Melatonin and CBD Oil: How They Compare
Read TIme: 8 minutes
If you haven’t had the best luck catching quality sleep lately, you may have considered taking a melatonin supplement or a CBD product to help get your sleep cycle back on track. While both ingredients may make it easier to get rest, it can still be tricky to pinpoint when to reach for which. Check out our guide to learn how melatonin and CBD oil work for sleep and how they may be able to work together to help you get rest to feel your best.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that we naturally produce in the pineal gland in our brain. It is released as the sun goes down signaling to our bodies it’s time for rest, and levels taper off during the daytime (or under bright lights) to help us stay awake. Basically, melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle—also known as circadian rhythm.¹
While melatonin is produced naturally by the brain and into the bloodstream, many people take melatonin as a supplement to help regulate and adjust circadian rhythm—or your body’s internal clock. Melatonin supplements are usually made with synthetic melatonin, but also may be made from animals or microorganisms. Either way, melatonin tends to be a popular choice for people who have sleep disorders preventing their internal clock from being in sync with day and night.
Melatonin is great if you deal with any of the following:
- Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder — This disorder happens if you have taken a lot of naps in the past 24 hours and your sleep pattern is flipped—most often occurring when you’re sick.
- Jet Lag — When traveling across time zones, Rapid Time Zone Change Syndrome (better known as jet lag) alters your ability to sleep or wake up. This typically happens when you travel east.
- Shift Worker Disorder — Shift workers on irregular schedules tend to struggle with this, as it causes them to get as much as 4 hours less sleep than the average person. Pulling a 3 PM to 11 PM shift immediately followed by working a 7 AM to 3 PM shift can certainly disrupt melatonin production.
- Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPS) — Those who don’t fall asleep until later and then struggle to wake in the morning wrestle with DSPS. Young adults, teenagers, and those with ADHD tend to experience DSPS more often than others.
- Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder — This disorder is more common when older. Our biological clocks shift to wake early in the morning and fall asleep early in the evening.
Does melatonin work?
As a natural sleep supplement, melatonin may work for some. For best results, it helps to also practice good sleep hygiene to help combat some of the symptoms that cause restlessness—like anxiety, pain, and stress.²
There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that melatonin could help you get some much-needed rest. In one study, researchers found that people with sleep disorders tend to fall asleep up to 7 minutes faster with melatonin than those who took a placebo. They also slept longer by over 8 minutes.³ These trials also discovered that the more melatonin that was taken, the stronger the effects—making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
As with all things, you could also run into some side effects when taking melatonin. Many people who take melatonin hoping to achieve more restful sleep can find themselves feeling a bit groggy in the morning; a handful of people even experience dizziness or headaches. At the moment, there is little evidence to suggest that melatonin causes dangerous side effects as we produce it naturally in our brains. Just don’t take it and operate a car or a forklift or anything—crawl into bed, avoid the light, and drift off to sleep instead.
Does CBD oil help with sleep?
CBD is one of many bioactive cannabinoids found in hemp, and it could help with some of the roadblocks that prevent you from sleeping as you should. Unlike melatonin, CBD won’t make your brain release more of the juice that makes you sleep. Instead, evidence suggests that it can bring balance to the factors that may make sleeping difficult in the first place—making it another naturally beneficial sleep aid, only for different reasons.
Causes for sleep struggles seem endless. It could be anything from fluctuating sleep hormones to having too much caffeine late in the day to poor bedtime habits (like sleeping with a TV or the lights on). The Mayo Clinic says insomnia tends to be connected to anxiety, PTSD, depression, or other mental health issues.⁴ It can also be caused by physical pain and uncomfortable beds.
That’s where CBD comes in. No, CBD won’t get you stoned; rather its potentially balancing effects and interactions with our endocannabinoid systems may help balance our appetite and metabolism, mood and memory, and sleep-wake cycles. Scientific and anecdotal evidence points to the great potential of CBD oil in helping encourage better sleep. Determining the best CBD oil dosage for sleep is up to your personal preference. We recommend starting small and working your way up.
CBD: What the science says
To pick all of that information apart even further, look at it like this: CBD can impact a few crucial areas that cause insomnia, ultimately leading to sleep deprivation. Namely, stress, anxiety, biological clock disruptions, and pain. While CBD can’t knock you out or magically remedy poor sleep hygiene or any environmental factors, it can still potentially help with insomnia-inducing factors.
One study exploring the relationship between CBD and anxiety found that most patients taking CBD for a month felt less anxious after thirty days.⁵ Interestingly, almost two-thirds of them also reported better sleep. The authors of another study on CBD, chronic pain, and inflammation noted that by reducing pain, CBD might also improve sleep.⁶
It’s also been noted that CBD may affect our sleep-wake cycles. In a study on the symptoms of a REM sleep disorder known as RBD, CBD was found to potentially improve inadequate sleep and nightmares common to the disorder.⁷ Another study published later found that CBD might even help with RBD by treating the sleepiness caused by insomnia the following day.⁸
This mounting evidence suggests that CBD may be valuable for overcoming your sleep troubles. We still need to study CBD more to definitively prove that it helps with sleep, but its balancing effects within the endocannabinoid system suggest that it may be a saving grace when sleep doesn’t come no matter how hard you try.
Should you take CBD or melatonin for sleep?
Choosing between melatonin and CBD oil comes down to your sleep goals, the barriers you are experiencing, and your ideal sleep routine.⁹ Melatonin and CBD oil both have a seat at the table when it comes to possibly improve your rest, but it helps to consider what you’re dealing with.
CBD oils might be better for people who deal with frequent stress, racing thoughts, and discomfort at bedtime—while melatonin may be better for people with biological clock-related sleep disorders. Both melatonin and CBD oil have different practical uses, and may or may not help you find the rest you seek.
If you’re looking for a TL;DR version of everything mentioned above, this handy infographic may help. Before taking melatonin supplements or CBD products, remember to always consult your doctor for additional information on how to rule out any possible complications or interactions if also taking prescription medications.
How It Works
How To Use It
If you find yourself experiencing issues from both categories, you can always opt for a one-two punch of melatonin and CBD. Since melatonin and CBD each show potential to improve quality sleep in different ways, you may see better results when you take them together. The best way to take CBD and melatonin at the same time is by taking a capsule of melatonin and a CBD gummy from a trustworthy source. However, at the end of the day, how you decide the best way to take CBD oil is up to your personal preference.
CBD oil is used in a variety of CBD products, like CBD softgels and CBD oil tinctures. Our Sleep Collection line of CBD products is specially formulated with a trifecta of full-spectrum cannabinoids—CBD, CBG & CBN—enhanced with soothing functional ingredients like lemon balm and passionflower, and even offers Sleep + Melatonin Capsules for your convenience.
Featuring a trio of potentially sleep-enhancing cannabinoids and science-backed ingredients from nature, the deep relaxation and effective support you seek are within reach.
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