What is a sleep disorder?
Sleep disorders come in many different forms and problems can occur at every step of the sleep process. It may be when you are relaxing and trying to fall asleep, or perhaps the problem is staying asleep. Waking up sporadically throughout the night or simply always waking up too early are two other signs of sleep disorders. Their severity also depends on the length of these phases of insomnia. Any long-term abnormality in your sleep pattern can have a big impact on your overall health. Sleep disorders can be the main health condition, but in many cases they are a symptom of another cause. Making sure you get the right amount of sleep each day is paramount to maintaining good physical and mental health. This article will cover some different types of sleep disorders, their causes, current treatment options, and finally, how CBD might help
Two different types of sleep disorder
The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. Characteristics of insomnia include, but are not limited to, difficulty sleeping, waking up too much during the night, not being able to go back to sleep, waking up too early, and never feeling rested after sleep. Primary insomnia is when the sleep disorder is the main problem and not a symptom of another cause. Secondary insomnia is diagnosed when sleep problems are a symptom of a major health problem. Issues such as depression, chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, and more can have insomnia as a symptom.
Other causes include stress, certain medications, or substance abuse or neglect. Its severity is also characterized by the length of these periods of insomnia, as well as what causes them. When triggers such as life stress, environmental factors (light and sound, etc.), or emotional distress create problems with sleep, it is considered acute. If the insomnia is connected to larger problems that extend over a longer period of time, it is considered chronic.
Another common sleep disorder is restless leg syndrome (RLS). RLS is a non-life-threatening neurological condition that can cause severe pain and discomfort. The symptoms of RLS are itching, twitching, or burning sensations, with an overwhelming need to move the legs. The cause of RLS has not yet been found, however, certain things can make it worse. Smoking, drinking, and excessive exercise can cause the symptoms and the sensations definitely get stronger at night. This can make going to sleep and staying asleep feel impossible.
Current treatment options for sleep disorders
Short periods of insomnia are normal and may only be a response to daily stresses or environmental triggers. However, if the symptoms of insomnia persist for a long time, then treatment should be sought. Some people prefer to take a non-pharmaceutical treatment option. This includes techniques such as meditation, relaxation training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other mental training techniques. These methods can be very successful, but it is not a quick fix. Re-training the brain is a difficult task. For this reason, other people prefer to go the route of medicine. Sleeping pills, both prescription and over-the-counter, are a popular option for many because of their quick effect. Sleeping pills can fix the symptoms of insomnia but do not help with the cause. Insomnia is often a symptom of a larger health problem, so fixing it is more efficient.
Treatment for RLS is somewhat similar. It is only aimed at fixing the symptoms of the disorder, and not the underlying cause. If the symptoms are not severe, a lifestyle change is needed to help. Quitting tobacco, caffeine and alcohol can greatly improve the symptoms. RLS can also be an isolated problem, or it can be a symptom of a major health problem. There are dopamine agonists that can be taken to provide relief, and although they are effective, they have some negative side effects. Opioid-based pain relievers are also prescribed to provide relief from any pain or discomfort that RLS causes.
Sleep Disorders and CBD
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Both experience-based evidence and scientific research suggest that CBD may help with insomnia. Conventional medical treatment for sleep disorders aims to fix symptoms such as difficulty sleeping. CBD, on the other hand, may address the underlying cause of sleep disorders.
For example, you may experience insomnia as a symptom of chronic pain. CBD has made a name for itself as an alternative treatment option for opiate-based pain medications. It has a high safety profile and is considered low risk for addiction. By treating the pain you feel at night you can eliminate your symptoms of insomnia. CBD is a natural stress reliever and muscle relaxant, making it a suitable option for relieving the symptoms of RLS. It can help reduce tension in the legs as well as focus on the neurological aspects of the condition.
Another example is anxiety induced insomnia. In a study published this year, research was conducted on the effect of CBD in 72 adults suffering from anxiety and poor sleep. The conclusion was that sleep improved in more than the 66% group and anxiety was reduced in 79%. Clearly more research is needed, however, even on this small scale the results are promising.
Cannabis has been used to help you sleep for thousands of years. Its sleep-inducing properties are believed to originate from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in cannabis. Cannabis use makes you slow, sleepy and relaxes your muscles, however, it also comes with a feeling of 'tiredness'. This makes it an undesirable treatment option for many people.
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