Article written by
Ruth LemonVP of Operations
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
The best time to take cannabidiol (CBD) oil to get a good night’s sleep is roughly 30 to 60 minutes before you want to be asleep. This allows the body to absorb the CBD and take effect.
The time needed for CBD oil to take effect is influenced by the method of ingestion, and CBD oil used in food or drinks will take longer to affect the body than drops of CBD oil placed under the tongue.
You may need to take a moderate or high dose of CBD products to feel any sedative effects, as lower doses can have more stimulating effects. A “high dose” can change according to individual differences in a person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), but any amount above 50 mg per day could be considered a high dose. For managing anxiety-related insomnia, a person may need doses as high as 300 mg or more per day. In contrast, others may find more moderate doses of 25 mg per day beneficial as a sleep aid.
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When Is the Best Time to Take CBD at Night?
CBD products taken 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed may act as a sleep aid to improve onset or duration. This time will vary based on many factors, including your method of ingestion, dosage, personal metabolism rate, and weight.
Drops of CBD oil placed under the tongue tend to take effect within 15 to 30 minutes, whereas CBD oil used in edibles or beverages may take 60 to 90 minutes.
The effects of CBD oil can be felt much sooner after ingestion when placed under the tongue, as the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and bypasses metabolism. When CBD is consumed in the form of an edible (like CBD gummies) or beverage, it must pass through the liver and be metabolized before entering the bloodstream. Metabolism also reduces the amount of CBD available to your body.
Inhaling CBD oil via a vape will allow the effects to occur within 15 to 30 minutes, similar to placing the oil under the tongue. However, thinners are required when vaping CBD oil, and this method of ingesting CBD products is not recommended. Vaping CBD is believed to pose serious health risks.
CBD is known to aid in reducing symptoms of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression, and it is also commonly used as a potent pain and stress reliever. These effects of CBD may help improve the sleep cycle in people managing such conditions.
Additionally, research has shown that high doses of CBD — 300-600 mg per night — tend to have a sedative effect on healthy adults. However, this may be due to the drop in the stress hormone cortisol levels associated with CBD use, resulting in a more relaxed state.
However, CBD is also thought to be a wake-promoting agent when used in small doses by healthy adults. This may be because CBD potentially increases protein synthesis in certain parts of the brain involved in wakefulness. This heightened brain activity promotes a more wakeful state and may negatively impact sleep.
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Reasons to Take CBD Before Bed
High cortisol levels cause stress responses (flight, fight, or freeze). One of the main symptoms of stress is difficulty sleeping. CBD interferes with cortisol secretion, resulting in a reduction of cortisol in the body, and this calms the nervous system and relaxes the body.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night due to stress, CBD may help induce sleep by lessening the sensation of stress. High cortisol levels in the body during the night contribute to problems with falling asleep and waking up in the night, leading to reduced sleep quality. Therefore, taking CBD oil before bed may help improve the overall quality of sleep.
CBD is thought to be a safe treatment option for both acute and chronic pain conditions. Pain is a common reason for having trouble falling asleep. By reducing pain, CBD diminishes the cause of sleep disruption, allowing for better quality sleep.
The endocannabinoid system in the body contains two different types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. The CB2 receptor is found in abundance throughout the immune system and has a role in regulating pain. CBD binds to these CB2 receptors, reducing inflammation and pain. As a result, CBD can help people with chronic pain get better sleep.
Additionally, CBD is an allosteric modulator of the opioid receptors in the body. These receptors regulate the sensation of pain, and CBD binds to opioid receptors and alters how they respond to painful stimuli, reducing the sensation of pain. The pain relief properties of CBD can contribute to more restful sleep for individuals who experience pain throughout the night.
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One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is difficulty falling asleep. CBD may help relieve anxiety by reducing the activity of a part of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is the brain’s fear center, and it is hyperactive in many people who experience anxiety. By reducing amygdala activity, CBD may decrease feelings of anxiety and increase the likelihood of falling asleep.
CBD may aid in sleep by acting as an antidepressant. Depression is commonly caused by low levels of available serotonin in the body. CBD is a partial agonist of serotonin receptors, meaning it similarly acts on these receptors to serotonin molecules. This can help regulate your mood and potentially improve your ability to fall asleep.
Figuring out how much CBD to take to help you sleep can be difficult, and the general guideline is to start with a low dose and work your way up until you find a dose with the desired effects. Research suggests that doses as low as 25 mg per day may be sufficient for sleep improvement in adults with anxiety. However, some studies have shown that higher doses of 300-600 mg per day are required for sedative effects in healthy adults.
Here are some points to consider when figuring out the correct dose of CBD oil for you:
- If you experience difficulty falling asleep due to stress, anxiety, depression, or pain, you may only require a low dose (e.g., 25 mg) to assist with sleep.
- CBD may be wake-promoting in low doses if you are a healthy adult (i.e., do not suffer from anxiety, depression, or pain conditions), and you will likely require a higher dose. Consuming small quantities of THC can also have sedative effects and reduce the amount of CBD needed.
- Rather than taking one high dose at night, many people gradually dose CBD over the day. For example, instead of one 75 mg dose 1-2 hours before bed, they may take 25 mg three times per day. Dosing like this can help alleviate stress, pain, and/or anxiety over the day, which allows a person to relax and get to sleep easier at night.
The Bottom Line
CBD oil is known for its therapeutic effects such as anxiety, pain, and stress relief. Due to these effects, CBD oil may improve insomnia, sleep onset and sleep quality in people with these conditions. CBD may also enhance sleep in healthy adults at much higher doses.
It is recommended to take CBD oil 30 to 60 minutes before sleep. The dose of CBD required for maximum benefit will vary from person to person. It is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase the amount of CBD until you find the right amount for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much CBD should I take at bedtime?
People who struggle with sleep due to anxiety, depression, pain, or stress may experience improvements in sleep when taking doses of CBD as low as 25 mg. Healthy adults may require much higher doses (300 to 600 mg per day).
What happens if I take CBD oil before bed?
Taking the correct CBD oil dose 30 to 60 minutes before bed can help de-stress and calm your body. This can assist with falling asleep and potentially improve the overall quality of your sleep.