Sleep Overview

The national health service (NHS) recommends 8 hours of good sleep every night. Despite this a survey conducted by the independent newspaper indicated that the average Briton only acquires 6 hours and 19 mins of sleep per night.1 Scientific reports have indicated that many factors reduce our overall sleep quality such as; caffeinated drinks (particularly amongst students), work stress, travel, medications, mental health conditions and high physical workloads.2-6 It is therefore vital that in today’s modern society we take care of our own health and wellbeing and optimise our sleep performance. Failure to do so may increase our susceptibility to adverse health conditions.

Typically, the indicator of a good night’s sleep is based on an individual’s perception of their average sleep time. Despite this many people neglect the impact other aspects of sleep such as latency (time taken to fall asleep), efficiency (total time spent sleeping compared to time spent in bed), disturbance (such as needing the toilet/ waking up too hot or cold) and daytime dysfunction (difficulty staying awake while driving or engaging with social activity). Sleep is therefore multifaceted and although average sleep time can improve when taking medications, alcohol or drugs e.g. cannabis other components of sleep may suffer as a consequence.8-9

Impact of CBD on Sleep

Literature surrounding CBD has indicated its positive potential on sleep, in particular sleep quality, decreased sleep disturbances and decreased sleep onset latency in both human and animal models.10 The role of CBD has been examined in multiple sleep disorders and a naturalistic study indicated CBD supplementation to yield a positive outcome for a young girl experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.11 Prior to CBD supplementation three year’s worth of pharmaceutical medications only provided partial relief whereby the results were not long lasting and there were major side effects. CBD oil was later included in the patients plan which yielded optimistic results within 3 months. The patient was able to progress from a state of being defiant and stubborn with self-harming tendencies to a state with an improved mood and no longer needing to share her bed with a family member.

In addition to this a large case series with a clinical population identified 1 month of CBD supplementation improved anxiety scores by 79.2% and sleep scores by 66.7%.12 The authors also indicated the majority of patients in the study were thankful to try something more natural to avoid potential psychiatric medication. A review of literature on cannabis and cannabinoids concluded CBD dosing to play a role on sleep. It was found that low doses of CBD were stimulating in comparison to medium/ high doses which were found to be sedating. Although CBD trials investigating sleep is in its infancy the authors did indicate there is evidence of a connection between the endocannabinoid system and its impact upon sleep.13



  1. Hall A. Average Briton gets six hours and 19 minutes of sleep a night, study finds. The Independent. Published 2020. Accessed June 8, 2020.
  1. Faris “, Jahrami H, Al-Hilali M et al. Energy drink consumption is associated with reduced sleep quality among college students: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition & Dietetics. 2016;74(3):268-274. doi:10.1111/1747-0080.12289 
  1. Mansukhani M, Kolla B, Surani S, Varon J, Ramar K. Sleep Deprivation in Resident Physicians, Work Hour Limitations, and Related Outcomes: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Postgrad Med. 2012;124(4):241-249. doi:10.3810/pgm.2012.07.2583
  1. Wichniak A, Wierzbicka A, Walęcka M, Jernajczyk W. Effects of Antidepressants on Sleep. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017;19(9):63. doi:10.1007/s11920-017-0816-4
  1. Weingarten J, Collop N. Air travel: effects of sleep deprivation and jet lag. Chest. 2013;144(4):1394-1401.
  1. Wolkow A, Barger L, O'Brien C et al. Associations between sleep disturbances, mental health outcomes and burnout in firefighters, and the mediating role of sleep during overnight work: A cross‐sectional study. J Sleep Res. 2019;28(6):1-15. doi:10.1111/jsr.12869 
  1. van Schrojenstein Lantman M, Roth T, Roehrs T, Verster J. Alcohol Hangover, Sleep Quality, and Daytime Sleepiness. Sleep Vigil. 2017;1(1):37-41. doi:10.1007/s41782-017-0008-7
  1. Ogeil R, Cheetham A, Mooney A et al. Early adolescent drinking and cannabis use predicts later sleep-quality problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2019;33(3):266-273. doi:10.1037/adb0000453
  1. Albert S, Roth T, Toscani M, Vitiello M, Zee P. Sleep health and appropriate use of OTC sleep aids in older adults—recommendations of a Gerontological Society of America workgroup. Gerontologist. 2019;57(2):163-170.
  1. Kuhathasan N, Dufort A, MacKillop J, Gottschalk R, Minuzzi L, Frey B. The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2019;27(4):383-401. doi:10.1037/pha0000285
  1. Shannon S, Opila-Lehman J. Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Perm J. 2016;20(4):108-111. doi:10.7812/tpp/19.021
  1. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23(18):1-5. doi:10.7812/tpp/18-041
  1. Babson K, Sottile J, Morabito D. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017;19(12):1-15. doi:10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9


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