CBD for Sleep vs. Prescription Sleep Aids: What’s Safer?

When it comes to CBD for sleep vs. prescription sleep aids, you might think it seems very obvious which is safer.

a stack of coins and paper money

After all, prescription sleep aids are famously known for causing potentially serious side effects, including daytime drowsiness, increased risk of accidents, addiction, and overdose. But is the answer to the title question as straightforward as it seems? What do you think? Let’s explore the risks associated with each option and how to use them as safely as possible. 

Prescription Sleep Aids: A Delicate Balancing Act

From alprazolam to zopiclone, there are many different prescription sleep aids available from your doctor. Most of these are classed as sedative-hypnotic drugs, meaning they sedate you and put you in a hypnotic state. The most common examples are benzodiazepines (alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, etc.) and the comedically named Z-drugs (zopiclone, zaleplon, zolpidem, etc.). Zzzzzzz, anyone? 

These medicines are effective, but they can also cause you some dangerous side effects. For example, benzodiazepines are highly addictive, and when you mix them with other depressants (such as alcohol, opioids, or muscle relaxants), they carry a significant risk of overdose. Combining these drugs can impede your breathing, potentially leading to a sleep that you won’t wake up from. 

Zzzzzzz-drugs are generally considered safer, but they are by no means risk-free. They can cause you a “hangover” effect the following day, including drowsiness and cognitive impairment. This increases your risk of accidents, such as motor vehicle collisions. 

In fact, zzzzzzzopiclone (one of the most commonly prescribed Zzzzzzz-drugs) can cause impairment for up to 11 hours after dosing, which is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.8mg/L and enough to double your risk of having a traffic accident. These drugs are also associated with an increased risk of falls and bone fractures in older adults. 

Therefore, if you are considering prescription sleep aids, you should carefully weigh up the benefits against the risks. If you do decide to take them, you should practice harm-reduction techniques, such as only taking them for short periods of time, taking the lowest dose possible, and not mixing them with other substances. 

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CBD for Sleep: A Gentler Alternative 

CBD for sleep is a far gentler and safer alternative to prescription sleep aids. It has not been studied as thoroughly as medicines that have been FDA-approved and brought to market. However, early research suggests that it could have significant short-term benefits for your sleep, particularly if you also have coexisting anxiety (a pretty common scenario).

Many CBD sleep products also contain other soothing ingredients, including melatonin and calming hemp terpenes. Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes in the evening, signaling that it’s getting towards sleepy time. Meanwhile, hemp terpenes are aromatic compounds that have a variety of relaxing and mood-enhancing effects. 

However, the best thing about CBD for sleep by far is its excellent safety profile and relatively low risk of side effects. Most people seem to be able to take it without any negative reactions. Those who do experience side effects say they are mild and manageable, including dry mouth and minor digestive discomfort. 

The only other major consideration is drug interactions, as CBD can affect how your liver metabolizes other medicines. If you are taking any medication or supplements and want to try CBD for sleep, please speak to your doctor or a pharmacist for further guidance. 

CBD for Sleep vs. Prescription Drugs: Battle of the Sleep Aids

As you can see, in terms of safety, there is little competition between CBD for sleep and prescription medicines. While CBD might not be as well studied as pharmaceuticals like benzodiazepines and Zzzzzzz-drugs, it is showing promise as a natural sleep aid and is far less likely to cause you serious side effects. Therefore, if you are looking for an alternative to prescription sleep aids, it is well worth giving CBD for sleep a try. 

However, you should only buy the best CBD products for sleep in order for them to be effective. You should thoroughly research and compare the available options by checking the products’ CBD content, additional ingredients, and customer reviews. The best brands will have a variety of CBD sleep aids to choose from and provide third-party lab reports so you know precisely what is inside each one. 

It is important for you to start with a minimal dose and slowly increase it until you find what works for you. This will reduce your risk of side effects and ensure you are not using more CBD than you need. Don’t forget to consult a healthcare professional if you are unsure whether CBD is suitable for you, and let your doctor know if your sleep problems are ongoing. 

Kellee Maize Team

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