A good night’s sleep is considered essential to our health and wellbeing, and we all have our own evening rituals or habitual patterns, but are we getting enough sleep? Are we getting enough of the right type of rest? How big of an issue is insomnia?
Sleep is an integral function for our body, allowing not only our body and mind to recharge, but it also allows our body to restore itself through muscle repair and hormone release. On top of allowing our body time to heal, it also has huge benefits mentally, with memory consolidation (the process of converting learned experiences to long-term memories) taking place during REM sleep, as well as neuron reorganisation occurring, aiding decision making skills, problem-solving skills, and emotional wellbeing.
There have additionally been ties between sleep and immune system health, heart health, insulin function, and weight maintenance, so needless to say the thing we spend one third of our life doing is extremely important, even if you aren’t active and aware during it!
But are we actually spending that long asleep?
The short answer is no, probably not. While everyone feels like they need different amounts of sleep to function properly, and many people feel they can get by with just 4 or 5 hours of sleep, there are crucial bodily and mental operations that only occur during the latter stages of sleep. The way our body rests is through a series of stages in a cycle lasting between 90 and 120 minutes, each of which impacting your body in different ways and preparing your body for the upcoming stage, and can be broken into REM and Non-REM stages.
Stage 1 Non-REM is a very light sleep that lasts for only 5 to 10 minutes, and is when eye movement and muscle activity slows down, and is more just a stepping stone to Stage 2 Non-REM. This is another stage of light sleep, however heart rate and body temperature decrease, and brain waves become slower. Stage 3 Non-REM is deep sleep where there is no muscle or eye activity, your brain produces delta waves (extremely slow waves), and your body begins repairs tissue, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens its immune system. This is the stage that you spend most of your time asleep in, and if you’re woken up during this stage you’ll typically feel disoriented and groggy for a short while.
REM sleep is the final stage of the sleep cycle, and as mentioned earlier, is crucial for memory development and mental acuity. The first instance of REM sleep during the night will typically only last for about 10 minutes, however each additional instance of REM sleep will last longer.
It’s believed that our body would optimally need to process 5 sleep cycles per night, which would equate to between 7 and 9 hours, or about one third of a day. Recent studies have shown that the average duration of sleep in the UK is 379.4 minutes, just barely over 6 hours, meaning per week the average adult is sleeping for 4.7 hours per week less than recommended, equating to just over 10 full days per year. To add on to this, since January last year, over half of the participants in the study have mentioned that they have changed their sleep routine, and one in three participants said that they are sleeping less than before.
So what can you do to help aid your sleep?
Insomnia can be caused by a number of things, ranging from stress and anxiety, pain from a health condition, diet, and daytime habits to name just a few. Off the back of this, many institutions such as the NHS have posted some fantastic advice and resources to help aiding sleep, including:
- Writing “to do” lists for the upcoming day to organise your thoughts and unclutter your mind.
- Having a warm, but not too hot, bath to relax and help your body be at an ideal temperature for rest (maybe followed with our CBD body oil which can help ease any aching joints and leave your skin silky smooth!)
- Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches.
- Avoid drinking caffeine in the evening, and avoid drinking alcohol a few hours before you sleep.
- Avoid using laptops, tablets, or mobiles an hour before heading to sleep, as the blue light emitted from the screens of these devices can negatively impact sleep.
What all of this advice trends towards is that routine is key when it comes to getting to sleep easier, and finding what the best routine is for you is key.
How can CBD help?
There have been multiple studies into CBD in relation to insomnia, and whether or not cannabis extracts overall can help. The results have consistently been trending towards CBD being a beneficial for sleep, with certain research papers concluding that 2 out of 3 of all participants reported an increase in duration of sleep, as well as quality of sleep (sleeping fully through the night, and waking up more rejuvenated). Additionally, in the US there have been certain forms of medication approved for prescription by the FDA based on CBD and other cannabinoids (the most well popular being Epidiolex, which is in essence a medium strength CBD oil) for the primary purpose of treating anxiety disorders, but secondarily to help combat insomnia.
While we can’t say for certain that CBD will absolutely help with sleep, the research conducted into CBD looks positive, and sleep is one of the main reasons as to why people turn to CBD in the first place. Many of our customers who take CBD for sleep often times struggle sleeping due to stress, anxiety, or an inability to “switch off”, and find that CBD helps settle their mind and allows them to unwind and drift off to sleep. Typically, CBD users would take a product such as our 10% strength oil as part of their evening routine to help achieve a full, restorative night’s sleep, and to wake up refreshed and ready for the day.