Cannabis and Health: 4 Tips for Beating Insomnia
Insomnia is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans. In every study examining why people use cannabis, insomnia is always near the top of the list. Insomnia isn’t just trouble falling asleep, it also refers to the ability to stay asleep throughout the night. For some, it’s an occasional problem, but for others, insomnia can be a chronic condition that severely impacts their ability to lead happy productive lives. Lack of sleep limits our ability to problem-solve, manage emotions, handle stress, deal with depression and remain motivated. One study shows that the cognitive effects of sleep impairment are similar to being under the influence of alcohol! Good sleep, on the other hand, can help us lose weight, function better and lower our risk of disease.
Sedative cannabis strains can be a big help when it comes to treating occasional or chronic insomnia. The pain-relieving properties of cannabis can alleviate physical discomfort, one barrier to restful sleep while the relaxation it provides makes it easier to release negative thoughts, emotions and other stressors that make falling sleep troublesome. The best strains for sleeping are typically pure indica or indica-dominant hybrids. Smoking, vaping or add a few drops of tincture to a cup of tea before bedtime can help you fall and stay asleep. But, in addition to trying cannabis for insomnia, here are some more tips to a more restful night’s sleep:
- Get more daylight. Fall and winter are especially hard on office workers, many who arrive at work early in the morning and leave after dark thanks to the shorter days. However, increasing your time in bright daylight could help you sleep better. According to this study, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration in insomniacs. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%. Take your lunch outside, go for a noontime walk or get your daylight any way you can. When natural light is hard to come by, either due to the weather or your schedule, use a bright light source to compensate. You can purchase light therapy lamps online for under $50.
- Reduce exposure to blue light. Blue light is emitted from electronic devices like laptops, tablets and televisions. Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime and can mess up your natural circadian rhythm making it hard to fall and stay asleep. It’s recommended to limit your blue light exposure and turn off bright lights at least two hours before bed. If you typically work on your laptop at night or spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet, you may want to invest in some blue light blocking glasses.
- Evaluate your bedroom. For sensitive sleepers, the tiniest instances can disrupt them; whether they can remember them in the morning or not, the body sure does! Evaluate your sleeping situation and take steps to create a perfect environment for relaxation and rest. Things like a white noise machine, a fan, light-blocking curtains and earplugs can help block unwanted noise and light that can disturb sleep. Keep your bedroom temperature cool or even cold at night. If you have electronics in your room, place tape over any annoying blinking or bright lights. Lower the brightness of your alarm clock and turn it away from you while sleeping. Keeping your bedroom clean and organized will also help create a serene atmosphere for sleeping. In this study of new mothers, 50% of women noticed improved sleep when light and noise were addressed!
- Reduce late night snacking. Bad news if you’re a chronic late night snacker, not only does eating late in the evening contribute to weight gain, but it can interfere with sleeping as well. However, a moderate meal four hours before bedtime could help you sleep you better. In these two studies, both high carb and low fat meals were shown to reduce the amount of time it took for subjects to fall asleep. Still can’t resist? Then opt for a small snack, around 200 calories. Fruit, cheese and whole grain crackers or yogurt are healthy sleep-approved options.
Looking to try cannabis for insomnia? Let our cannabis stewards help you find the perfect bedtime strains and products! Have a strain recommendation? Let us know your faves in the comments section.