Insomnia Sucks!

Morning comes and you feel like you haven’t had any sleep? Mind going like crazy when you’re trying to get to sleep? Cranky all day because you didn’t get enough quality shuteye?

Statistics Canada’s 2017 survey (find it here) reported that “… 43 per cent of men and 55 per cent of women in the 18 to 64 age group reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep “sometimes/most of the time/all of the time.” 

Conversations with your friends and co-workers probably confirm that Canadians are sleep deprived. This state of affairs is linked to a number of “…adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, …depression, irritability, and reduced well-being.” It’s also linked to increased traffic collisions and lost on-the-job productivity.

I don’t know that any of us still count sheep. Probably not. But there are lots of strategies for getting to sleep, and for staying asleep. Meditation, deep-breathing, relaxing sounds, and avoiding alcohol, spicy foods, strenuous exercise, etc., before bedtime, are some of the recommendations from the experts. And then of course, there’s the pharmaceutical approach. A doctor’s prescription will get you a chemical intervention which, while getting you to sleep, comes with potential side effects and possible addiction.

Ultimately, not enough quality sleep, especially the deep sleep referred to as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep comes down to the amount of stress and anxiety in our lives. Logic would tell us that reducing stress is the best way to increase the quality of sleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.  

Enter CBD (cannabidiol), one of the two key ingredients in the cannabis plant. This biological compound is showing great promise. Interestingly, knowledge of the benefits of CBD isn’t anything particularly new. In fact, according to an article in Consumer Reports, “People have been turning to cannabis for its possible health benefits for a long, long time. Its ability to help people, for example, is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, a Hindu text that dates back to around 1500 B.C., and its use for inducing sleep is described in a 1200 A.D. Chinese medical text.”

The interesting finding is that CBD treats any anxiety that’s underlying the cause of insomnia. Some recent studies, according to an article in the online HuffPost,”… point to CBD’s ability to interact with … serotonin receptors and GABA receptors in the brain…Serotonin plays an important role in mood and anxiety, and GABA is known as the main ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter, meaning it calms excess activity in the brain and promotes relaxation.”

The information isn’t conclusive, and CBD as a sleep-aid might not work for everyone. But the evidence to date is very encouraging. So, if your mind is racing at bedtime, or you wake up during the night and you’re going 100 miles an hour, try CBD and put on the brakes. You deserve a good night’s sleep.

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