Goodbye, Xanax: Why I Look to CBD for Better Sleep
by Erica Garza
For a person who once turned to prescription drugs like Xanax and Lunesta to sleep, discovering that CBD oil is an effective natural replacement has been nothing short of a miracle. Researchers agree with me. In one study, CBD showed promise for inducing deeper REM sleep, and in another study of Parkinson’s disease patients, researchers found that taking CBD oil reduced symptoms of insomnia. CBD also has the potential to quell anxiety, pain and other issues that can interfere with getting proper rest. If you suffer from insomnia or look to prescription drugs for better sleep, here’s what you should know about how CBD has helped me and countless others.
In middle school, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. This condition caused physical pain that interfered with my sleep. I had corrective surgery when I was 15, but I still experienced physical discomfort from time to time as I tried to adjust to the metal rods implanted in my body. Even decades later, I experience aches and pains, though I’m not sure how much it has to do with my old spinal issues or the natural aging process. Either way, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and is used by reputable athletes like MMA fighter Nate Diaz and supermodels like Alessandra Ambrosio to soothe tired muscles and sleep better, post-fight and pre-catwalk. Though I’m not nearly as active as they are, I find CBD is just as effective for my own minor ailments.
In my college years, though I had learned by then to adjust to my physical transformation, I developed a new challenge: anxiety and stress. Like the 61 percent of college-aged men and women who deal with the anxiety caused by school and life responsibilities, once again my sleep was negatively affected. At night, I ruminated over grades, deadlines, future goals and other concerns. Then, of course, there were relationship dramas that added even more pressure. Though I occasionally used cannabis recreationally, and it sometimes helped, I found that if I smoked too much I often entered paranoid territory, which only made it harder to sleep. Had I heard of CBD at the time, and how it offers the relaxing effects of cannabis without the psychoactive components, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. Studies, here and here, have shown that CBD has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.
When I eventually graduated from college, settled into a long-term relationship and had a child, I added to my stress and anxiety a new ailment: a weakened immune system. Having a young child means bad sleep due to frequent nighttime wake-ups, but it also means dealing with more unexpected sick days. As my child entered daycare, her immature immune system worked tirelessly to build itself up by catching every strain of flu and cold she came into contact with. My sleep-deprived immune system struggled to keep up. Fortunately, by then CBD had become more readily available. I picked it up at a local dispensary. Not only did it diminish my body aches and calm the anxiety and stress that comes with being a parent, but its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects also helped relieve symptoms of the common cold and flu. This meant less sinus pressure keeping me up all night. Even better, since CBD has been shown to elevate mood, when my daughter did occasionally wake me from my deep sleep, at least I wasn’t too crabby about it.
Tried & True
Check out the reviews and testimonials of other CBD users who claim it has helped them sleep better. Remember that it’s wise to start out with a small dose to see how it affects you and your unique body chemistry, to help find the best CBD oil dosage for you. And always consult your doctor first before replacing any prescribed medications. Sweet dreams.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph, and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.