Consider this your go-to guide on CBD for sleep, including the potential benefits of CBD as a sleep aid, how CBD works for insomnia and other sleep disorders, and more. Plus, a handful of CBD products to consider trying to score better shut-eye. Can CBD oil cause insomnia by keeping you awake all night? Does CBD act as a stimulant that negatively affects your sleep? CBD oil is unlikely to cause insomnia and may help you get to sleep, but there are some ways CBD can negatively affect sleep.
Why You Might Want to Use CBD for Sleep — and How to Do Just That
Consider this your go-to guide on all things CBD for sleep, including exactly how the compound can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, according to experts.
Dominique Michelle Astorino is a contributing writer who has been reporting on health, wellness, and more for Shape since 2018. Based in La Jolla, California, she’s a certified health and nutrition coach with Precision Nutrition and covers a range of topics, from mental health and cannabis, to medical topics and women’s health, to astrology, product reviews, and fitness. Dominique was formerly a fitness editor and on-camera host for POPSUGAR before founding her content creation and journalism business, Dominique Media. When she’s not writing for Shape, she’s either at Pilates, with her dog Stella at the beach, experimenting with skin-care products, or planning her next travel adventure.
Trouble catching some zzz’s? Maybe your sleep hasn’t been great lately? Either way, it’s time to do something about it.
“Sleep quantity is as important as sleep quality,” says Alex Dimitriu, M.D., double board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine physician and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine. And while many substances (looking at you, wine) might help you feel sleepy, they can actually reduce your deep and REM sleep — two stages of sleep that are particularly beneficial to your brain and body’s overall wellbeing.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case with CBD. “Some recent research has suggested that CBD may be beneficial to sleep, without negatively impacting sleep architecture [aka what determines the quality and restorative ability of sleep],” according to Dr. Dimitriu.
So should you try using CBD to catch a few more winks? Perhaps. Ahead, experts weigh in on the potential pros of using CBD for sleep, explain the available research, and more.
First, What Is CBD?
By now, you’ve likely heard plenty about CBD, but let’s review what it is so you can understand how it works. Ready? Let’s go.
CBD comes from the cannabis plant (aka hemp or marijuana), which is chock-full of compounds called phytocannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and — the star of this article — cannabidiol (CBD). While THC is known as the stuff that gets you high, “CBD is generally a non-intoxicating cannabinoid,” says Smita Patel, M.D., a triple board-certified physician in neurology, sleep medicine, and integrative medicine and founder of iNeuro Institute. (
CBD is “believed to produce beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic [anti-anxiety], anti-nausea, and anti-epileptic effects, without causing the psychoactive or ‘high’ effects seen with THC,” she explains. “In fact, CBD counteracts the psychoactive effect of THC by reducing anxiety and other negative effects of THC.”
So, How Can CBD Be Beneficial for Sleep — If At All?
As with so many components of marijuana, there is a rather limited amount of scientific evidence on CBD for sleep. That being said, current research suggests that CBD may help with those zzz’s due largely thanks to its ability to reduce anxiety and pain. The logic is somewhat simple: The calmer you are and the more comfortable you feel as you hit the hay, the more likely you are to drift off to dreamland successfully.
“Because of the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system [a part of the nervous system that’s designed to receive cannibinoids], it can help calm down the brain and body, making sleep more refreshing [as well],” says Melanie Bone, M.D., physician and cannabis specialist. “CBD interacts with receptors in the central nervous system (brain) as well as in other parts of the body. Biochemical reactions take place that increase certain neurotransmitters in the brain that encourage relaxation and sleep. This is a bit simplified, but it’s the essence of how it works.”
Similarly, CBD has also been shown to help with insomnia, which typically involves chronic difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Because of their history of poor sleep, folks with insomnia might suffer from sleep anxiety, which can, in turn, increase their nighttime sleeplessness. CBD, however, might be able to help patients conquer this vicious cycle, thanks to its ability to reduce anxiety, according to the Sleep Foundation. As for research on the topic? A study looking at the use of CBD and THC in humans clinically diagnosed with insomnia is underway. (See more: Could Sleep Anxiety Be to Blame for Your Tiredness?)
The compound might also have the power to help manage REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a condition in which a sleeping person physically acts out and vocalizes their dreams, often with sudden, potentially violent arm and leg movements, according to the Mayo Clinic. For example, a 2014 study found that CBD (75 to 300mg per day for six weeks) reduced the frequency and symptoms of RBD. But (!!) it only involved four patients.
All that being said, “some patients find that taking an evening dose of CBD makes them feel awake, but when they lie down and close their eyes, they sleep deeper and longer than they do without the CBD,” says Dr. Patel. “Other patients simply report that their CBD use in the morning or early afternoon helps them to relax and sleep more at night. CBD may disturb sleep in a small number of people when it’s taken in the evening before bed.”
Some good news? CBD probably isn’t bad for your sleep cycle. Meaning, unlike wine, it likely won’t change your sleep architecture (reminder: this is what determines the quality and restorative nature of the sleep you’re getting). Case in point: A 2018 study that found that “CBD does not seem to interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy volunteers,” explains Dr. Dimitriu. (And, TBH, just the fact that research like this exists is really exciting!)
How Much CBD Do You Need To Sleep?
If you’re thinking, “wait, I tried this stuff, and it didn’t work for me at all!” know that such a situation is pretty normal. “Because each person has a unique endocannabinoid system, each person may have a somewhat different reaction to a particular cannabinoid,” says Dr. Bone. It could also come down to the dose; you just might not be taking enough. “Doses can range from 10mg to 500mg before people feel any effect,” says Perry Solomon, M.D., a cannabis expert and board-certified physician. (Quite the range, no?)
“The key to achieving successful results with CBD is using an appropriate amount tailored to your individual needs,” says Dr. Patel. “First, try CBD during the morning and in the middle of the day for three to five days before trying it right before bedtime. If you find CBD energizing and want to try it at bedtime, you may find that increasing your dose by two to four times may help with relaxation and sleep.”
The universal advice from the experts: Start low and go slow. Begin by taking a small amount, and gradually scale up until you find what works best for you and helps you nod off. And if you’re just getting started on your CBD for sleep journey, consider keeping tabs on your trials and errors. “You need to keep a sleep journal to record what you took, when you took it, and how you felt the next morning,” advises Dr. Solomon. “You might need to adjust the time and dosage accordingly.”
Dr. Patel shares a similar piece of advice: “Be sure to check in with your body and mind before taking [CBD] and one hour after taking the product so you can track its effectiveness.” You can jot down how you feel right before you take your CBD and then 20, 40, 60 minutes later. Doing a body-scan meditation at these points can help you determine if any tensions have been released in your body (thereby telling you that the product’s kicked in).
What Are the Forms of CBD?
There are plenty of options when it comes to the delivery of CBD, such as capsules, gummies, chocolates, oil droplets, tinctures, and more. But don’t start stocking up on a veritable smorgasbord of products just yet. It helps to first identify your specific shut-eye struggles to best determine which, if any, CBD products could be a fit for you. “There are two issues with difficulty sleeping: falling asleep and staying asleep,” says Dr. Solomon.
If you have trouble falling asleep, you’ll typically want something fast-acting, such as a vape pen (but proceed here with extra caution given the recent health scares associated with certain pens), tincture (or oil) or dissolving under-the-tongue strips — all of which provide deliveries with the fastest efficacy, says Dr. Solomon.
As for how long it takes for your dose of cannabidiol to kick in? It totally depends — and the experts don’t have a formula. It depends on your body, the delivery, what you’ve recently eaten, and many other factors (those are just the ones experts know of right now). A rough range would be 15 to 90 minutes, with inhalation providing the fastest delivery (as little as 15-30 minutes). Research, however, is still scant on this.
Now, if you’re having trouble staying asleep the whole night, you likely “need to take something that takes longer to begin to work and lasts longer,” says Dr. Solomon. This means an edible method (including capsule) is your best bet. “An edible, such as a gummy, can take one to one and a half hours to kick in, and lasts four to six hours,” says Dr. Solomon. “If taken before bed, it will start to work when you are asleep — and help keep you asleep.” (
CBD Products that Help With Sleep
“There are many products with varying ranges of CBD, CBN, and THC that some [patients] find effective, but others find don’t work at all,” says Dr. Solomon. “I might stay away from products that have a high amount of THC (the product that gets you ‘high’) since some people don’t like that feeling. The exact amount can range from 5-10mg of THC, but again, it varies from person to person.” (
Unfortunately, THC still is not federally legal — so this author’s personal favorite sleep gummy, Plus Dual Action Sleep Lychee Gummies, is only available in California. They have 3mg CBD, 2mg CBN, 1mg THC, and are like a FastPass to sleepy town, sans high.
As for CBD products you can find now online nationwide? Here are five solid options (that I’ve personally tested!) — each of which uses U.S.-grown hemp, premium ingredients (if any in addition to the weed compounds), and is lab-tested. Meaning, unlike so many shadier brands out there that might cut corners (thereby potentially impacting your health) to make a quick buck, these ones are all above the fray. (See also: How to Buy the Best Safe and Effective CBD Products)
Not Pot CBD Gummies
With 30 gummies per jar, these blueberry-flavored edibles comes out to be just $1 per gummy — a seriously killer value, especially given the amount of sleep-inducing ingredients packed into each bite. Just one gummy contains 20mg of sustainably-sourced CBD and 3mg of melatonin, making these bedtime bites particularly potent and effective. As if the added melatonin doesn’t give you enough of an extra edge, you can trust that you’ll sleep soundly knowing that these gummies are vegan as well as free of gluten and, in the brand’s words, “artificial anything.”
Sleepy Bear Nighttime Gummy
For a lighter dose of CBD for sleep, try Sleepy Bear’s low-sugar, vegan, and downright delicious gummies. Seriously, these bad boys comes in a borderline-adictive sour raspberry flavor that might make sticking to the reccomended 1-3 gummies a challenge. Each edible has 5mg of CBD, 3mg of CBN, and 2mg of melatonin to ensure a good night’s rest. (Speaking of which, is it bad to take melatonin evey night?)
Winged Sleepy CBD Gummies
Formulated with the goal of “banishing sleepless nights for good,” Winged’s gummies boast a blend of sleep aids, including (but not limited to!) amino acids GABA, 5-HTP, and l-theanine. In addition to the 10mg of CBD, each edible also contains 2mg of melatonin and 100mg of evening primrose oil to up your odds of slipping into a peaceful slumber. (See also: The 10 Best Natural Sleep Aids According to Customer Reviews)
Lord Jones Old Fashioned Hemp-Derived CBD Gumdrops
Made by hand in small batches, these edibles make scoring shut-eye an even sweeter experience thanks to their strawberry and lemon flavors. While there are only nine gummies per box (making it one of the pricier options on this list), each gummy is an indulgent, culinary confection. And need not forget about the impressive 20mg of CBD per gumdrop. When it comes to CBD for sleep, Lord Jones might just be the master of delivering a high potency product in a high quality package. (Need even more proof? Kristen Bell is a big fan of the brand.)
WYLD Elderberry CBD Gummies
Real fruit teams up with 25mg of CBD and 5mg of CBN to set you up for a succesful night of shut-eye. And yes you read that right: Each one of these vegan-friendly, gluten-free edibles contains a whopping 25mg of CBD, making these CBD sleep aids the most potent of the picks in this list. In other words, WYLD’s gummies are perfect for when you’re really struggling with sleep. And they taste great, too.
Will CBD Oil Keep You Awake At Night?
Can CBD oil cause insomnia by keeping you awake all night? Does CBD act as a stimulant that negatively affects your sleep?
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, oil is a relatively new medicine in Australia that patients are taking to treat chronic conditions that have existed for more than three months.
Studies show that CBD oil has great benefits for patients with insomnia.
Further studies indicate that CBD oil combats sleep apnea and sleep disturbances.
So what does this tell us? CBD oil should not be keeping you awake at night, and in fact, it should be promoting your sleep by relaxing you.
CBD oil should be treating your anxiety, stress and depression. This is one of the main ways CBD oil helps you sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping after taking CBD oil, then any of these could be keeping you awake:
- CBD oil ingredients may include stimulants
- Poor quality CBD oil may have an adverse reaction
- CBD oil dosage may be affecting your sleep
If you think that CBD oil is keeping you awake, then you should discuss this with a health professional that can ensure these aren’t signs of a larger problem.
If you are buying CBD oil with peppermint flavouring, this may have little-to-no effect on most people, but for you it may act as a stimulant. Flavouring is another way that CBD oil can keep you awake at night.
CBD oil should not keep you awake, and the most common cause of people in Australia having insomnia after taking CBD is due to inferior quality products. Stay safe and buy legal medicinal CBD oil.
Have you had any experiences with CBD oil and insomnia? Does CBD oil keep you awake at night? Let us know about your experiences down in the comments!
Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?
While cannabidiol (CBD) oil does not often cause insomnia, there are a few circumstances in which CBD may negatively affect sleep.
However, it is more likely that CBD oil will promote better, more restful sleep. CBD’s effects are dose-dependent, having stimulating effects in lower doses and sedative effects in higher doses.
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Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. The main difference between CBD and the other most common cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is that CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” feeling associated with cannabis. CBD oil does not contain THC.
Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep, experiences sleep disturbances such as night awakenings, or wakes up too early and cannot fall back to sleep. Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, depression, pain, alcohol, and recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.
CBD is not thought to cause insomnia and is believed to have the opposite effect in most cases. The most common therapeutic effects of CBD are relief from anxiety, pain, depression, and stress. These effects can help improve sleep onset and duration, resulting in more restful sleep.
Download Free Guide to Marijuana and Insomnia
Why CBD Oil Could Potentially Cause Insomnia
CBD may cause difficulty falling asleep or insomnia because it may be wake-promoting in low doses. Research shows that in low doses (around 15 milligrams or less), CBD may provide an energy boost, directly negating feelings of tiredness.
It is thought that low doses of CBD may increase protein synthesis in specific parts of the brain that are involved in wakefulness. This increased activity in the brain may wake you up rather than help you sleep. However, this wake-promoting effect of CBD is only observed when taken in low doses. Therefore, if you experience an energy boost at night when using CBD oil, you may find that this effect does not occur when taking a larger dose.
Sleep assistance is a byproduct of many of the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. If CBD oil helps you fall asleep by relieving symptoms inhibiting sleep, you might find you are using it every night to fall asleep.
This alone is not bad; some people can use CBD every night without adverse effects. However, some people may develop a tolerance for it. This means your body becomes used to CBD levels, so you no longer experience the desired effects. To combat this, you would increase the dosage to continue feeling the effects, creating an ongoing cycle. You may start to rely on CBD during this cycle to fall asleep. This creates problematic use patterns and may result in insomnia if you happen to be without CBD oil at night.
How to Use CBD Oil for Sleep
How Does CBD Help Sleep?
CBD may provide relief from anxiety, stress, depression, and pain. By relieving the symptoms of these conditions, CBD may help you fall asleep or maintain sleep, reducing insomnia. Additionally, high doses of CBD have been shown to sedate healthy adults (adults who do not suffer from conditions that negatively affect their sleep). However, it is unclear whether this sedative effect is a direct result of CBD use or if it is due to a significant drop in the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream following CBD administration.
Dosing for Sleep
The general guideline for using CBD for therapeutic benefits is to start low and slowly increase the dose until you experience the desired effect. If you experience conditions that affect your sleep, such as anxiety or pain, you may require a lower amount than healthy adults to aid in sleep.
Research has shown that 160 mg per day of CBD can increase total sleep time and decrease the frequency of awakenings in the night in patients with insomnia. However, healthy adults require 300-600 mg of CBD daily for sedative effects.
When to Take CBD for Sleep?
If you require help falling asleep, taking CBD 30 to 60 minutes before bed is best. This is because CBD must be absorbed into your body and enter your bloodstream before it can take effect. The time it takes for you to notice an impact will vary based on the following factors:
- Method of ingestion
- Personal metabolism rate
When CBD oil drops are placed under the tongue, effects tend to take place within 15-30-60 minutes. This occurs much quicker than the CBD molecules absorbed directly into the bloodstream, where they can start working. If CBD oil is used in beverages or edibles, the effects take longer, closer to 60-90 minutes. This is because the CBD must pass through the liver and undergo metabolism before entering the bloodstream.
The Bottom Line
CBD oil is unlikely to cause insomnia. Some people may experience an energy boost with small doses, but taking larger doses can help you avoid this issue.
Common therapeutic uses of CBD oil include relief from pain, anxiety, stress, and depression, all common causes of insomnia. Easing these conditions’ symptoms may help you fall asleep more quickly and have better quality sleep, reducing insomnia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will taking CBD oil late at night keep me awake?
CBD oil may keep you awake at night if you take low doses. However, many people experience the opposite effect when they take CBD for sleep. Often, insomnia is caused by anxiety, pain, or stress. CBD oil can reduce symptoms of these conditions and help you feel more relaxed, improving the ability to fall asleep.
Why is CBD keeping me up at night?
CBD may keep you awake at night if you’re taking low doses. CBD has an energizing effect, increasing protein synthesis in certain parts of the brain that keep you awake.
Cannabinoids like CBG and terpenes like limonene can also combine with CBD and have stimulating effects. If CBD keeps you awake at night, try increasing the amount of CBD oil you take. Higher doses of CBD oil have sedative effects in healthy adults. Keep an eye out for products that test higher for terpenes like myrcene and linalool, which have more relaxing, sedative effects.