CBD Oil for Sleep - Does it Work?

Alternaleaf Team
Written by
Alternaleaf Team
Jun 10, 2024
Last updated:
Jun 10, 2024

CBD oil is gaining popularity due to its many benefits and reassuring safety profile. In fact, CBD can support many difficult-to-treat conditions, including autoimmune disease, chronic pain and inflammation. CBD oil is also used as a natural remedy for a problem experienced by many UK adults: poor sleep.

Let’s take a closer look at CBD oil, how it works as a sleep aid, and everything you need to know about CBD oil for sleep.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil comes from the leaves of the hemp or marijuana plants. CBD is extracted from the leaves and then added to a carrier oil to make it easy to take and absorb into the body. While it’s extracted from cannabis plants, there’s a crucial difference between CBD oil and other cannabis products: there is a very low percentage of THC in CBD oil, which means the product will not produce any psychoactive effects.

How Can CBD Oil Help with Sleep?

The human body has an extensive neurological network stretching from head to toe that controls all bodily processes. Scientists have identified a specific part of this network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates and balances many essential functions, like sleep, appetite, and pain control. 

Natural molecules in the body called endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors around the body to activate and regulate this system. Endocannabinoid molecules are very similar in structure to cannabinoids, which is why our bodies can take up and use CBD so well. 

How Exactly Does CBD Oil Affect Sleep?

The part of the brain that controls the sleep cycle is called the hypothalamus. This small structure is rich in cannabinoid receptors, meaning that it can be activated by CBD to affect the sleep cycle and encourage healthy sleep patterns. 

Can CBD Help With Sleep Disorders?

A good night’s sleep is essential to your overall health and wellbeing. Experts recommend adults sleep at least seven hours each night. Proper sleep contributes to memory formation, prevents sickness, and ensures you feel well-rested and have energy for the next day.

CBD can help with sleep disorders by acting directly upon the sleep mechanism and also by alleviating other issues that can negatively impact sleep.

CBD to Help Sleep Cycles

If your circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, is out of line, your body has trouble knowing when to fall asleep and wake up. CBD acts upon the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls sleep) and can help regulate the sleep cycle.

CBD for Anxiety

Research suggests that CBD has some benefits as a treatment for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, such as OCD and generalised anxiety disorder, However, it’s not entirely clear exactly how this mechanism works in the body, and there is a call for more research into this area.

CBD for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders

Insomnia is thought to result from an overactive nervous system that fails to ‘switch off’ to allow sleep. CBD could help alleviate anxiety and stress, reduce intrusive thoughts, and help the nervous system relax to aid sleep. Research studies suggest that CBD may alleviate the symptoms of insomnia. Early studies indicate that CBD can decrease insomnia more than the psychoactive cannabinoid delta-9 THC. CBD may also improve sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, and other sleep disorders.

How to Use CBD Oil for Sleep

When taking CBD oil for sleep, it’s best to follow a routine to help your body get into a natural sleep pattern.

CBD Dosage for Better Sleep

No one set dosage suits every person, and every medical need, but your doctor will advise a suitable CBD dose or range depending on your requirements. Research suggests that 150-600mg is most effective for insomnia.

A dropper usually holds 0.5mls, so you may have to calculate the dosage administered in each drop using the strength labelled on the bottle. Your doctor can help you work this out if you need help.

If you are taking full spectrum CBD for sleep, be aware that the CBD strength will be higher than in other types of CBD oil. 

The UK Food Standards Agency recommends a daily maximum of 10mg CBD, although it notes that there is no immediate risk of taking higher dosages4

When to Take CBD Oil for Sleep

There is no rule on when to take CBD for sleep, but we suggest integrating it into your bedtime routine. Try taking your dose an hour before bed to allow it time to take effect.

How to Take CBD Oil

In most cases, CBD oil comes in a bottle with a dropper. Squeeze the pipette to draw the CBD oil into the dropper, and squeeze again to deposit it under your tongue, where it will be absorbed into your body.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Sleep

CBD oil is a natural sleep remedy with multiple benefits for sleep, including:

  • Regulate sleep cycles
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce stress
  • Alleviate pain

Potential Side Effects and Considerations

CBD is classified as ‘generally well tolerated with a good safety profile’ by the World Health Organisation, although it may not suit everyone. Always seek advice from a doctor before taking CBD.

Potential side effects include: Increased liver enzymes in people who take medications that are broken down by the liver, including blood thinners, statins and some blood pressure medications, effects on thyroid function, disturbed sleep in some people

Harnessing the Synergy of THC and CBD

In addition to CBD, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can also play a significant role in promoting sleep. THC has sedative properties that can help induce sleep more quickly and enhance overall sleep duration. When used together, CBD and THC can create an "entourage effect," where their combined actions produce more pronounced therapeutic effects than either compound alone. 

This synergy can be particularly effective for those with severe sleep disturbances or conditions like chronic pain, which might require the combined muscle relaxation and analgesic properties of both cannabinoids. However, it’s important to use THC-containing products under medical supervision, as THC may not be suitable for everyone. 

Other Considerations

Pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, the immunosuppressed, people trying to conceive, and those taking other medications should avoid taking CBD (or consult a doctor before considering CBD).

Is CBD Oil Safe for Sleeping?

In 2018, the WHO declared CBD oil a safe substance, and many governments subsequently relaxed laws around CBD use to recognise its medicinal properties. We always recommend consulting a doctor to meet your needs and mitigate the risk of adverse effects.


CBD oil is a safe, legal product that can regulate sleep cycles and alleviate some of the common reasons for disturbed sleep, including anxiety and pain. Research into the use of CBD oil for sleep is ongoing, but many people in the UK are already using and benefitting from CBD. Additionally, harnessing the synergy of THC and CBD can offer further benefits for promoting sleep, especially for individuals with severe sleep disturbances or conditions like chronic pain. THC's sedative properties can help induce sleep more quickly and enhance overall sleep duration when used with CBD, creating an "entourage effect" that produces more pronounced therapeutic effects. 

However, it’s crucial to use THC-containing products under medical supervision, as THC may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re interested in accessing medical THC-based products, you can book an Alternaleaf appointment today.