I had been using melatonin to drift off to sleep for as long as I could remember, but when I heard about CBD and the benefits it can provide for runners, I switched to a hemp-derived ingestible oil in the form of a tincture. I quickly understood the difference between feeling tired and physically relaxed, enough to let go of built-up tension that probably comes from an intensive workout plan of cardio and strength six days a week.
Sleep and pain expert and chiropractor Andrew Kerklaan, DC, founder and CEO of Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics, can back me up: "CBD offers many potential benefits for athletic performance, starting with better sleep for that all important, quality recovery. It can reduce muscle tension to improve warmup, post-exercise cooldown, and recovery from intense training or injury."
"CBD cream offers good control over what you are putting in your body and how your body will respond."
But here's the thing: after a few months, I started to feel nauseous from ingesting an oil so close to bedtime, no matter how many different brands I tried. But Dr. Kerklaan makes a CBD cream that absorbs into the skin and can be rubbed onto the temples, forehead, jaw, neck, and shoulders — really, any areas I'm feeling particularly sore and want to get the benefits of some tension release before bed. Kerklaan worked with biochemists and formation experts to develop the product, and it has an added lavender scent, too, which is personally calming for me and does the opposite of make me feel queasy. I can confirm, after four to five months of use, my sleep quality is the same, if not better, and my energy when I wake up in the morning is high. I still feel just as ready to hit the ground running for a morning workout, and my joints never feel achy when I get up to start my day.
I'm not the only athlete Dr. Kerklaan has heard of who prefers cream over oil in order to avoid ingesting additional supplements or substances. CBD cream offers control over what you are putting in your body and how your body will respond (remember: you can continue to apply it little by little) and, if you're more prone to localized pain or injuries, you can also target specific areas.
Board-certified sports physical therapist Leada Malek, DPT, CSCS, explains: "As opposed to ingesting an oil, creams allow for targeted topical placements in order to soothe joint pain, reduce inflammatory skin reactions [like] eczema, and warm muscles."
If it's your first time trying CBD at all, it's important to note that creams offer results for mild to moderate stress-related sleep issues and help resolve minor aches and pains. But for anyone with severe sleep issues (which is not the case for me), ingesting CBD will probably provide you with the relief you're looking for. Dr. Kerklaan just reminds us not to overdo it. When CBD is taken in larger quantities, it can often trigger the opposite effect and will instead create a sense of alertness that may be good during the day, but not for bedtime. Personally, I prefer to ease myself into a quality night's rest by applying a small amount of cream to the temples, and adding more only if and where necessary.
Of course, CBD is not a one-size-fits-all experience, so read about its benefits and find the right dosage for you, depending on your intended use. If you're interested in transitioning to CBD cream, check out the one I use below, along with a few more options.