The end of the ski season always keeps me up at night. Maybe it’s the reduced amounts of exercise and sunshine, maybe it’s a touch of depression from losing my favorite activity, or maybe it’s all in my head, but every spring I cannot sleep. I’ve tried a variety of things to put me to sleep: exercise during the day, exercise before bed, yoga, meditation, changing the temperature of my bedroom, reading, counting sheep, listening to Morgan Freeman read children’s stories — nothing helps.
Despite that fact that I’m the baker at Medicine Box, I’ve never been much of a cannabis user. However, I want to sleep like a normal person — at night, shortly after going to bed, for longer than four hours at a time. Cannabis is the only thing I’ve found that consistently helps me to that. (I have not tried prescription sleep aids or melatonin.)
I’ve been using low doses (about 10 mg) of our Goo Drops as a sleep aid. Afgoo is an indica dominant hybrid, so it doesn’t put me to sleep right away. Instead, I have about an hour before I can feel the effects and then 30-60 minutes of productivity (I often use this time to work on the blanket I’m knitting my grandmother; I’m not sure if I’m going tell her that cannabis helps me knit.) before I start to feel sleepy. However, once I’m ready for bed, I can actually go to sleep and remain asleep through the night. It’s glorious — and it’s put an end to my hatred of chickadees.1
How Cannabis Helps Me Sleep
Sleep can be divided into five stages, the first of which is feeling drowsy and actually falling asleep. This is where I was getting stuck; I’d feel tired and try to go to sleep, but I couldn’t make the transition to actually sleeping. To make things worse, I was starting to have anxious thoughts instead of actually sleeping. Cannabis eliminated the anxiety and helped me go to sleep instead.
The next part was finding the right dose. Our Goo Drops are typically 20 mg, but that left me feeling groggy and unwilling to get out of bed the next morning. It turns out that increasing the amount of THC increases the amount of time spent sleeping. For me, 20 mg was too much, but 10 mg has been wonderfully effective. I sleep for about 8 hours and I feel great when I wake up. The right amount of THC will depend on the individual taking it, so it requires a little trial and error.
Using edibles as a sleep aid requires a little planning. Edibles take longer to start working, but the effects last longer, which makes them an excellent choice for a good night’s sleep. I generally take them about two hours before I actually want to sleep. That gives them time to kick in and gives me time to make use of the tiny little productivity boost I get from our Afgoo truffles.
One of the downsides is that cannabis can reduce the amount of REM sleep we get. There’s a lot we don’t know about sleep and dreams, but the general consensus is that REM sleep is important for both physical and mental health. For that reason, I limit my cannabis use to nights when I’m feeling stressed or anxious and probably won’t fall asleep on my own.
After a just a few sleepless nights, I’m willing to try anything to get to sleep. Fortunately cannabis has been effective for me and has minimal side effects; the only thing that concerns me is the potential loss of REM sleep. For me, the best time for a Goodrop is two hours before I go to bed.
What do you do when you have trouble sleeping? Does cannabis help you?