule that allowed more sleep thus showing that there is a direct correlation between quality or amount of sleep against cognitive performance. You can read the study here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15509817/
Dr Ahmed Zayed had this to say regarding the importance of sleep.
“Sleep is a topic that is gaining more and more attention – particularly because so many people have a sleep deficiency. In the US, up to 70 million people do not get enough sleep. Among these, about a third fall asleep unintentionally during the day.
When you fail to sleep enough or get high-quality sleep, you’re at risk. You could even end up in an accident – the National Sleep Association found that 4.7% of people with a sleep deficiency have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past.
Poor sleep leads to diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure. It has been linked to inflammation and obesity too.”
Dr. Zayed has been practising as a licensed doctor for the past nine years, he has also been serving as a surgeon for the last six years holding an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) and a deep understanding of the medical industry.
Sleep expert Katherine Hall, a sleep coach at Somnus, a guided course of sleep therapy to help those suffering from sleep problems. Had this to say:
“Sleep has always been an enigma. Even after decades of research, the science isn’t yet sold on the exact reason we need it. What we do know, however, sleep is a necessity, up there with eating, breathing.
It's always interesting to look at sleep from an evolutionary standpoint. While we’re asleep, we’re not eating, reproducing, protecting our young and worst of all we’re left vulnerable to outside threats and predators. It seems as if sleep should have been strongly selected against during the course of evolution. The fact that sleep has made its way through evolution shows just how vital it is to every individual to learn, progress and live. Sleep is not just about getting rest. While we’re asleep there’s a great deal going on in our mind and body which keeps us physically and mentally healthy.
When you’re asleep your brain is turning moments into memories, consolidating and solidifying everything that happened during the day so they’re stored and easily recalled. Furthermore, sleep also enhances learning, creativity, attention, along with good decision making. You’ve never been told to stay awake on a problem, hence the phrase “sleep on it”.
Sleep is also vital for our physical health. During sleep, our mind communicates with our body to release hormones which perform vital jobs. Including hormones such as the growth hormone from the pituitary gland which boost muscle mass, help us grow and develop, repair cells and any tissue damage (including repairing our heart and blood vessels to keep them strong). Our immune system also needs sleep to stay strong and work efficiently.
Sleep also greatly impacts our cardiovascular system. During sleep, our sympathetic nervous system (responsible for controlling the fight or flight response gets to rest. Studies have shown that when one is sleep deprived that the sympathetic nervous system increases activity which is mirrored by an increase in blood pressure. Hence, good quality sleep decreases blood pressure and cholesterol, ultimately decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke in the process.
The importance of sleep can’t be overemphasised as it plays a role in so many functions of the mind, body, and spirit.
How many hours should we sleep?
As we grow from babies to adults, we’re constantly developing and learning, as well as going through different challenges. Therefore at different stages of our lives, we need different amounts of sleep. For most adults, the recommended sleep time is 7 to 9 hours. Teens, children, and babies, however, require much more sleep to enable them to grow into adults, with infants sleeping up to 17 hours a day in their first few months (they don’t really have plans, anyway).
The guidelines by age are of course rough guidelines to help you judge the amount of sleep you need. Fundamentally, we’re all individuals and have different lives, therefore our sleep needs may vary from person to person. If you suffer from a long term physical or mental health issue, you need more sleep to help your body or mind cope. Working hours, exercise levels, and other activity levels also affect how much sleep we need.
Our individual genetic makeup can mean we need more or less sleep to feel refreshed in the morning and during the day. It’s a common misconception that people are fully in control of their sleep habits. The common myth is that one chooses to be a morning person, jumping out of bed and going for a five-mile run at sunrise; or they choose to be a night person, staying up devouring novels or painting on canvas in their living room. While we do physically choose whether to rise with the sun or hit the snooze button twenty-six times, our preferences aren’t influenced by simple choice; they’re dictated by genetics.
What works for one person might not work for you. It’s about figuring out what works best for your life and your needs and using the guidelines to do just that: guide yourself and what works for you!
Our Quick Top Tips For Sleep:
The most important thing that you can do to get the best sleep possible is to allow yourself adequate total sleep time. Here are some of our top tips for getting more and better sleep overall:
● You should keep your ‘bedtime’ and ‘wake’ time as consistent as possible. Yes, even on weekends! Consistency is likely to result in more restful and restorative sleep.
● Giving yourself time to ‘wind down’ before bed. This can include turning off electronics, limiting stress and introducing some relaxation techniques. One thing we have found to be beneficial is to have some form of blue light blocking glasses to wear before head if you cannot go without your phone.
● Exercising at some point in the day to tire your body and mind out.
● Increasing your time in the sunlight during the day. Getting outside in the natural light is very beneficial for regulating your circadian rhythm - our internal body clock which determines when we should sleep and wake.
● Reducing or eliminating naps during the day, if you struggle too do this then try going to sleep earlier to prevent tiredness during the day.
● Limiting caffeine, alcohol or nicotine before bed as these are stimulants and can interrupt sleep.
● Making your bedroom a calming, peaceful space which is optimised for sleep. A great place to start is by making sure your bed is comfortable. If you have an uncomfortable or unsupportive bed, you could choose to buy a new mattress or a simpler and more affordable first step could be to add a mattress topper to increase your levels of comfort. Furthermore, trying your utmost to ensure that your bed is a place for relaxing and sleeping. If you ‘work on your bed’ then when you try to go to sleep ta night your mind will not associate that with going to sleep.
“Sleep is a very crucial part of a person's daily life. It may be the only time of the day that your body restores your energy and rejuvenates your body after a long, tiring day. Seven to nine is really the number of hours we must sleep. As adults, it's naturally hard to sleep this much or this little, but it is what our body needs in order to function well throughout the next day. Before totally sleeping, always take deep breaths and relax your body for minutes. This will calm your heart and your organs that worked all throughout the day. This also calms your anxieties and paves the way for peace of mind, thus, a deeper and better sleep.”
- Jason Hughes (Nutritionist) -
Tiffany Allen, FNP-C, WHNP-BC. Tiffany Allen is a nurse practitioner and founder of Triad Lifestyle Medicine spoke on the root causes of not being able to get a good night’s rest:
"It takes me forever to fall asleep."
"I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep."
"When I wake up, I don't feel rested and remain tired throughout the day."
These are common statements I hear from my patients. And when our routines are interrupted (2020 threw us all for a loop!), sleep is one of the first things to become a problem. Typically, though, sleep issues are not a stand-alone issue and are connected with other symptoms, such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, digestive issues, nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances, etc.
When a patient comes to me with sleep issues, these are common root causes that we look for and uncover through detailed assessments, long conversations, and/or specialised lab testing (such as our hormone testing and/or Micronutrient Analysis).
● Use of caffeine especially past 2 pm
● ETOH intake (consuming alcohol)
● Travel - especially across time zones
● Shift work
● Chronic pain, anxiety or depression
● Too much light - this can shift our "internal" clocks
● Extreme temperatures
● Technology: TV's, phones, computers, etc.
● Excessive amounts of stress
● Exercise too close to bed
● Certain medications
● Hormone imbalances.
● Magnesium deficiency
● Too much sugar
By focusing on sleep hygiene, and addressing any underlying issues or behaviours (such as those above), we can begin to make improvements in our sleep quality. Some ways in which we can treat these issues include:
● Augmenting our pre-bed behaviours (putting away technology, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal).
● Making necessary nutritional changes (such as limited sugar, alcohol, caffeine).
● Changing our exercise routine (making sure we aren't exercising too close to bedtime).
● Addressing any social / relationship issues that may be causing our minds to race.
● Magnesium deficiencies can be treated with a magnesium supplement and nutritional changes.
● High cortisol levels and/or unhealthy cortisol patterns can be treated with cortisol calm supplements, lavender, essential oils and stress-relieving activities (meditation, yoga, gratitude journaling, aromatherapy, etc.)
● Hormone imbalances can be treated with nutritional changes and natural hormone supplements.
Anytime we address sleep, we also make sure to address gut health, since sleep and gut health are closely related.
The brain utilizes the nutrients that we consume to perform its functions in the body, including the production of hormones. If our gut, which is responsible for absorbing these nutrients, is damaged or inflamed, it cannot adequately provide the brain the "tools" it needs.
So, if the gut does not efficiently absorb magnesium, omegas, or antioxidants, for example, due to gut problems such as, chronic inflammation or damage, leaky gut or a yeast or bacterial imbalance, it will not send these nutrients to the brain, and then the brain cannot properly produce hormones like serotonin (low levels can result in anxiety which can cause insomnia), sex hormones (imbalances can cause sleep problems), melatonin (the "sleep" hormone") and more.
Eating a healthy diet can help ensure that your gut is properly functioning. There are specialized micronutrient tests that can uncover any nutrient deficiencies that need to be fixed through nutrition and/or supplements. Limiting or avoiding inflammatory foods such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs (such as white bread, pasta, pastries), processed meats, vegetable oils and excessive alcohol use also promotes gut health.
What does the research say about CBD and Sleep?
Research published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the first month, 79.2% of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7% reported better sleep. You can read the research here.
Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014 looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares. Furthermore by inhibiting the firing of neurotransmitters in the brain, CBD also was shown to decrease tar-dive dyskinesia (a physical symptom of Parkinson’s disease.)
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by CBD. A 2014 review found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research. The authors noted they weren’t sure exactly how or why CBD promoted wakefulness, this could be related to the better quality of sleep someone may experience after taking CBD thus allowing them to feel refreshed after a mights sleep.
Even studies that conclude that CBD can improve sleep aren’t always able to say why this is the case. Most of the above-mentioned studies emphasise that we need more research on CBD before we fully understand how it affects our sleep.
However, as mentioned above, many researchers say that CBD improves sleep because it tackles the root causes of insomnia, inflammation and aids with other factors that can have a negative affect on sleep such as Parkinson’s and chronic pain.
We reached out to real-life users of CBD and this is what they had to say:
“I have been using various forms of CBD for well over a year, including CBD gummies, oil and pain cream. I usually consume higher strength CBD (usually at around 500mg to 1000mg) as the calm effects are felt much better. I like to put on some liquid drum and bass or a deep house night chill megamix on and then slowly suck on around four flavoured CBD gummies. I find that eating CBD gummies helps me to chill out and slowly transition into sleep as CBD edibles offer a slightly slower bioavailability than vaping CBD oil for example. Getting a good night's sleep is imperative to me because I have a very busy schedule and waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed definitely helps. I have also discovered that a good night's sleep has a positive impact on my overall physical and mental health.”
- Tatyana, a Sexual and Relationship Therapist -
“This topic is so close to me. As I started using CBD for sleep. Not because I necessarily had a sleep issue. I was looking for that next level sleep for recovery from workouts and the day before. Let me tell you. CBD takes your sleep to a whole new level and you wake feeling more refreshed than ever before. I feel amazing when I wake in the morning and my recovery is off the charts.”
- Richie Jaynes of Hemp Lyfe -
“I have been using CBD oil to sleep for approximately two years now. I have seen many of my patients, mostly elderly, using CBD oil for many issues, including sleep, Parkinson's disease, nausea and cancer. I suffer from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. It causes chronic pain, and has had a significant impact on my sleep. CBD oil has definitely improved my sleep. I like it because it doesn't cause significant sedation like other sleep medications do. It causes me to feel relaxed and has a slight effect on my pain levels. I only have two complaints about using CBD. 1: It's expensive. 2: I have noticed I am building up somewhat of a tolerance to it. I now take twice the dose I started out with, which is fine, except for the cost. I would love to see more scientific research on the effects of CBD oil and sleep, as that could be the pathway towards insurance covering its usage.”
- Jami Carder, BSN RN, a registered nurse -
Our View On Things...
Here at FIKA CBD, we offer a tailored range of CBD products for active people and professionals. Head on over to our shop to view our range of CBD products.
Here at FIKA we can recommend a number of products that could aid with sleep and also promoting better sleep quality. Our 500mg Blueberry Oil we have specifically curated the blend of terpenes in such as Mycerene which is a proven anti-depressant, sedative and anti-inflammatory. This has an effect on the permeability of cell membranes, meaning it acts as a regulator of other terpenes and cannabinoids, enhancing their effects and potency. Our Recovery Cream has been aimed at those who may have physical aches and pains. The capsules have been designed to be ingested thus causing them to have a lower bioavailability and give that slow release of CBD throughout the day to prevent energy crashes or through the evening and the night to aid with sleep. We have had some brilliant feedback from those that take a capsule 2/3 hours before going to sleep, they have not only reported that they are able to go to sleep much quicker but also find it much easier to wake up feeling refreshed.
Our products have been designed with you in mind, to be incorporated into your everyday.