by Deb Powers
What do you do when you can’t fall asleep? If your answer is “I get high,” you’re not alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, about 70% of young adults who sometimes use cannabis — and 85% of people who use medical marijuana — say that it helps them sleep.
So if you’re thinking of using weed for sleep, here’s what you should know to help you make the best choices.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
Before we get into how to use cannabis for sleep, let’s cover some basics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults need between 7 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night. But are they getting that sleep? The CDC says that more than 35% of adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. And even if you’re getting enough hours of sleep, you also need to be getting enough of the right kind of sleep.
What You Need to Know About Sleep Cycles
- Duration: 1 to 2 minutes
- What’s happening: your body is relaxing
- Notes: easy to wake up
- Duration: 10 to 60 minutes
- What’s happening: you’re settling into sleep
- Notes: 50% of sleep time
- Duration: 20 to 40 minutes
- What’s happening: deep sleep
- Notes: essential for health
- Duration: 10 to 60 minutes
- What’s happening: REM sleep
- Notes: dreaming sleep
Sleep experts use the term “sleep architecture” to describe these stages. Ideally, you go through all four stages in order — a sleep cycle — about 4 to 5 times each night. If something happens to interrupt those cycles, you may wake up still feeling groggy even if you think you got a full night’s sleep.
There are different things happening in your brain during each stage of sleep. Sleep experts believe that deep sleep, also called delta sleep, gives your body time to repair and restore itself. It also may boost your immune system, and help with creative thinking. REM sleep, or dreaming sleep, is important for learning, memory, and creativity.
What Happens When You Sleep High?
Researchers believe that when you use cannabis in any form before you sleep, it can have an effect on your sleep architecture. Those effects can be different depending on how often you use it and how much you use.
Research shows cannabis can cause…
- You to spend less time in REM sleep, which may reduce the number and intensity of your dreams.
- You spend more time in deep sleep, which may help you wake up feeling more rested.
What You Should Know About Weed and Sleep
- The research is sketchy. For decades, it’s been hard to do any research on cannabis in the United States. A lot of the research out there was done before many of today’s strains were available. In addition, a lot of the researchers used THC or CBD isolates, but cannabis is a lot more than just those two cannabinoids.
- Different strains of weed have different effects. Indica strains are usually considered the best strains of all time for sleep because they tend to relax you. However, everyone’s body is different, so there is no single best indica strain for sleep. The best strains for sleep, however, do include both THC and CBD.
- Cannabis shares a lot of terpenes with other natural herbal remedies. Some recent research suggests that cannabinoids and terpenes may work together to improve the effects of both. This is the entourage effect, which is usually used to explain why whole bud works better than isolated cannabinoids. The entourage effect may also work across different plants in plant-based remedies. This means that a product featuring only THC or CBD extract may not send you off into dreamland as well as a product that features the full spectrum of cannabinoids would.
- Weed may support better sleep by making you feel better, emotionally and physically. It may help with specific conditions that make it hard to fall asleep or that disturb your sleep.
- The timing of when you take cannabis makes a difference. Remember that edibles take longer to kick in, but the effects last longer, for example. Consider that when creating wellness rituals to help you settle in for a good night’s sleep.
Supporting Better Sleep with Plant-based Remedies
People have been using plant-based remedies to help with sleep for thousands of years. Some of the most common herbs used in traditional sleep remedies include:
Each of these plants is high in terpenes that help support healthy sleep in different ways. Many of those terpenes are also found in cannabis — they’re what give different strains their characteristic taste and scent profile.
The Root Of It All’s STOP for sleeping infused essential tincture oil combines the sleep benefits of THC and CBD with traditional Ayurvedic plant formulas to support healthy sleep. We also use functional flavorings rather than the artificial flavors and sugars often used in edibles. The easy-to-use tincture drops allow you to customize how you use them to best fit your own routine — dropped under your tongue for immediate relaxation, or added to a cup of bedtime tea to relax you more slowly and ease you into sleep.
Good sleep is vital for your health, both emotional and physical. The Root Of It All’s STOP is an important part of our range of all-natural plant-based remedies to support your health and active lifestyle.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about herbal remedies, cannabis, and other wellness topics for more than 20 years.
Sleep Advisor-Marijuana and Sleep – Does It Help You Sleep Better?
Centers for Disease Control – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
National Institutes for Health – Good Sleep for Good Health
Centers for Disease Control – Data and Statistics – Sleep and Sleep Disorders
National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke – Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep
University of Pennsylvania – Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep