Last Updated 3.12.21. Original post 3.11.21 – Sleepless. It’s no longer merely a cliché, but a sobering state and rallying cry. The fact is most U.S. consumers are getting far less sleep than they used to and quickly tiring of the fight for a few additional ZZZs.
More than 85% of Americans don’t get enough sleep, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), which recommends seven hours or more of quality sleep nightly.
“The problem is far worse among African American and Hispanics who are underrepresented in the sleep market,” says Mike Luce, president of High Yields Insights, who reports that 84% of U.S. sleep treaters are white.
Sleep is definitely trending, says Larry Berg, the CEO of CBD Marketing Hub, a Cannabis and CBD marketing company. “We’ve been monitoring significant increases in sleep-related conversations — from social media channels, board and exam rooms to bedrooms — and it’s definitely a hot topic,” Berg says
Nearly 600,000 sleep-related Google searches were clocked monthly through the end of 2020, which has sleep specialists like Colorado-based pulmonologist Dr. Julie Whitaker slammed and struggling to keep pace with patient loads.
App developers are seeing increased demand for products that monitor and remediate sleep-related habits, according to a market report issued by 360 Market Update, which points to triple-digit growth in sleep apps in 2020.
The Calm app, developed with the help of sleep psychologists, was downloaded more than 50 million times through August 2020, according to a BioSpace report.
Sleep-deprived consumers elevated sleep-related prescriptions to an all-time high, according to a report from Express Scripts, which found a 14.8% increase in prescription medicine between mid-February and mid-March last year.
CBD and cannabis brands are reporting similar increases from consumers seeking more affordable and accessible options to address pandemic-related issues.
Collectively, Market Data Forecast projects the Sleep Market will grow 5.9% annually from $34.93 billion to 2020 to an estimated $46.5 billion by 2025.
EXPONENTIAL INTEREST IN CBD
Consumer interest is definitely on the rise, according to Josh Richman, the CMO of Receptra Naturals, who reports that since his company’s November 2020 introduction of Serious REST 25 Gummies the product line has outsold other product lines and now ranks as its top seller overall.
“Increases in insomnia and sleep issues have opened up the approachability of CBD for many consumers,” says CBDfx Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer Jameson Rodgers.
More than 58% of CBDfx customers purchased CBD for sleep related issues in the fourth quarter, according to Brightfield Group data.
CBD & CANNABIS SLEEP PRODUCT SALES SOAR
A High Yield Insights and InnovateMR study examining 4,177 current U.S.-based CBD consumers evidences the promise of the sleep-aid market.
Among key trends detailed in the US CBD Consumer Insights 2021 – CBD for Sleep Issues report is the fact that almost four in 10 CBD consumers — 10.6 million adults — buy CBD to manage insomnia or sleeplessness.
Women, who are statistically more likely to suffer from insomnia, represent 68% of the market versus men, who currently represent 32% of CBD users who utilize CBD to manage sleep.
“That statistic supports growing evidence of the need for and potential of expanding ethnic market share, particularly among Black and Hispanic consumers who represent only 8% and 10% respectively,” says Luce.
The CBD for Sleep Issues report reveals that 30% of Black CBD users are using CBD to treat sleep issues. Among Hispanics, use of CBD sleep product is slightly higher — 38%.
Although post-pandemic trends may shift, for now, CBD Sleep Treaters are more likely to buy from CBD brands and specialty shops versus big brand retailers, according to Luce.
The report reveals significant headroom in the category, particularly among new market entrants attracted by specific product benefits associated with sleep, anxiety and other need states.
“There’s significant evidence that consumers want to get away from prescription sleep remedies and reliance on synthetic OTC products,” says Luce. “Today, about 8% of adults (over 20 years of age) use sleeping pills, making them among the most commonly used medications in the U.S.”
Gummies provide an ideal entry point for many consumers, according to Kelsey Morrison, associate director of product development at Charlotte’s Web, who notes that “gummies” ranked as the third most searched term in the food category on Google at the time of Charlotte Web’s popular gummy launch in 2018.
Among pandemic-related newcomers, nearly 60% chose gummies as their first product trial, according to a High Yield Insights Supplement report.
STRESSED-OUT MILLENIALS DRIVE GROWTH
PureKana CEO Kathy Casey reports that stressed-out Millennials are responsible for the overwhelming share of consumer growth behind these trends, which contributed to a 14% increase in PureKana’s sleep product sales in the last half of 2020.
Together with Gen Z consumers, these stressed-out Millennials, accounted for 48% of the U.S. CBD market in the fourth quarter last year, according to High Yield Insights.
CBD brands like Mad Ritual are reaching this keyed-up consumer audience through events like its Virtual Facebook Live Slumber Party created to celebrate Sleep Night (3/19).
“We need to help more people relax and restore calm in their everyday lives,” says Mad Ritual Co-Founder Amy Maddocks. “With activities like our guided self-massage featuring our CBD balms and professionally led yoga classes, we’re building connections and extending care and compassion in the community.”
CANNABIS SALES SKYROCKET
Sleep-related cannabis sales are also soaring.
California-based Ganja Goddess reported a 635% increase in its sleep lines last year, according to its SVP of Marketing Heidi Genrich.
“Sleep, with the stress and uncertainty of our current world, is a huge concern right now,” says Genrich. “A lot of consumers are trying cannabis for the first time because they need help relaxing and want an alternative to alcohol and other pharmaceuticals.”
“Roughly 46% of regular marijuana users do so because of a medical condition, according to a study published Friday in the JAMA Open Network, compared to 22% who use marijuana for recreational purposes.”
NEW CANNABIS USERS NEED EDUCATION
Customer education is at the center of California-based Sunderstorm’s marketing efforts. The active lifestyle company’s two flagship cannabis products — Kanha and NANO5 Tranquility — are supported through efforts like its CBN and sleep-focused webinar, cohosted by Farmacy, as well as its budtender training and other interactive consumer education efforts.
“The entire marketplace benefits by consumer education efforts,” says Sunderstorm’s Co-Founder and President Keith Cich, who, like Receptra Naturals CMO Josh Richman, would like to see more industry emphasis on education.
Access is key, according to Brand Director Jessica Benchetrit of incredibles edibles, the maker of “Grandma Noni-inspired” incredibles line, which includes Snoozzzeberry + CBD Gummies introduced in August 2020 and its Snoozzzeberry + CBN 5:1 Chocalately Bar, launching in late March.
“Incredibles is dedicated to making cannabis more accessible whether by helping people find trustworthy information, leading educational courses, hosting dispensary vendor days or distributing digital and physical collateral. We aim to give consumers and budtenders the real science behind our products,” says Benchetrit.
Within four months of its market launch, Snoozzzeberry’s gummies climbed to the No. 1 selling infused gummy candy product of the fourth quarter in each of its four markets (Il, NV, MD, OH), according to BDS Analytics.
“Targeted cannabis products are at the nascent stage of consumer acceptance and stand to capture a significant portion of the market as a natural alternative for consumers,” says Sunderstorm’s Cich.
Dispensary activity is an early indicator of the trend, according to Laura Michelson, the director of marketing at PLUS, which launched its PLUS Sleep Cloudberry and PLUS CBN Relief Lychee gummies last fall.
“Our research shows that one of the top things consumers look for when they walk into a dispensary is something to help them sleep. That’s not a surprise given that nearly 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from insomnia,” Michelson says.
Dispensary menus categorize products based on their effect, and sleep is a common one, according to a Brightfield Group report. MedMen, which operates dispensaries across 7 U.S. states, allows shoppers to filter products by effect with “sleepy” as the first option.
The report reveals that more than 72% of cannabis users consume cannabis right before bed.
A recent study published in the journal of Sleep Medicine, which reported a 37% increase in clinical insomnia rates due to the pandemic are a part of the motivation that fuels the PLUS team’s dedication to extended educational efforts, according to Michelson.
With her company’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Ari Mackler, and sleep experts like Dr. Michael Breus, PLUS’ Marketing Director Laura Michelson has hosted a series of sleep webinars, in addition to supporting countless social media posts and data-based educational content promoting the importance of sleep. The company is elevating activities throughout Sleep Week (March 14 – 20) and will introduce consumers to its recently reformulated Sleep gummies that now contain a proprietary blend of 10 sleep-focused terpenes.
Leading brands like Elixinol are custom-blending product formulations to deliver even higher levels of relief.
“We were thoughtful when we formulated our Good Night line and took a research-backed approach to the amount of melatonin our products contain,” says Tom Sicilliano, CEO, Americas, at Elixinol, who notes the “blend matters.”
“There is a lot of data suggesting taking more than 5 mg of melatonin for the average person will likely result in grogginess and could even have the opposite effect and cause sleeplessness,” says Sicilliano.
“Regardless the product formulation, people need to understand the value of cannabinoids as well as the specific terpenes that help to promote sleep,” says Genrich, who is behind Ganja Goddess’ educational sleep series events throughout March, which is National Sleep Month.
The growing uncertainty, anxiety and associated sleep deprivation issues have kept sleep specialists like Dr. Julie Whitaker worried.
“We are not seeing everyone we should,” says Dr. Whitaker, who sees the need to elevate the understanding of the importance of sleep, particularly among Americans.
Our ‘do more, be more’ culture devalues sleep, according to the sleep specialist, who says that sleep is often shortchanged over work, family and other demands in the U.S.
“The pandemic has helped to elevate awareness of the importance of good sleep and has softened the momentum of ‘Sleep is for Suckers’ messaging,” adds Richman, who reports a definite shift in interest around better sleep, particularly among moms 40-50 years of age and 25-35 year-old millennials, Receptra Naturals’ largest growth segment.
Richman is particularly proud of his company’s ‘Forever 50 – 50% Off Everything’ commitment to veterans, known to experience higher levels of insomnia (57% veterans) than the general population (30%). Among veterans with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the rates are even higher — 93%, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs in San Diego.
Sleep specialists are particularly concerned about the stress levels in at-risk populations households, whose support needs are more imminent.
We live in a quick fix culture, according to Dr. Whitaker, who says oft times Americans look for an immediate cure for what ails them before making necessary behavioral shifts.
When it comes to sleep, routines are important, according to the specialist who recommends that patients develop healthy and consistent sleep routines, avoid consuming alcohol and OTC products known to disrupt sleep cycles, particularly antihistamines known to disrupt healthy sleep patterns.
In regard to other solutions, Dr. Whitaker says there’s “reasonable scientific evidence,” that CBD, particularly when combined with a small amount of THC, can help promote sleep.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found cannabidiol (CBD) improved the sleep quality and reduced nightmares of 38% of the participants, all of whom had PTSD.
LOST SLEEP IS A COSTLY CONDITION
Behind the trend, according to Human Resource experts at the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) is employer need to improve productivity and safety rates as well as employee health and wellbeing.
Insomnia is a costly condition, according to the Hartford Insurance Group, which reports that employees with an insomnia diagnosis have more than double the average health cost of those without one.
Ultimately, these moves are expected to lower health care costs, but it’s the human costs that keep most HR managers up at night.
Ironically, sleep doctors blame technology in part for bad sleep habits — particularly the smartphones and related apps that keep us constantly connected and stimulated.
The trends are also driving up interest in more natural solutions. according to Claire Morton Reynolds, a senior industry analyst at Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ).
“We’re seeing sleep and stress as the two biggest growth areas behind immunity,” says Morton.
A recent Gallup poll found that nearly half of the American population has medicinal benefits that have more consumers turning to supplements to get sleep relief.
Limited research suggests that CBD and cannabis as well as certain CBD and cannabis blends containing other beneficial ingredients like Melatonin can be effective against a number of ailments and does not have the side effects of its sister pharmaceuticals.
More health-advocacy foundations are stepping up producing CBD and cannabis guidance.
The first, the Arthritis Foundation’s 2019 CBD Guide, led the way. Its motivation? Overwhelming interest, according to Cindy McDaniel, the Foundation’s Senior Vice President, Consumer Health. McDaniel says the AF was buoyed by evidence that 79% of arthritic individuals surveyed currently use CBD, have used it in the past or are considering using it as an alternative therapy to help manage arthritis pain and related anxiety and sleep issues.
Such statements are as critical as they are unprecedented.
“It’s important that the Arthritis Foundation has taken a stand on CBD,” said Dr. Daniel Clauw, one of the foundation’s lead researchers and director of Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan. “Right now, it appears to be fairly safe and might help certain types of pain.”
The Arthritis Foundation partnered with CBD Marketing Hub, the U.S. Hemp Authority and its parent organization, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, to produce a special digital issue and related CBD School, CBD Shoppers Guide and Building Trust feature outlining the importance of product certification standards supported by the U.S. Hemp Authority’s seal.
The CTRs of the digital issue emailed to arthritic adults, rheumatologists and orthopedic specialists generated a CTR of more than 10%, which is five times higher than the industry average, according to Berg.
In regard to sleep associations, the American Sleep Association reports that CBD interacts with CBD receptors in the brain and increases the amount of anandamide circulating in your brain, indicating that cannabis may help induce sleep in people with insomnia, anxiety or post-traumatic stress.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says there is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with sleep disturbance associated with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found cannabidiol (CBD) improved the sleep quality and reduced nightmares of 38% of the participants, all of whom had PTSD.
Joseph Maroon, M.D., a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who has researched the effect of cannabis on the brain, says that CBD has properties that could help some people sleep better. Most notably, he says, it appears to ease anxiety and pain, both of which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep, according to a published statement in Consumer Reports.
Good sleep is essential. The more CBD and cannabis brands as well as other institutions help support this messaging the earlier America will return to a state of better health.
Editor’s Note: Author Jackie Berg is the publisher of the Health Hub, a publication division of CBD Marketing Hub, as well as the publisher of TheHUB Detroit, TheHUB Flint and recipient of the Association of Women in Communications 2018 Vanguard award. To learn more CBD Marketing Hub, a cultivator of CBD and cannabis clients, visit its website or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.