I've always been a night owl. I stay up too late, and then I'm still so wired when I climb into bed that I struggle to fall asleep. As much as I know I should make bigger changes to my evening routine, that's easier said than done — so, when some CBD and lavender products arrived on my doorstep (a perk of being a journalist), I was eager to try them out.
While the effects of cannabidiol on sleep aren't well-researched, many people find that taking CBD helps ease stress and anxiety, which in turn helps them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Though a tincture is probably the most common way to take CBD before bed, I was most drawn to the topical products I received that combine CBD with lavender: Bluegrass Hemp Oil Calming Balm With Genesis Blend ($35), which is infused with both lavender and lemongrass, and Floyd's of Leadville Full-Spectrum Lavender Balm ($25 - $59), which is formulated to soothe sore muscles as well. I work out a lot, so my muscles are always achy, and I knew lavender oil can also be beneficial for sleep. "Studies suggest that lavender offers calming and soothing properties that can help reduce stress, which definitely helps to soothe you to sleep," explained Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD — that's why people sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil on their pillow before bed. In fact, lavender has even been shown to improve insomnia, though more research is needed.
Armed with that knowledge, I set out to test that theory for myself. Every night, about an hour before I wanted to go to bed (apparently that's how long it takes for topicals to set), I lathered one of the balms on my body, got into my comfy PJs, and popped a squat on the couch, waiting for the effects of the CBD and lavender to kick in.
And let me tell you, I did feel totally relaxed, so much so that I shut off Netflix about 10 to 15 minutes after the balms kicked in, so I could brush my teeth and hop right into bed. Nix that — I actually walked very, very slowly to my bed. Suddenly, I had gone from being stimulated from television and sushi and ice cream to feeling calm, happy, and exhausted. Plus, I slept throughout the night and didn't wake up groggy the next morning.
While both balms smelled wonderful and had a smooth, creamy texture on my skin, and both made me feel drowsy, I did get sleepier a bit faster with the Floyd's of Leadville, probably because it had a stronger concentration of CBD (600mg). Either way, it seemed to me that CBD and lavender may be more powerful together than they could ever be alone. So, if you're struggling to tucker yourself out at night and can't afford to wind down for hours before bed, you might want to give this dynamic duo a try.