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. When To Take CBD Gummy Before Bed There isn’t one dosage that will work for everyone, but there are general guidelines. T he U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have recommendations on how
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.
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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.
When To Take CBD Gummy Before Bed
There isn’t one dosage that will work for everyone, but there are general guidelines. T he U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have recommendations on how much to take, but e xperts generally recommend 1–6 mg per every 10 lbs of body weight. For example, if you weigh 100 lbs, you could take 10–60 mg daily. The chart below is a handy reference for how much you might start with. You can also use our CBD dosage calculator to quickly find your results.
|Weight and dosage||100 lbs||150 lbs||200 lbs||250 lbs||300 lbs|
|1 mg||10 mg||15 mg||20 mg||25 mg||30 mg|
|2 mg||20 mg||30 mg||40 mg||50 mg||60 mg|
|3 mg||30 mg||45 mg||60 mg||75 mg||90 mg|
|4 mg||40 mg||60 mg||80 mg||100 mg||120 mg|
|5 mg||50 mg||75 mg||100 mg||125 mg||150 mg|
|6 mg||60 mg||90 mg||120 mg||150 mg||180 mg|
CBD products are available in varying doses and sizes. Some products that appear to be large in size aren’t necessarily a large dose of CBD. Remember to check how many milligrams are in each serving.
How much you should take will depend on lots of factors, including your age, your sex, the reason you’re taking it, your metabolic rate (how quickly you metabolize compounds), and the quality of the product
If you’re taking CBD for a serious case of insomnia, or some other condition such as anxiety or depression, you may need to be in the higher range of recommended use. Speak to your doctor about how much you can start with, especially if you have any medical condition. CBD may interact with other drugs that you’re taking, so talk to your doctor to make sure there aren’t any drug interactions.
How to Calculate Dosage If Not Labeled
Capsules and gummies will tell you exactly how many milligrams of CBD are in each serving. With oils or sprays, it may or may not tell you how much CBD is in each drop or spray. If it doesn’t, then you have to do a little math.
Each drop is .05 mL, so if you have a 10 mL bottle, the bottle will contain 200 drops. You work this out by dividing the size of the bottle by the number of drops. If the bottle contains 500 mg of CBD, it will give you 2.5 mg of CBD per drop (500 mg divided by 200 drops). If you want to take 25 mg of CBD, you will take ten drops.
Increasing Your CBD Dosage
It’s a good idea to start slow. Begin on the lower end of the CBD dosage to make sure that you don’t have a negative reaction. CBD has been found to be generally safe, and occasionally users report appetite changes, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Keeping a record of how much you take and how you feel can also be helpful. If after a few days you aren’t feeling much effect, you can slowly increase your dosage. If you’re taking CBD to improve your sleep, track how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up during the night, how long you slept, and how you felt when you woke up.
One of the best ways to track your sleep is with a sleep app. I’ve tested out several, and my favorite is Sleep Cycle. Besides tracking a lot of basic information about your sleep, it has a great feature where you can add “sleep notes,” such as “30 mg CBD,” “40 mg CBD,” etc. Every night you can check off the relevant sleep note to mark what you did that day, and it will track how well you’re sleeping with each of the different notes. For example, I can see that when I eat a lot of sugar during the day, my sleep quality decreases by 15%. When I take 120 mg of CBD, my sleep quality increases by 20%. When I take 50 mg of CBD, my sleep quality increases by 10%.
It also takes people different amounts of time to experience the effects. There are many reported benefits of CBD, such as pain relief, stress relief, being able to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper, but one of the most common effects of CBD is a sense of calm. Some may feel it within an hour; for some, it may take a few days or even a few weeks. If you don’t notice anything after a week, increase your dose. If you are pretty sensitive to supplements, you may increase the dose every few days until you start noticing benefits. There are no guarantees that you will feel anything different, but you have to give it time.
Another factor is how often you take CBD. Instead of taking your daily intake in one dose, experiment by dividing it in two and taking it twice per day to see if you feel more benefits. As CBD stays in your system for 4–6 hours, you may find it helpful to take it two or more times per day.
What Are the Best Ways to Take CBD?
There are a lot of ways to take CBD, including capsules, tincture, spray, added to a drink, creams, lotions, candy, and in a vape.
If you want to know exactly how many milligrams (CBD dosage) you’re taking, the best way is the capsule (or a gummy) as the bottle will tell you exactly how much is in each capsule. If you’re using a tincture, it’s more difficult to get the exact dose you’re looking for. Another benefit of capsules is that there’s no taste. With tinctures, you can taste more, and the flavor isn’t always great.
The fastest way to feel the effects is to use a tincture or spray. Place the CBD under your tongue and let the mucous membranes in your mouth absorb it for 60 to 90 seconds. Many people will feel the effects in around 20 minutes. If you take it in a capsule, or if you swallow a CBD liquid, it has to pass through your digestive system and be metabolized by your liver, so it could take an hour or two. Using CBD topically is better for dealing with chronic pain in a specific area.
Speed isn’t necessarily the most important factor in choosing how to take CBD. For some people adding it to their drink or smoothie is the most convenient, and for others, a capsule is best. No matter which way you choose, it’s a good idea to time it for the best effect. If you’re taking it to sleep better, you may want to take a capsule a couple of hours before bed, or a tincture 20 minutes before bedtime.
Make sure that you’re taking a high-quality CBD product. If you’re not, it will reduce the chances of you experiencing the benefits, and in rare cases, could cause you harm. Hemp is a bioremediator, meaning that it can extract toxins out of the soil. It was used by farmers in Chernobyl after the nuclear accident to help clean the soil.
High-quality brands will include a certificate of analysis (COA) that shows all of the third-party testing that has been done on the product to make sure that it’s free of toxins and other contaminants.
Can CBD Help You Sleep Better?
There’s a lot of research being done right now on insomnia and CBD, and the results so far are positive. Research published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that when 160 mg of CBD was administered to subjects, they reported sleeping significantly more than those who took a placebo. Another study in the Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD increased sleep time in rats. Yet CBD administered during the day increased the amount of time to fall asleep, suggesting that CBD can make you more awake during the day.
It’s no surprise that CBD can help you get to sleep faster, stay asleep, and get more restful sleep as there are many conditions that CBD is reported to benefit, including, anxiety, depression, joint pain, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse.
Many researchers believe that there’s a connection between CBD’s benefits for reducing anxiety and increasing sleep.
There’s a lot of research being done on CBD as it’s become popular since the Farm Bill was passed. In 2018 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based treatment to help control epileptic seizures in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. There may be more CBD-based products approved by the FDA in the future.
On February 19, 2021, the Journal of Cannabis Research surveyed 522 adults that use cannabidiol. Below are the responses when asked “how does cannabidiol affect your sleep?”
How Does CBD Affect Your Sleep?
Moltke, J., Hindocha, C. Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. J Cannabis Res 3, 5 (2021).
Does CBD Make You High?
THC ( tetrahydrocannabinol)is the compound in marijuana that makes people high. Though CBD and THC come from the same plant, CBD doesn’t cause a person to get high. Some CBD products have trace amounts of THC (3% or less), but research from the Netherlands suggests that CBD can counteract some of the effects of THC. Some marijuana growers have even developed strains containing higher levels of CBD that make for a much milder high.
Will You Fail a Drug Test?
As CBD won’t make you high, it won’t cause you to fail a drug test. THC can affect a person’s mood, coordination, time perception, concentration, and memory, and even cause hallucinations. Occasionally THC can cause negative side effects including anxiety, rapid heart rate, and short-term memory recall issues. CBD doesn’t have the compounds that cause these effects.
If someone was taking a large amount of CBD, over 1,000 mg per day, they could trigger a false positive on a drug test. Most people take between 100 mg and 200 mg per day.
There are few known side effects of taking CBD. Those who do experience negative effects will have changes in appetite, fatigue, or diarrhea.
CBD can interact with other pharmaceuticals, so if you plan on using it, speak to your doctor. CBD can interact with any drug metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, which can include:
- immune modulators
- angiotensin II blockers
- oral hypoglycemic agents
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
Is CBD Addictive?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD isn’t addictive, and when someone stops using it, there are no withdrawal symptoms.
How CBD Works
CBD prevents the stress response that starts in the brain by activating the adenosine receptor in our endocannabinoid system, which controls the physiological response to stress called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). This process starts when the brain perceives something that it believes could cause us harm.
The first part of the chain is the amygdala, which contributes to emotional processing. The amygdala signals the hypothalamus which then signals the adrenals and the rest of the body. The adrenal glands send adrenaline into the body to make the heart beat faster, the muscles and organs receive more blood and oxygen, the brain receives more oxygen, and glucose and fat are released into the bloodstream. The person is now able to run faster or fight harder as they have more energy and are more aware.
When someone has chronic, low-level stress, they’re unable to sleep because this stress response is preparing them to run and/or fight, not sleep. Researchers believe that this may be the main way that CBD helps insomniacs get to sleep, by reducing or shutting off the HPA stress response.
How to Store CBD
Like many other oils, CBD can break down when exposed to heat, oxygen, or light, hence many CBD products are in dark brown or colored containers. The best place to store your CBD products is in a cool and dark place (a refrigerator is a good option). If you don’t expose your CBD products to heat, oxygen, or light, most products will last up to a year.
CBD Dosage Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about CBD dosage.
The U.S. FDA doesn’t have recommendations on how much to take, but experts generally recommend 1-6 mg per every 10 lbs of body weight. If you weigh 100 lbs, you could then take 10-60 mg daily.
Start with a low dose to make sure that you don’t have any negative reactions. If after a few days you aren’t feeling much effect, you can slowly increase your dosage.
If you want to know exactly how many milligrams of CBD you’re taking, capsules are the best. If you want to experience the effects the fastest, using a spray or tincture is best.
Research published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that when 160 mg of CBD was administered to subjects, they reported sleeping significantly more than those who took a placebo.
THC is the compound in marijuana that makes people high. Though some CBD products have trace amounts of THC (3% or less), CBD counteracts the effects of THC. And CBD oils without THC are also available.
If someone was taking a large amount of CBD, over 1,000 mg per day, they could trigger a false positive on a drug test. Most people take between 100 mg and 200 mg per day.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD isn’t addictive, doesn’t cause a high, and when someone stops using it, there are no withdrawal symptoms.
CBD prevents stress that starts in the brain via the adenosine receptor in our endocannabinoid system, which controls the response to stress called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).