Cannabis & a Few Sleep Hacks May Help You Get a Good Nights’ Zzzz
Sleep is sweet. Emerging from a warm, cozy nest of pillows after a night of blissfully restorative sleep is heaven. You push back the blankets and everything seems brighter. Unfortunately, that experience doesn’t happen as often as it should. We deserve better.
According to a Consumer Reports survey, almost 80 per cent of North Americans say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week. Doctors can actually hook us up to a computer and see our neurological chatter on screen while we slumber and this technology provides researchers with the data they need to prescribe treatment.
We’ve gathered together some of the very best advice from top sleep specialists to give us a list of sure-fire strategies that will help us not only get to sleep but also stay asleep. No more tossing and turning. No more middle-of-the-night dialogues with yourself. Here’s what to do.
- Cannabis May Speed Your Way to Dreamland
Ever since medical researchers discovered that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in body functions, such as regulating mood, appetite and circadian rhythms, people have been turning to cannabis to help them get to sleep.
It seems that within the endocannabinoid system exists a network of receptors. The receptors reside in the brain and central nervous system. Cannabinoids attach to these receptors with different effects. No one is yet certain how they affect sleep, but some research suggests that the way cannabinoid CBD interacts with these receptors, potentially affects how we sleep. Research also revealed that CBD may decrease anxiety and pain, and we all know how these factors can affect rest. So it may be that if CBD reduces pain and stress, it might be easier to get to sleep.
Many sleep specialists tacitly support the theory that CBD and cannabinoids play a part in improving our abilities to fall sleep and stay asleep. And research seems to support the thesis. For example, an article published in the journal, Medicines, reports on a study of over 400 patients with insomnia who rated their sleep problem on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most severe. At the start of the study they rated their symptoms to be 6.6 (on average). After using cannabis for almost two years, the study participants rated symptoms again. This time, on average, they rated their problem at 2.2, a huge decrease of 4.5!
In another article in the Permanente Journal, a study of over 70 patients suffering from anxiety and sleep issues completed assessments of their health issues at the start of the study. Participants were given 25 mg of CBD in capsule form. After the first month, anxiety scores decreased by 79 percent while sleep improved in 66 percent of the patients. The results suggest that CBD decreased sleep difficulties in many of the participants, although the sleep scores fluctuated over time.
So how much CBD should you take? On average, clinical trials have given their participants anywhere between 25 mg to over 1,000 mg per day of CBD. Experts caution that it’s best to start low then work your way up gradually until you find a dosage that works for best for you, however another general guideline recommends that you take approximately 50 mg daily per every 100 pounds of body weight. If you’re unsure, prefer an edible, or some other form of CBD, best to consult one of the experts at House of Budz for advice. It’s Canada’s premier online cannabis dispensary.
- Try to Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day
The second your eyes flutter open, light shoots down the optic nerve and into the brain’s biological clock. There it stimulates the production of a smorgasbord of hormones that regulate growth, reproduction, eating, thinking—even how you feel from minute to minute.
“Sunlight activates the brain,” says Frisca L. Yan-Go, M.D., medical director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. And activating it at the same time every morning synchronizes your body’s biological clock. Wake up at a different time every day and the clock is out of sync. You feel groggy and hungover for hours, and even when you start to feel a bit more alert after that first coffee, you really never achieve the mental edge of which you’re capable.
- Hit the Sheets Only When Sleepy
No, not just tired. Sleepy, as in your eyes are droopy and you keep losing track of what people are saying to you.
- Pyjamas or Naked?
The answer is pyjamas. Warm skin helps to slow down your blood’s circulation, cooling your internal temperature and generally contributing to a deeper sleep. Your body goes through a few cool–warm cycles as the night passes, so you choose pyjamas, sheets and covers that keep you comfortable through these changes.
- Get Up
Don’t stay in bed when you’re awake. A part of your mind will begin to associate the bed with being awake rather than being asleep. And that can turn on a nasty “I’m-not-going-to-sleep!” anxiety that will rev your engines whenever you get into bed. It’s one of the most insidious—and potent—causes of chronic insomnia. To prevent that from exacerbating your sleep issue, get up and go read a book in the living room. Being up increases your sleep drive—which just could make you sleepy enough to actually fall asleep when you return to bed.
- Don’t Look at the Clock
Hide your clock under your bed or on the bottom shelf of your bedside nightstand, where its glow won’t disturb you. That way, if you do wake up in the middle of the night, you won’t fret over how late it is and how much sleep you’re missing.
- Give Yourself a Break Before Bed
You need it to wind down and transition from the person-who-can-do-everything into the person-who-can-sleep. Unfortunately, most of us are not giving ourselves enough time to get into rest mode. According to a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation, during the hour before bed, around 60 percent of women do household chores, 37 percent take care of children, 36 percent are on the Internet and 21 percent do work related to their jobs.
- Beware the Sunday Night Heebie-jeebies
Staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights and sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings is frequently the gift we give ourselves on weekends after a hard week at work. Yet that little gift—small as it is—is enough to screw up our biological clocks. Even if you get to bed early on Sunday night, you will not be ready to sleep, and you will not end up being a happy camper come Monday morning.
- Feather Your Nest
To lull you to sleep, you need to make your bedroom a sensuous haven, adding all the accoutrements of comfort and serenity in a beautiful setting.
- Buy a New Mattress
Don’t even try to comparison shop. Every mattress in every store has a different name. And every owner of every mattress shop says that the mattresses in his shop are different—and better—than every other mattress shop on the planet. The truth is that the right mattress for you is the one that you try in your home for 30 days. Find a mattress shop that offers that option, pick out the mattress that you and your partner think is best for you both.