CBD Oil and dreams15 July 2022
Have you ever had strange dreams after you started using CBD Oil? Well, don’t worry: you’re not the first! Although many people notice how they sleep better because of CBD Oil, some also report dreaming more often. Although the relationship between dreams and CBD Oil has not yet been studied extensively, an abundance of anecdotal evidence suggests that a connection does exist. This blog explores how CBD Oil and sleep relate, as we share some useful tips on reducing the frequency of your dreams.
What are the usual stages of sleep?
On average, we spend as much as one third of our lives asleep. The average night’s sleep lasts 7 hours and 12 minutes. But what exactly is healthy sleeping? A full sleep cycle consists of four consecutive sleep stages covering 100 minutes. If all goes well, you should complete this cycle about five times in total. We distinguish between the slumber phase, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
This phase lingers halfway between sleeping and waking. You start to feel tired and doze off as you struggle to keep your eyes open. Brain activity slows down, and eventually, light sleep ensues.
Light sleep phase
Light sleep is characterised by a relaxed body and a mind that still wakes up easily. Loud noises or sleep starts (hypnic jerks, you know: the sudden sensation of stumbling just before drifting off) will probably disrupt your sleep cycle at this stage.
During deep sleep, the body is fully relaxed. Breathing and heart rate slow down. Deep sleep is similar to recharging a battery: you are recovering energy for a new day. Waking up is more difficult during deep sleep. If you do wake up, you may feel confused and disoriented.
The REM or Rapid Eye Movement stage is the fourth and final stage of the sleep cycle. This stage is characterised by fast repetitive movements of the eyes behind closed eyelids. The muscles are completely relaxed as breathing and heart rate become irregular and blood pressure rises. This stage is also know as dream sleep, as REM sleep is the stage in which dreams occur that we are able to recall after waking up.
Although the cycle as a whole is a crucial physiological pattern, deep sleep and REM sleep are considered the most important stages. Deep sleep serves as a recovery phase for the body, while REM sleep is intended for mental recovery.
Your own body’s sleeping pills: GABA and melatonin
GABA is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain, GABA is an inhibitory agent: it reduces activity of nerve cells and blocks specific signals in the brain. This enables GABA to act like a natural sedative: it inhibits nerve impulses, regulates stress, and helps you fall asleep.
Melatonin is a hormone the body produces to regulate the our circadian rhythm. It allows our brain to determine whether it is day or night. This biological clock is triggered by light and darkness, dictating a rhythm that we call ‘circadian’: ‘circa’ is Latin for ‘approximately’, while ‘dia’ means ‘day’. In broad daylight, the body produces little or no melatonin, while at night, production increases to make you feel drowsy.
The endocannabinoid system
The important biological concept of homeostasis has Greek origins: ‘homoios’ means ‘balanced’ while ‘stasis’ means ‘stability’. Homeostasis, then, denotes the body’s constant efforts to maintain its internal balance while the environment keeps on changing. That way, your body tries to make sure that its complex interplay of physiological processes keep running in optimal conditions. Fundamentally, all the organs and tissues in the body (including the brain) are intricately interconnected. In this complex whole, local changes reverberate throughout the overarching whole. This threatens to shift the balance, and so the body responds by generating specific compounds, including hormones and neurotransmitters. These compounds then trigger activity directed at returning the whole body to its initial balanced state.
One of the main systems the body uses to safeguard homeostasis is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The body influences the ECS by means of its own endocannabinoids to keep all processes (including sleeping and waking!) running as they should. Interestingly, hemp plants also produce cannabinoids. These so-called phytocannabinoids, including CBD (cannabidiol), can support the body’s ECS in maintaining homeostatic balance. Crucially, CBD does not make you high like THC, another cannabinoid. Nonetheless, CBD Oil can help improve your body’s balance, which can have a positive effect on sleeping and dreams.
How can CBD Oil affect your sleep?
We have seen how CBD Oil can help maintain our body’s homeostatic balance. Research exploring the link between CBD and sleep showed that CBD Oil can help recover natural sleeping cycles. So how exactly does that work? Studies indicate that CBD can help us sleep better and deeper, making us feel rested, allowing the body to repair itself and storing energy for another day!
Research has demonstrated that CBD Oil can help you feel less stressed and anxious, increasing the likelihood of falling asleep faster and easier. There is also evidence suggesting that CBD improves quality of sleep, making people feel more energetic, rested, and alert when they wake up. Apparently, CBD Oil contributes to balancing our 24-hour circadian rhythm and to our long-term homeostatic body balance.
Moreover, CBD Oil appears able to increase production of melatonin, which will obviously contribute to falling asleep at night. Finally, it also appears as though CBD can somehow interact with GABA receptors to make them more active in the process.
CBD Oil and dreams
CBD can contribute to restoration of our natural sleep cycles, which can prolong the duration of REM sleep. Since this is the sleep stage in which we dream, CBD Oil appears capable of not only increasing, but also intensifying our dreams.
One study demonstrated that using melatonin as a supplement can make dreams more frequent as well as more intense. Therefore, using CBD Oil to boost your body’s melatonin production could result in more as well as stranger dreams while we sleep.
However, in light of the lack of clinical evidence directly proving the link between CBD Oil and dreams, we have to rely on anecdotal evidence for now. Of course, the scientific study of dreams is notoriously difficult in and of itself; but fortunately, we have mounting evidence based on personal experience to make some educated guesses.
Does CBD Oil produce any side-effects?
Unfortunately, traditional sleep medication tends to come with severe side-effects, including risks of dependency and addiction. Luckily, though, CBD does not come with these drawbacks, as CBD Oil has been declared safe to use by the WHO. If any side-effects occur, these are mild in nature, and there is no evidence that CBD addiction is possible. Still, since every individual body is unique, we all tend to respond differently to CBD supplements. Among the very few mild side-effects some users experience are dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and decreased appetite.
These side-effects are no cause for concern; they are usually an indication that your body needs to get used to CBD. Simply lower your dosage for a few days to find out whether symptoms subside.
Having more or more intense dreams is not documented as a common CBD Oil side-effect. However, if you do notice that the frequncy or quality of your dreams changes after using CBD Oil, the following tips may help put you back in control.
How can you reduce frequency and intensity of dreams while using CBD Oil?
Most people who have tried CBD Oil report that they don’t mind dreaming more often. Unfortunately though, some users experience intense nightmares that could be due to CBD, which can undercut their improved quality of sleep. Still, experiencing intense dreams could just be a sign that you are temporarily adjusting to using CBD Oil. Consider giving it a few weeks’ time to find out if the effect is temporary. If that doesn’t work, the following three tips could prove useful.
- Consider your timing: what are your usual moments for taking your CBD supplement? There is no single perfect moment that fits anyone’s needs and preferences. If you notice that your dreams intensify after taking CBD Oil in the evening, try taking it in the morning instead to see if this helps.
- Another option is to reconsider your daily dose of CBD. Perhaps lowering your daily dose for a while can bring change. We always recommend taking some time to discover your own unique optimal dosage.
- Try different CBD supplements. Products differ in terms of their ingredients, such as their unique cannabinoid and terpene profile in case of our Full Spectrum CBD Oil. You could opt to try products based on CBD isolate instead, such as our practical CBD Tablets or our range of delicious CBD Nutrition products. You are the only one who can determine what works best In your unique circumstances.
Be patient and take the time to see how your body reacts. Discovering your unique personal dose, timing, and type of supplements is bound to help you find the CBD Oil product of your dreams – sleep tight!