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A better slept society: sound and CBD as sleep aids

Sleep expert James Wilson shares his insight on the benefits of CBD and sound for sleep

We enlisted the help of sleep expert, James Wilson to inform our new track with Faithless, Insomnia: Blissful Sleep Remix. Discover what his research showed about the benefits of CBD and sound for sleep.

Considering 82% of the UK have experienced insomnia and over half of the UK population would consider themselves a bad sleeper, a new generation of sleep aids could hold the potential for a breakthrough when it comes to a better rested society. A common aid used for sleep is sound, and a lot of music has been designed specifically to relax the mind and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. The existing research into sleep and sound clearly outlines that music and sound can help to stimulate the chemicals in our brain that enhance our mood and help us to relax. As it takes the average person approximately 27 minutes to fall asleep, this report will summarise the research around sound and sleep to better inform OTO’s Drop Off soundtrack lasting 27 minutes.

If certain sounds can be effective for better sleep, we would also consider CBD alongside this and provide insight into if it can help us to fall asleep better and help us feel like we have sustained sleep. Therefore, this report will take a deep dive into the research around the effectiveness of different styles of sounds as potential sleep aids, alongside the existing research into CBD as a sleep aid in order to design a sleep soundtrack lasting 27 minutes to assist people in falling asleep.

The relationship between sound and sleep

Over the course of my work with poor sleepers, I have noticed that for some people sound and music in particular can be a strong driver in helping them to create the right physical state to fall asleep and feel like they are sustaining sleep. Often this can be driven by what environment an individual has grown up in. For example, if a person grew up in a busy, noisy environment then it is possible they might try to mimic this with music. When creating the right conditions for sleep before bed, it is important to feel emotionally and physically secure, as a feeling of safety will allow the nervous system to relax. Music can help calm the mind by creating a state of relaxation. It is also something that many people have a strong emotional connection to, and this adds to that feeling of safety that can help us fall asleep. I have found tracks that decrease in volume as they come to an end allow us to drift off into sleep, whereas a track that suddenly stops is more likely to pull us out of that relaxed state.

The benefits of using CBD for sleep

Another aid that has been used for better sleep is the use of CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant. CBD is legal in the UK and CBD has been declared safe by the World Health Organisation. It helps the body effectively process stress and anxiety, in turn rebalancing hormone levels and improving sleep patterns. Research into CBD as a sleep aid has found that it can be an effective tool in lowering levels of cortisol. People with insomnia tend to have higher levels of cortisol at nighttime, which has been linked to an increased number of nocturnal awakenings.

CBD has been proven to calm the nervous system and maintain balance within your body, therefore it is increasingly used for anxiety disorders. One study showed that almost 80% of participants who used CBD to treat anxiety reported lower anxiety levels within a month. Furthermore, anxiety is closely linked to insomnia as many sufferers will have developed anxiety around falling asleep. Due to this, it is suggested that CBD might act as an aid for the anxiety associated with sleeplessness and therefore aid better sleep and ability to fall asleep sooner.

CBD strength and dosage

Research has suggested that a number of factors, including body weight, body chemistry and the strength of CBD you’re taking can impact the effectiveness of CBD oil. If the amount of CBD you’re using is too low or too infrequent, it can prevent the build up of a supportive effect in your body. If you’re only taking 5 or 10mg per day, your body might simply be removing it before it has a chance to help you. One study into the effectiveness of CBD as a sleep aid found that 40, 80, and 160 mg of CBD helped the participants of the study to fall asleep, and after one month, over 60% of participants said that their sleep had improved.

CBD has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system and improve an individual's ability to fall and stay asleep due to this. As highlighted by the research into sleep and sound, specific types of music can have a similar impact on our bodies and help us fall asleep sooner and experience more restful sleep. This research will enable the creation of a piece of music to aid sleep using the specific sounds highlighted throughout this report, lasting approximately 27 minutes due to this being the average time it takes a person to fall asleep.

The findings throughout this report suggest that using CBD alongside said constructively designed drop-off soundtrack could act as a successful sleep aid and improve our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

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