Sleep Better: CBD or Alcohol - Which is More Effective?
Time to read 4 min
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Time to read 4 min
Ah, the humble nightcap—often disguised as an innocent invitation into your date’s home, or an unexpected signifier that the night, in fact, will continue. But have you ever had one too many drinks before stumbling into bed, hoping to fall into a deep slumber, only to be jolted awake in the middle of the night without knowing why?
If you crave uninterrupted sleep, try replacing that glass of whiskey with a nightly Mello Caramel.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an important neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and regulating sleep. There are several natural ingredients that have been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain:
CBD and Cannabis
L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain. It also promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
Valerian root: Valerian root is a herb that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and improve sleep. It works by increasing GABA levels in the brain.
Passionflower: Passionflower is a plant that has been used as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia. It has been shown to increase GABA levels in the brain.
Kava: Kava is a plant that is used in traditional medicine to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. It works by increasing GABA levels in the brain.
Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many processes in the body, including the regulation of GABA receptors in the brain. Increasing your intake of magnesium through food or supplements may help increase GABA levels.
It's important to note that while these natural ingredients may help increase GABA levels in the brain, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or making changes to your diet.
When alcohol is consumed, it mimics the effects of GABA and blocks glutamate, which is the brain's primary excitatory neurotransmitter. However, once the alcohol is completely metabolized, glutamate is restored and it functions in the opposite way to GABA by stimulating the brain instead of calming it. Therefore, alcohol makes you feel like you can sleep deeply for a few hours, but once the alcohol is processed, the brain is overstimulated and wakes you up abruptly.
Overall, while alcohol can initially make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep, it can ultimately have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep and lead to early morning awakenings.
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana that affects the body, rather than the mind, unlike its counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is what gives you the distinctive high that marijuana is notoriously known for.
Studies suggest that CBD increases GABA levels in the brain by interacting with GABA receptors. Specifically, CBD has been shown to bind to GABA-A receptors, which are the primary receptors that mediate the inhibitory effects of GABA in the brain.
By binding to these receptors, CBD enhances the inhibitory effects of GABA, leading to a reduction in neuronal excitability and an overall calming effect on the brain. This is thought to be the mechanism by which CBD exerts its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) effects.
With increased GABA levels, your brain’s GABA receptors can organically reduce the number of signals your brain receives, relieving your brain of mental activity and making you feel calmer. In other words, CBD will help us relax more, relieve tension, and sleep deeper.
It is important to note that the exact mechanism by which CBD increases GABA levels in the brain is still not fully understood and more research is needed to fully elucidate this process.
Despite all of the hype around CBD products, none of that really matters when it comes down to what you want to gain. Want deeper, uninterrupted sleep? Don’t drink too much alcohol before bed, and try to reach for a CBD Edible like our Mello Caramels instead.