Many believe that marijuana can be a sleep aid. They claim that if you are suffering from sleep disorders, using marijuana for sleep may help you to sleep better.
But should marijuana be used when you have sleeping problems? What happens when you sleep high? Read on as we explore the research.
Falling Asleep When You Are High – Is It Easy To Enter a Deep Sleep?
Alright. So you are high. What is going to happen when you lay down in that bed? Is marijuana going to help you sleep right away, or will you be laying there for hours on end, hoping that eventually, your brain will drift off into the land of nod?
Well, this isn’t something that is all that easy to answer. Some people claim that they sleep quicker when they use marijuana before sleeping, while others claim that they lay wide awake when they are sleeping high.
The Type Of Marijuana You Should Use To Improve Sleep
Before we go any further, we want to point out that if you are planning on dealing with sleep problems with marijuana, you must use marijuana from the Indica plant.
You should avoid any product containing the Sativa strain of marijuana, at least if the whole reason you are buying the product is sleep marijuana.
The reason for this is that Indica contains higher levels of THC. It is the THC that has a relaxing effect on a person. On the other hand, Sativa contains higher levels of CBD, which acts more as an energy booster.
First-Time Marijuana User
Generally speaking, first-time marijuana users will fall asleep a little slower.
Evidence shows that those new to using marijuana feel more of an energy boost from the THC, a compound usually a relaxant.
This is an issue that tends to clear up rather quickly. Many suggest that you do not attempt to use marijuana as one of your natural sleep aids until you are used to using marijuana throughout the day.
There are some people who marijuana will never agree with. Unfortunately, this means that they will get absolutely no benefit from using marijuana, and they may want to look into other natural sleep aids instead, or maybe even actual proper sleeping pills (under prescription).
Regularly Using Marijuana To Sleep
If you have been consuming marijuana regularly, then you may find that you start to feel sleepy almost as soon as you get into bed. Not only will you fall asleep faster, but you may find that you enter deep sleep in a couple of minutes. In addition, as you will see shortly, you will often have better sleep quality too.
We need to point out that things may be slightly different for heavy marijuana users. Some studies show that heavy marijuana use hurts the brain, making it tricky to fall asleep at night.
That said, if you are only using marijuana for sleep, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You won’t be getting high anywhere near regularly enough for your brain chemistry to be messed up.
Why Marijuana Works As a Sleep Aid
Currently, there hasn’t been a considerable number of studies on sleeping while high. Although, this is something that probably makes a lot of sense. Marijuana has only started to become legal in many states, so there hasn’t been much scope for carrying out research.
Researchers do believe that smoking marijuana will increase the level of adenosine in the brain. Research suggests that this organic chemical improves sleep by reducing arousal levels. As a result, you are going to be less distracted by stimuli.
Sleep Quality When You Are High – Does REM Sleep Improve?
If you are falling asleep while high, then REM sleep will decrease. To understand the importance of this, we will have to explain the sleep cycle to you.
The Sleep Cycle
There are four stages in the sleep cycle, and your body will cycle through the latter three stages all the time you are asleep. These cycles do not change when you fall asleep high, but their length may change slightly. We will discuss more of that as we go on.
The falling asleep process is pretty easy to understand. You close your eyes, and you slowly drift off to sleep.
On average, it will take 5-10 minutes to fall asleep. If you are high, then this is a process that may happen a little bit faster.
Light sleep follows shortly after. You will be in the light sleep stage for about 20-25 minutes.
Marijuana isn’t going to impact light sleep all that much. That being said, it is likely that further studies may need to be carried out on this. A slight chance of falling asleep while high may progress somebody through the light sleep stage quicker.
This is also known as slow-wave sleep.
When you are in a deep sleep, you are at the heaviest point of your sleeping cycle. So if somebody tried to wake you up at this point, then it would be tough.
It is during deep sleep that your body gets to relax. This is when your brain switches off a little bit, and various growth and repair processes happen within your body.
It doesn’t feel great if you are woken up at this stage. However, if you have ever woken up feeling groggy, you may wake up during deep sleep.
When you sleep high, you will be in a deep sleep a lot more often. This has pros and cons, which we will discuss later on.
Poor slow wave sleep has been linked to poor sleep.
REM sleep happens about 90-minutes into your sleeping in a normal situation. It was last about 10-minutes, and then you will be sent through the sleep cycle again.
Each time you enter REM sleep, it will become slightly longer.
REM is when you dream. This is when your brain processes the information that you received that day. REM is vital for improving memories.
If you fall asleep while high, then there is a chance that you will end up with less REM sleep, which can pose a couple of problems. However, it may also have a few benefits when you finally wake up.
The Impact Of Reduced REM Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep apnea appears when you are in REM sleep. Therefore, reducing REM sleep may benefit those who suffer from sleep apnea.
On the other hand, you won’t be dreaming as when you have less REM sleep. This means that your brain isn’t processing what you have done that day, and studies have indicated that less REM sleep can result in poorer memory formation.
This isn’t the only thing that you need to worry about either. While falling asleep high will inhibit dreaming, if you are a long-term marijuana user and suddenly stop using, your dreams will become much more frequent and intense. This will reduce your deep sleep.
However, because you will be in a deep sleep for longer, many people find their rest much more fulfilling. Many people falling asleep while high claim they have had the best sleep. It is unlikely that this is sustainable in the long term.
Waking Up After Sleeping While High
This is where things may start to get a little bit unpredictable. It may differ from sleep to sleep. Sometimes you may experience positive effects when you wake up after sleeping high, and other times there may be adverse effects.
It is generally agreed that falling asleep will be much easier, and you will dream less. However, waking up gives real problems. We will walk you through what you may experience, but bear in mind that this will be an experience that varies between people.
Generally speaking, the higher you are when falling asleep, the more likely you will experience the adverse effects.
Because you are going to be in the deep sleep phase for a lot longer, there is a chance that you may wake up feeling a lot more refreshed. But, again, this is because your brain and body are getting that time to relax.
Since you are not dreaming as much, there may be issues there. However, let’s put that part to one side. It may take a long time to fall asleep while high for you to experience any adverse effects.
The adverse effects are much more varied.
Those that fall asleep while incredibly high often report that they wake up feeling groggy. There is some belief that marijuana impacts the quality of sleep.
Some people have suggested that a person would have to be asleep for several hours for the impact of the marijuana to wear off. However, before the marijuana wears off, those sleeping hours don’t count. So, in theory, you aren’t getting as much sleep as usual.
You will also have to deal with a few other harmful effects. For example, some people wake up feeling hungry, constipated, or even sick and have headaches.
Honestly, it would take a good amount of marijuana to push you to the brink of severe adverse effects. If you are using marijuana purely as a smoking aid, you don’t need all that much of it. Those that experience the most damaging consequences from marijuana tend to be those that are constantly getting high.
Is Marijuana a Good Sleep Aid?
Yes. Although, it does depend on what sleep conditions you are suffering from.
If you suffer from insomnia or apnea, you will likely notice a positive benefit from using marijuana and getting high before you sleep.
If you believe that your sleep isn’t fulfilling i.e. you wake up feeling groggy quite regularly, then it is unlikely that marijuana will be an excellent sleeping aid. In fact, in this case, falling asleep while high is likely to make your symptoms a lot worse.
If you are going to try and get high as a sleep aid, we suggest you try and keep your marijuana consumption to the absolute minimum. This is because the more marijuana you consume before you fall asleep, the more likely you are to deal with sleep issues.
If you are high before you crawl into bed, you may find falling asleep much easier. It is so easy that marijuana has often been used to tackle insomnia.
Once you are asleep, results can vary, though. If you are seriously high when you fall asleep, then it is likely that you will wake up feeling quite dizzy. On the other hand, if you are using marijuana purely for sleep assistance, i.e., taking a smaller amount of the stuff, you may wake up feeling a lot more refreshed.
What happens when you fall asleep high can differ from person to person, and the marijuana strain you are using can even impact sleep. If you are looking to use marijuana to get off to sleep, you may want to experiment to see what works for you. In some cases, marijuana will never be the solution, and you may need to look into other natural sleeping aids instead.
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