Weed & Sleep: 5 Things to Know About Your Cannabis Nightcap

Some days I wake up tired or groggy – well, that’s pretty much every day. The first thing I do every morning is make my morning brew, between 2-3 cups of black coffee which wakes me up and provides clarity and focus on the lens of my day. You could even say that coffee is what puts a smile on my face. It’s an enjoyable habit, and I can easily say I’m addicted to the aromatic black liquid.

A few hours later, when the caffeine high wears off though, I drag myself through the rest of the day. The evening comes and I feel sleepy and even a little depressed so I drink alcohol; and one drink leads to two and more. After imbibing too much I hit the sack, falling asleep right away, but then wake up in the middle of the night wide awake, so I lie helpless as my monkey mind run away from me. In the morning I need coffee, and so the cycle continues!

Welcome to modern life. And, welcome to the lives of 50 to 70 million U.S. adults who experience symptoms of a sleep disorder, or the about 40 million Americans who experience insomnia every year.

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Kiva’s Terra CBN Milk and Cookies: A natural night time sleep aid

Often, the substances we rely on to wake us up or to help us fall to sleep, whether that be coffee, alcohol, or others, can be blamed for poor quality of sleep. Coffee is a great example of a stimulant that helps us wake up, but also keeps us from achieving a proper night’s sleep. Alcohol is a great example of a depressant, which can help us relax and take our mind off the day, but which also interrupts a good night’s rest.

Why We Need a Good Sleep

Sleep is as important to our health and wellbeing as diet and exercise. While modern life isn’t conducive to good sleep patterns, we can improve them by imposing a regular schedule, with adequate shut-eye hours. Staying active during the day, avoiding alcohol, and minimizing screen time at night can help us get a good night of Zzzzzs.

By getting enough sleep (seven to 10 hours for teens and adults), we receive benefits such as:

  • Boosting our productivity and concentration
  • Consuming fewer calories during the day
  • Achieving better athletic performance
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Gaining more social and emotional intelligence
  • Preventing depression
  • Lowering inflammation
  • Improving the immune system

Don’t Overdo Caffeine, Alcohol and Sleeping Pills

Our morning cup of coffee or tea, wakes us up with a caffeine boost. Caffeine works in two ways:

  • It prevents your brain cells from signaling that you’re tired.
  • It causes your body to release other natural stimulants and boosts their effects.
    The end result of caffeine’s effect on the brain is feelings of alertness, well-being, concentration, self-confidence, sociability and motivation to work.
    While it may wake us during the day, it can play havoc on our sleep if we take too much too late. It can increase the time it takes to get asleep, and reduce the amount of deep sleep we get. And the feeling of wakefulness we have with that first cup in the morning may be a sign of caffeine dependence and ending the withdrawal you are experiencing from not having coffee through the night.

To get to sleep at night we may try over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription sleeping pills. While these may work for a short-term sleep problem, if you use them constantly, you will probably develop a tolerance that prevents them from working well or at all. And some sleeping pills have the undesirable effect of making us feel groggy the next morning.

Research shows that consuming alcohol before sleep can disturb your sleep quality and quantity. Because alcohol metabolizes quickly, it may divide your sleep into two parts: The first part of the night you can sleep alright, with an increase in non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, but in the second part of the night sleep can be interrupted with lots of wake-ups and increased REM sleep and dreaming — this is why you often feel fatigued in the morning.

Marijuana as a Natural Sleeping Aid

Not all substances which help us achieve a proper night’s rest are bad. Some substances, , such as marijuana, can be used as natural and effective sleep aids. When consumed properly, cannabis can enhance one’s ability to fall asleep as well as stay asleep, without causing an endless cycle of sleep disturbance on the other side.

“Marijuana is an effective sleep aid because it restores a person’s natural sleep cycle, which so often falls out of sync with our schedules in today’s modern lifestyle,” says Dr. Matt Roman, a medical marijuana physician, in a Healthline article.

Most people consume THC in order to go to sleep. In some instances, people find CBD to be a potent relaxant, although in some cases it may keep you awake. Another cannabinoid which is now getting a lot of attention is CBN. Research is now pointing to CBN as the most sedative out of all the compounds in cannabis. CBN was discovered recently from decomposed THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis).

Five Ways Marijuana Can Help You Sleep Better

That weed could be a sleep aid is common sense for anyone who has experienced couch-lock after consuming a nice relaxing strain of potent indica.

Here are five ways marijuana can help you achieve a good night’s rest:

  1. Triggers ECS Receptors
    Cannabis works by triggering receptors in our endocannabinoid systems (ECS), helping to regulate hormones, immunity, pain, hunger and, yes, sleep. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in marijuana plants, which help have medicinal and therapeutic effects. Two of the cannabinoids that are well-known for inducing a sleep-filled night are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

  2. THC Makes Your Eyelids Heavy
    THC, more than CBD, makes us sleepy, so you want a strain of weed that has a high percentage of THC. It usually reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. Reducing REM sleep means reducing dreams — and for those who experience PTSD, it could mean cutting back on sleep-disturbing nightmares. If you spend less time dreaming, then you may spend more time in a deep sleep.

  3. Changes Your Sleep Cycle
    Using cannabis can change your sleep cycle, so you need to use it carefully, so it doesn’t interrupt sleep patterns in a bad way. Some medical professionals suggest, for example, capping the amount of THC in your cannabis nightcap at 20%. Going over this amount gives you a powerful dose that may hinder, not help, your quest for better sleep.

  4. A Little Bit Goes a Long Way
    One way to enjoy the therapeutic effects of weed is by microdosing. This is taking cannabis with a lower dose of a specific cannabinoid (often one to three milligrams), such as THC, so that it works in the background.

You don’t necessarily feel it physiologically but get the enhancement, such as better sleep. This approach is particularly good for people who don’t want to feel the “high” often associated with some strains of weed. Microdosing usually works best if you use cannabis from licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, which strictly regulate and reveal the amounts of cannabinoids in their products.

  1. Be Wary of Edibles at Night
    Weed edibles are wonderful but they can take longer to kick in. This may leave you tossing and turning for a couple of hours at night before they start to work and then make you feel punchy in the morning with their lingering effects. Again, a little can go a long way. If you’re new to cannabis, try an edible that has 2.5 mg of THC or less. Titrate the dosage upwards night by night until you find the right amount for your system.

Need Your Medical Marijuana Card?

If you want to buy medical cannabis in a state where it is allowed, you’ll need to get a medical marijuana card. HelloMD can help you with online virtual medical consultation and get your medical card fast, easy and private.

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