According to data from the National Sleep Foundation, between 50 and 70 million people in the US suffer from chronic sleep disorders. The most common types of these disorders include sleeping excessively, having less sleep, or inadequate quality of sleep.
With many medical benefits of marijuana being more and more apparent over the past few years, many have asked ‘How can marijuana influence your sleep?’ Can it really help the millions of people affected by these sleep disorders? This article contains all the knowledge you need on how marijuana could positively or negatively affect your sleeping patterns.
Different Types of Dream Cycles
Before we go further, let’s discuss normal human dream cycles. Scientists have discovered that if you sleep for 8 hours, you will undergo an average of three sleep cycles. A sleep cycle has five stages in total discussed below.
- Stages 1, 2, and 3 are changeover stages that help move from being awake to sleeping.
- Stage 4 is where your body recuperates. It is also known as deep sleep.
- The fifth stage is called REM sleep. Most dreaming occurs in this stage.
In 1972, researchers conducted a study on how THC, a core component of marijuana, may affect your sleep cycles. They found out that varying THC levels in your body can result in increased stage 4 and decreased levels of stage 5 (REM sleep).
How Using Marijuana Affects Sleep
For centuries, marijuana has been used as a sleeping aid. Using marijuana can make you relaxed and sedated, making you sleep faster. In some states, medical marijuana can be prescribed by a doctor to treat insomnia.
Contrarily, marijuana contains high concentrations of THC, which decreases your chances of dreaming during sleep. In most cases, dreaming is good as it may help you treat grief and conquer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, if you experience nightmares, then THC could be your aid.
Can I Use Marijuana for a Sleep Aid?
Most doctors recommend using marijuana as a short-term sleep aid. Long term use can cause health issues due to interrupted REM sleep, as REM is significant to keeping healthy cognitive capacities and functioning of the immune system. Long term use of THC can damage the quality of your sleep.
If you had a recent heart attack or your cardiovascular health is weak, you should resort to other ways of attaining quality sleep. The same applies to expectant mothers. Always remember that marijuana can be successfully used as a short-term fix to your sleep issues and make sure to know your right dosage.