Ever since college, many of my dreams have been anything but sweet. Though my body requires eight to nine hours of shut-eye for me to feel even remotely human the next day, I often struggle to get that because of recurring nightmares brought on by my generalized anxiety disorder. Instead of counting sheep, I'm running through mental checklists and listening to my heart race.
Knowing how important it is to get a good night's sleep, I began the fight for my eight hours. I tried deep breathing and meditation, as well as not eating three hours before bed and avoiding caffeine after 3 p.m. I discovered that over-the-counter sleep aids are not my thing — they just left me feeling groggy and hungover the next morning. Nothing was working.
Melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating the body's circadian rhythm, is often touted as the go-to supplement for sleep. However, I found myself waking up like clockwork about four hours after I'd taken it. CBD, on the other hand — which is one of my go-tos for stress relief — didn't necessarily cut it on its own, either. And while I was a fan of small doses of THC while living in Colorado, my new home state of Florida hasn't legalized weed, which forced me to examine other options in my sleep-improvement search.
Enter: Uleva Sleep ($20), which blends the circadian-regulating effects of melatonin with the balancing effects of CBD. It's a one-two punch for restless nights that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. And because it comes in a convenient capsule, you don't have to worry about messy oil tinctures. Each capsule contains 10 mg of CBD and 3 mg of melatonin, a dose I've found quite effective for warding off the monsters that keep me up at night.
Though research is limited, CBD may assist in promoting sleep not only by easing stress but also because it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which may help to regulate sleep cycles. While CBD is one of the trendiest supplements on the market, it's important to remember that it isn't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration — meaning, you have to make sure any products you buy are tested for purity and that the doses listed on the label are accurate. Uleva's hemp is grown without pesticides or herbicides, and the brand's products go through strict third-party testing to comply with the legal standard of no greater than 0.3 percent THC in each serving. Testing results are linked to the QR code on each box, which helped reassure me that this is a product I can trust.
Though at first I was skeptical of taking another melatonin or CBD product — I feel like I'm constantly experimenting with sleep solutions involving the two — I finally tried again. I decided to commit to a week of a clean sleep routine. I went to bed at the same time every night, read before bed to wind down, and kept my room a screen-free zone, along with consistently taking Uleva Sleep about 30 minutes before bedtime.
My results? A near-perfect week of sleep. Call it magic, but after drifting off to dreamland within 30 minutes or so of closing my eyes, I slept all the way through the night, nightmare- and anxiety-free. No midnight wake-ups, no groggy morning after. So if you find yourself searching the pasture for sheep to count, a CBD-melatonin combination may be just what you need to complete your restful nighttime routine.