Cannabis can be a helpful sleep aid to those who need a little extra something to fall asleep and stay asleep. That’s why many cannabis users keep their favorite strain by their bedside. Although it can help you relax and fall asleep faster, there are effects that can hinder your sleep rather than help it.
Here’s what you should know about your herbal nightcap:
Knock Out Faster
Did you know cannabis consumption can help you fall asleep faster? It helps alleviate the stress from the day and helps you enter a deeper state of relaxation. It has the ability to shut your brain “off” and is especially helpful for those who are dealing with pain, PTSD, insomnia or multiple sclerosis which can all cause trouble falling and staying asleep. Edibles are the best delivery method for those who have trouble staying asleep, but keep in mind, they take longer to kick in than inhalation methods and need to be taken earlier in the evening to get the full effects.
Go the Natural Route
Natural remedies can help maximize cannabis’ sleepy effects. Pairing your favorite strain with other natural sleep aids can make for a more restful night’s sleep. Hops, chamomile and lavender are all important terpenes that pair well with your cannabis nightcap. Try a cup of chamomile tea before bed, paired with your nightcap. Similarly, supplements like melatonin, 5-HTP and Valerian root are all natural, relaxing supplements that on their own can assist with a restful night’s sleep.
The Herbal “Hangover”
No this isn’t a hangover that would leave you hunched over the toilet or unable to get out of bed, but it can leave you feeling groggier than normal. Nighttime cannabis use can cause mild “hangovers” that can leave you feeling foggy, light-headed, lethargic, dry-eyed or congested. The best thing you can do is nurse it like any other alcohol-related hangover – with water, exercise, vitamins, etc. Consuming cannabis earlier in the evening can also prevent your herbal hangover.
As you may or may not know, dreams occur during the final stage of your sleep cycle called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. However, cannabis is proven to inhibit REM sleep and dreaming which is also a reason you may experience the herbal “hangover” as you aren’t getting a full night’s rest. Cannabis use at bedtime is shown to reduce the time spent in REM, which means you won’t have as many dreams or as many vivid dreams. That being said, halting long-term cannabis use means you may enter into “REM rebound” where you tend to have more dreams that are more lucid.
If you are a long-term cannabis user and often need its helpful effects to fall and stay asleep, taking a tolerance break or cutting it out completely could worsen your sleep. Discontinuing long-term use is led to shorter sleep time, less slow wave sleep, worse sleep efficiency, longer sleep onset, shorter REM cycles, and more sleep disruption. You may find you’re tossing and turning, waking up earlier or feeling groggy in the morning. This may mean you need a different natural sleep aid to help you get to sleep.
Cannabis can be both helpful and a hinderance to your nightly routine. You may find you need an extra boost of relaxation in getting to sleep, but cannabis is still a wonderful herbal nightcap that can help you get to sleep.
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