Can Marijuana Help with Your Sleep Problems?
We’ve all known at least one person who swears by cannabis when it comes to sleeping aids, and since it’s become legal many scientists have taken to investigate the claim. What have they found? In a nutshell, that we need more studies. There’s nothing conclusive.
Let’s take a look at the science and leave the anecdotal evidence behind. First of all, not every strain of marijuana could help with sleeping problems. It’s best to look for strains high on THC, which is actually the cannabinoid that causes “the high” but it also makes most people feel sleepy and it helps avoid REM sleep, also known as the sleep state in which humans dream and the less we dream the more time we spend in actual “deep sleep”. Second of all, long-term use might actually negatively affect sleep patterns.
Though evidence is inconclusive, one study from the University of Michigan found that daily marijuana users actually have more sleeping problems than non-users or sporadic users. So the trick might be to use marijuana intermittently as a sleeping aid, but then we run into another issue, dosage. So far no one has study how dosage affects sleep. Even if you wanted to keep within safe amounts to avoid more sleeping problems, you wouldn’t know how much that is because it hasn’t been studied yet. Experimenting might not be the best option either as withdrawal symptoms do occur and they can make the original problem much worse.
In terms of science, what we do know is not nearly enough to recommend marijuana indiscriminately to everyone with a sleep disorder, nor is it enough to completely discount marijuana as a sleep aid. In the meantime, you might be better off trying other proven ways to help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Develop a routine: Your body has a natural rhythm and you need to be in sync with it if you want peaceful sleep and daytime alertness. If you go to bed at different times every day, your body has to adjust its internal clock every time. However, if you have a set time to go to bed, your body syncs up to it pretty fast and starts working the way it should, this means you have no trouble falling asleep, wake up without an alarm, and spend all day feeling alert and energized.
- Avoid blue screens: The blue lights coming from your phone, tablet, or laptop, can make you feel alert. Using them right before going to bed, is just setting yourself up for a few hours of tossing and turning.
- Exercise: This is bad news for couch potatoes everywhere, exercise can greatly improve your restorative sleep time, get rid of both insomnia and sleep apnea, and even make you feel more alert and energetic throughout the day.
- No caffeine after 6 pm: Say goodbye to your after-dinner coffee. If you have trouble sleeping, you have to stop ingesting caffeine in the afternoon like yesterday. In fact, if you’re serious about getting a good night’s sleep, forgo coffee altogether or limit your caffeine intake to just one cup early in the morning, the side effects of coffee can last up to 12 hours.