The majority of my patients come to the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging because they want to improve their health. Others have the specific goal of looking younger. But, the majority of women that I see want both.
I tell them the easiest, safest, and most effective way to increase their health span – and reverse the appearance of aging – is by continuously getting a good night’s sleep.
The long-term health effects of too little sleep are real – and lead to diabetes, heart disease, memory loss, depression, hypertension, a weakened immune system, obesity, and accidents.1 It can even age you at the DNA level.
But sleep deprivation also shows in your skin. It adds years to your age with dark under-eye circles, sunken cheeks, fine lines, and skin that sags into eventual deep wrinkles.
But as a regular reader, you know I never recommend Big Pharma’s sleep aids.
Every year, doctors prescribe prescription sedatives and over-the-counter sleep aids to the tune of $41 billion.2
But sleeping pills only give you 11 more minutes of sleep a night – and come with a long list of dangerous side effects.3,4
But here’s the good news. There is an all-natural alternative that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep – without any side effects. I’m talking about CBD’s little-known cousin, CBN.
Try This CBD Alternative
While it’s similar in many ways to CBD, CBN is proving to be a more powerful sleep agent because it interacts with special receptors in your body that cause sedation.
Anecdotal evidence shows CBN can help people fall and stay asleep even better than CBD. First-person accounts suggest just 5 mg of CBN can relax your body into falling asleep as effectively as 10 mg of diazepam, the ingredient in Valium – but without the groggy side effects.
And a recent animal study found CBN prolongs sleep cycles to keep you asleep longer.5
CBN is not a cannabinoid in and of itself. It is a product of THCA found in cannabis that has been exposed to air. Even though it’s a byproduct of THCA, CBN does not produce intoxicating effects.
It works by binding to CB1 receptors, but at only one-tenth the strength of THC.
But sleep isn’t the only health benefit of this cannabinol. Research shows CBN:
- Can relieve serious pain. A 2019 animal study found CBN provides analgesic relief for chronic muscle pain and fibromyalgia.6
- Acts as a powerful antibiotic. Early studies show CBN can prevent the spread of the gram-positive bacteria MRSA.7 It was especially effective at stopping the bacteria from growing on hard surfaces.
- May stop cancer growth. Promising research indicates CBN has the ability to slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. It works by preventing production of cytokine signaling molecules in the immune system. CBN was also found to reduce tumor size in lung cancer.8
If you want to give CBN a try, start with 5 to 10 mg 30 minutes before bedtime. But, I recommend combining it with a few other powerful sleep enhancers.
3 More All-Natural Ingredients That Help You Stay Asleep Longer
- Start with CBD. The Center for Applied Health Sciences found that otherwise healthy adults who took a CBD oil experienced a 22% improvement in sleep quality and a 21% improvement in sleep quantity.9 In another study, researchers followed 72 patients with sleep and anxiety-related disorders. After one month, 79% reported less anxiety, while 67% reported improved sleep.10
- Add 5-HTP. A naturally occurring amino acid, 5-HTP increases your body’s production of serotonin. Nicknamed the “happy hormone,” serotonin is mostly known for its role in relieving depression. But low levels are also linked to insomnia. Additional studies found that supplementing with 5-HTP reduced sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep interruption.11
- Before bed, take melatonin. Most supplements are10 mg. At such high levels, melatonin stops working or even causes insomnia. You don’t need more than 0.3 mg. And use an oral spray that hits your bloodstream faster. Also, applying melatonin topically to your face neutralizes free radical damage that ages skin.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem.” Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.
2. BBC Research. “Sleep Aids: Technologies and Global Markets.”
3. Stephanie Saul, “Sleep Drugs Found Only Mildly Effective, but Wildly Popular.” New York Times. October 23, 2007.
4. Kripke DF. Mortality Risk of Hypnotics: Strengths and Limits of Evidence. ResearchGate. Published November 13, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2021.
5. Breus, M. “How CBN Can Improve Your Sleep, Mood, and Health.”
6. Wong H, Cairns BE. Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. Arch Oral Biol. 2019 Aug;104:33-39.
7. M.A. Farha, et al., ACS Infect. Dis. 6, 338–346 (2020).
8. Robinson M. CBN: The cancer fighting cannabinoid. Arch Cancer Res. 2018. 6. DOI: 10.21767/2254-6081-C3-010.
9. CV Sciences, Inc. (2019, June 17). Effects of a CBD-containing supercritical fluid extract of hemp on markers of optimal wellness, stress resilience, and recovery in healthy subjects [Press release]. Retrieved from globenewswire.com/news- /2019/06/17/1869625/0/en/Groundbreaking-Research-Proves-Efficacy-of-PlusCBD-Oil-in-Sleep-Wellness-and-Weight-Loss-Applications.html.
10. Shannon S, et al. “Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series.” Perm J. 2019;23:18-041.
11. Manni R, Toscano. G., Terzahi. M. “Treatment of insomnia: effectiveness and tolerance of a valerian extract [in German].” Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2018. 20(7).