Melatonin vs CBD For Sleep

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Melatonin vs CBD For Sleep

When striving for a satisfying night’s sleep, many people explore alternative remedies such as melatonin and CBD. These substances have gained popularity for their potential to improve sleep, but how do they compare?

This article will examine the benefits of melatonin vs CBD for sleep, along with the potential side effects and risks associated with their usage. Furthermore, we will explore the factors to consider when deciding between melatonin and CBD, and whether combining the two may result in amplified effects.

In understanding the usefulness of melatonin and CBD in enhancing sleep quality, you can make informed choices to bolster your overall sleep health.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It plays a crucial role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, helping to establish and maintain a regular sleep pattern. Melatonin levels increase in the evening, signaling to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep1.

Taking melatonin as a supplement can be useful for individuals with sleep disorders, jet lag, or those who struggle to fall asleep at night2.

Natural Sources Of Melatonin

Melatonin can be naturally found in certain foods. One of the richest natural sources of melatonin is tart cherries, which contain high levels of this hormone3. Other fruits like bananas, pineapples, and tomatoes contain small amounts of melatonin4.

Additionally, nuts and seeds such as almonds and pistachios are known to have melatonin5. Furthermore, herbs like green tea and chamomile have been found to naturally contain melatonin6.

Synthetic Sources Of Melatonin

Synthetic sources of melatonin are created in pharmaceutical laboratories using chemical processes. These artificial versions closely resemble the melatonin naturally produced in the pineal gland of humans. They are widely available as over-the-counter supplements and are often used to regulate sleep patterns and treat insomnia.

Synthetic melatonin can be found in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and even liquid solutions7. Although they are not as potent as naturally occurring melatonin, they can still provide the desired effects.

What Is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike its cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t cause a “high” feeling8,9.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates various physiological processes, including sleep10. CBD can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, making it a potentially beneficial option for those experiencing sleep difficulties11,12.

Natural Sources Of CBD

Natural sources of CBD include the cannabis plant, particularly hemp, which is rich in this compound13.

In a recent breakthrough, Brazilian researchers have identified CBD in the fruits and flowers of the Jamaican nettletree (Trema micranthum). This evergreen shrub, indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America, distinguishes itself from Cannabis sativa by lacking THC. This makes T. micranthum an appealing alternative source of CBD, offering potential advantages in circumventing legal barriers associated with cannabis cultivation14.

Synthetic Sources Of CBD

Synthetic CBD is not sourced from natural origins; instead, it is synthesized in a laboratory environment. Theoretically, synthetic and natural cannabinoids are thought to share similar effects.

Some pharmaceutical companies have the capability to produce synthetic CBD with a chemical structure identical to that of natural CBD. However, there is a scarcity of scientific evidence concerning the efficacy of synthetic cannabinoids, including synthetic CBD.

The understanding of natural CBD and its impact on the human body surpasses the knowledge of synthetic CBD. Clinical trials focusing on synthetic CBD have only recently commenced, and it remains premature to conclude whether the human body reacts comparably to both natural and synthetic CBD15.

Importance Of Sleep

Although scientists continue their efforts to uncover and delineate the full range of sleep functions, a multitude of studies spanning over a century—often involving the disruption of sleep to observe its repercussions—have consistently affirmed the indispensability of sleep for our overall well-being and, indeed, your survival.

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night for proper cognitive and behavioral functions. Sleep plays a pivotal role in various physiological and psychological processes that contribute to overall health.

It is during sleep that the brain engages in essential activities such as memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and neural repair. Moreover, adequate sleep is closely linked to immune system functioning, metabolism regulation, and cardiovascular health16,17.

The consequences of sleep deprivation extend beyond mere tiredness, as it can result in compromised decision-making, decreased problem-solving abilities, and heightened stress levels18. Chronic sleep insufficiency has also been associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases19.

The Impact Of Sleep On Weight Management

Surprisingly, not everyone is aware of the intricate connection between sleep and weight gain. The link between the two extends far beyond just calorie intake and physical activity. Let’s delve into how sleep, or the lack thereof, can significantly impact your weight:

  1. Hormonal Regulation – Sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating hormones that control hunger and satiety20. When sleep is inadequate, the body’s production of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, increases, while leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, decreases. This hormonal imbalance can lead to heightened cravings and overeating.
  2. Insulin Sensitivity – Poor sleep affects the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating blood sugar levels21. Insulin resistance can result in elevated blood sugar, triggering the body to store more fat, particularly around the abdominal region. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain over time.
  3. Late-Night Eating Patterns – Sleep deprivation has been associated with altered eating patterns22; this may often leading to an increased consumption of late-night snacks or meals. The timing of food intake, especially during the circadian rhythm’s natural rest period, can disrupt the body’s metabolic processes, promoting weight gain.
  4. Stress Response – Lack of sleep activates the body’s stress response, leading to an increase in cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol levels can stimulate the appetite, particularly for high-calorie and sugary foods. Chronic stress-induced sleep deprivation may contribute to consistent overeating and subsequent weight gain23.
  5. Metabolic Rate – Inadequate sleep has been linked to a decrease in the resting metabolic rate, the number of calories the body burns at rest24. A slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight and more challenging to lose it. This metabolic slowdown is a subtle yet significant contributor to gradual weight gain.
  6. Physical Inactivity – Fatigue resulting from poor sleep can reduce the motivation and energy levels required for physical activity. As a consequence, individuals may engage in less exercise, leading to a sedentary lifestyle that further contributes to weight gain.
  7. Food Choices and Cravings – Sleep-deprived individuals often experience changes in food preferences, gravitating toward energy-dense and sugary foods25. The brain’s reward centers become more responsive to these types of foods, making it harder to resist unhealthy choices and contributing to excess calorie consumption.
  8. Water Retention – Disrupted sleep can affect the body’s fluid balance and lead to water retention26. While this doesn’t represent true weight gain in terms of fat, the physical sensation of bloating and increased scale weight can be misleading and contribute to concerns about body weight.

Melatonin vs CBD For Sleep

CBD and melatonin each have their unique characteristics, mechanisms of action, and potential advantages and disadvantages. Here, we explore the distinctions between melatonin and CBD in the context of promoting sleep.

Melatonin For Sleep


  • Natural Hormone: Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body, produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Quick Onset: Melatonin supplements typically have a rapid onset, making them effective for individuals who need a relatively quick solution for occasional sleep disturbances.
  • Well-Established Use: Melatonin has been widely studied and used for sleep-related issues, with a substantial body of research supporting its efficacy.


  • Dependency Concerns: There is a risk of dependence or desensitization to melatonin with prolonged use, potentially leading to decreased effectiveness.
  • Drowsiness: Some individuals may experience drowsiness or grogginess the next day, especially if the dosage is too high.

CBD For Sleep


  • Non-Psychoactive: Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce a “high” and is generally well-tolerated.
  • Anxiolytic Properties: CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, potentially benefiting individuals whose sleep issues are linked to anxiety or stress.
  • Diverse Forms: CBD is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, and edibles, offering flexibility for users to choose a method that suits them.


  • Limited Regulation: CBD products may vary in quality and consistency, as the industry is not yet fully regulated. This makes it crucial to choose reputable brands.
  • Interaction with Medications: CBD can interact with certain medications, so individuals taking prescription drugs should consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD.

Which Is Better?

Melatonin is scientifically proven and ideal for conditions like jet lag or melatonin deficiency. On the other hand, CBD, while lacking extensive research, excels in addressing sleep struggles related to pain, anxiety, or other secondary issues.

Safety is paramount, so choose based on your specific situation and consult your doctor for guidance. Melatonin may be preferable for its scientific backing, but CBD holds potential benefits for mental health conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional before trying a new supplement due to the possibility of misuse or overuse.

Tips For Better Sleep

While turning to CBD or melatonin is acceptable for sleep assistance, prioritizing natural sleep is preferable. Cultivating good sleep habits, also known as “sleep hygiene,” can significantly enhance your ability to achieve a restful night. Here are some effective habits to improve your sleep health.

  1. Prioritize Consistent Sleep Schedule – Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time to regulate your body’s internal clock, promoting a good night’s rest.
  2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine – Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.
  3. Optimize Sleep Environment – Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet for an ideal sleep environment. Invest in comfortable bedding and a quality mattress.
  4. Limit Screen Time Before Bed – Reduce exposure to screens at least an hour before bedtime as the blue light emitted can interfere with melatonin production, affecting your natural sleep-wake cycle.
  5. Evaluate CBD vs Melatonin – Consider whether CBD or melatonin aligns better with your specific sleep needs. CBD may be beneficial for addressing pain or anxiety, while melatonin is effective for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
  6. Be Mindful of Sleep Aids – Exercise caution with sleep aids, whether over-the-counter or prescription, and use them sparingly. Dependency can develop, and they may not address the root causes of sleep issues.
  7. Embrace Natural Sleep Remedies – Explore natural sleep remedies like herbal teas, such as chamomile or green tea, which can promote relaxation and contribute to better sleep quality.
  8. Limit Stimulants – Reduce caffeine and nicotine intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, as these stimulants can hinder your ability to fall asleep.
  9. Stay Active During the Day – Engage in regular physical activity, but aim to complete exercise sessions at least a few hours before bedtime to avoid increased alertness close to sleep.
  10. Manage Stress and Anxiety – Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to alleviate anxiety and promote a calm state conducive to improved sleep quality.

Remember, getting better sleep involves trying out different strategies. Give these tips a go to see what works for you, considering factors like sleep aids like CBD and melatonin and natural remedies for optimal sleep quality. If sleep issues persist, consulting your healthcare professional for personalized guidance is a good idea.


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2 Summer, J. (2023, June 21). Do melatonin gummies work? Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/melatonin/do-melatonin-gummies-work

3 Meng, X., Li, Y., Li, S., Zhou, Y., Gan, R. Y., Xu, D. P., & Li, H. B. (2017). Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin. Nutrients, 9(4), 367. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040367

4 Feng, X., Wang, M., Zhao, Y., Han, P., & Dai, Y. (2014). Melatonin from different fruit sources, functional roles, and analytical methods. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 37(1), 21–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2014.02.001

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8 Grinspoon, P. (2021, September 24). Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

9 CBD: What you need to know. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/featured-topics/cbd.html

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12 Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

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