Sleeping well and getting at least seven hours rest a night isn’t always something you can do at every age.
Contemporary lifestyles devote too little time to sleep. This is due to the excessive amount of activities we do, often until late at night, while the frequent, compulsive, and excessive use of devices like smartphones, tablets, computers and MP3 players, in addition to the old, but still widely used television (especially by adults and elderly people), make sleep almost always insufficient, both from the quantitative and qualitative point of view.
Even the habit of consuming the main meal of the day in the evening, often shortly before bedtime, negatively affects sleep because it would be better to go to sleep with digestion almost finished. This way there can be greater blood flow to the brain to carry out the important metabolic functions activated during sleep. Moreover, in the evening, you shouldn’t take stimulant drinks containing caffeine and theine and other energising substances, which people, especially the youngest, consume in large quantities, often at dinner or, in any case, at night.
Moreover, even alcohol, which is almost always consumed in concentration in the evening hours, and especially at dinner and after dinner, can very negatively impair balanced and restorative sleep. Unfortunately, many people believe that they can use alcohol as a self-medication for insomnia but, in this case, the remedy is worse than the problem. Although it’s true that an alcoholic drink makes you sleepy and facilitates sleep, it should be emphasised that sleep achieved this way is not at all physiological and restorative. This is because you will wake up In the middle of the night with a dry mouth, an accelerated heart rate and a strong sense of restlessness that will make it difficult to fall back to sleep.
However, good sleep is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. During sleep, multiple processes of maintenance and restoration take place, both for the brain and the mind. As for the brain, it’s specifically during sleep that many substances that form the final product of brain metabolism are catabolised and removed. In short, what’s observed in large corporate offices happens in the brain at night. The crucial processes of maintenance, repair and cleaning are carried out, so that, the next morning, all systems are well maintained and ready to be used to the best of their ability. As far as the mind is concerned, sleep serves to correctly process, reorder, store or discard all the information accumulated during the day. Using a computer metaphor, we can say that, during sleep, both the hardware, i.e., the brain, and the software, i.e., the mind, undergo the necessary maintenance to restart, clean and restore their efficiency for the next morning.
As previously stated, today we generally sleep little and badly but, if we talk about the real sleep disorders, like insomnia, the numbers are very alarming.
Indeed, the epidemiological data underlines how it affects up to a third of the planet’s population. Additionally, about 10% of the Earth’s population will suffer from some form of clinical sleep disorder that prompts them to consult a doctor. We’re therefore talking of around about 800 million people who are a massive target for the sale of pharmaceutical, parapharmaceutical, nutraceutical and homeopathic products, which often only have a placebo effect that still ensures that the manufacturers make multibillion dollar earnings. According to the World Health Organization, insomnia ranks 11th on the list of the most common and debilitating nervous disorders. In Europe, it’s estimated that about 7–10% of the population with very high socioeconomic importance is afflicted (Hoyos, Glozier, Marshall, 2015).
According to information provided by the Italian Association for Sleep Medicine, in Italy, one in four adults suffer from insomnia: that’s 25% of the population. Compared to men, women seem to be more affected by this clinical problem, with a share of 60%. 20% of cases involve children and minors. That means about fifteen million people don’t rest well, with all the negative consequences that this disorder entails, seriously compromising the person’s overall state of health.
To date, the response to this enormous human health problem has unfortunately been mostly inadequate and almost exclusively based on the prescription of hypnotic drugs, usually benzodiazepine-type drugs, or hormonal drugs like melatonin or plant extracts, or nutraceutical or homeopathic drugs, which ultimately prove to be a useless and expensive placebo.
Taking drugs that improve the quality of sleep, without changing your lifestyle and eliminating the causes of insomnia once and for all is definitely not a good practice.
Like the treatment of any other nervous disorder, the treatment of insomnia must be complex and integrated, and above all based on psychoeducation and psychotherapy. Hypnotic pharmacological remedies should only be used for short periods and under specialist supervision.
At the ALETEIA Clinical Centre, I have developed an integrated protocol for the treatment of insomnia, which I have called Morpheus, based on psychoeducation, complex cognitive psychotherapy and only the temporary management of insomnia via tactical interventions and pharmacological interventions with benzodiazepines and, more recently, cannabidiol, where I have developed a nanometric liposomal formula with high bioavailability, available in water-soluble drops, which I have called NegEnt (see: https://www.herbalneurocare.com).
Recent scientific reviews on the use of cannabidiol in the treatment of insomnia, such as the one carried out in 2022 by Gutierrez-Higueras and Collaborators, have shown that cannabidiol, administered in the appropriate form and doses, significantly improves sleep quality, constituting a remedy for the treatment of insomnia that is effective and free of side effects.
Recently with insomnia I have experimented with liposomal cannabidiol formulations that I have made as a hypnotic that are called NegEnt drops. However, this is always done in the context of integrated, pharmacological protocols, and, above all, psychotherapeutic and rehabilitative ones (Scrimali, 2021).
For adult subjects, I used 5 drops of NegEnt (equalling 50 mg of liposomal cannabidiol with high bioavailability, dispersed in half a glass of water, taken before going to bed). In many patients, this administration ensured seven hours of physiological and restorative sleep, without adverse effects in the morning. Treated patients have all woken up well rested, alert and full of energy, and able to start a new day positively. Even in advanced age, NegEnt improved sleep without any side effects (Scrimali, 2022).
In addition to this, it can be very useful to use an ultrasonic diffuser at night to promote night rest, putting 5 drops of NegEnt in the 500 ml tank. Humidifying the bedroom via steam, which carries nanometric liposomal droplets of NegEnt through the air improves breathing, decongesting the respiratory tract lowering inflammation in the lungs, especially if bronchopathies are present. Using NegEnt via a diffuser as nocturnal inhaled aromatherapy significantly decreases snoring, promoting better oxygenation of the lungs and the entire body, including the brain, which will then function better. Strong scientific evidence shows that poor sleep predisposes subjects to a higher risk of dementia.
Cannabidiol and especially NegEnt, which, thanks to its innovative water-soluble nanometric liposomal formulation, exhibits a very high bioavailability, both ingested before going to bed and inhaled at night, in the form of aromatherapy, therefore form, in combination with psychotherapy, a safe, effective, and side effect free remedy for insomnia, a true modern turn for humanity’s health.
Gutierrez-Higueras T. et al. (2022). Cannabidiol (CBD) and Insomnia: Literature review. European Psychiatry, Cambridge University Press.
Hoyos, C, Glozier, N, Marshall, N.S. (2015). Recent Evidence on Worldwide Trends on Sleep Duration. Current Sleep Medicine Reports. Volume 1, 195–204.
Scrimali, T. (2020). NegEnt: A cannabidiol-based herbal medicine. Theoretical aspects, pharmacology, clinical and research perspectives, economic and social implications. International Journal of Herbal Medicine, 8(5): 143-151
Scrimali T. (2021). NegEnt. Cannabidiolo liposomiale in medicina umana e veterinaria (Liposomal cannabidiol in human and veterinary medicine). ALETEIA Publisher, Enna.