If you suffer from sleepless nights, you might find your symptoms worsen around this time of year. Cannabis, with its many relaxation-inducing qualities, could be your saving grace.

If you suffer from sleepless nights, you might find your symptoms worsen around this time of year. In winter – when winter blues or seasonal depression can trigger a host of dismal symptoms – our circadian rhythms can get majorly thrown off. Cannabis, with its many relaxation-inducing qualities, could be your saving grace.

To minimize time spent tossing and turning, add a smoke or vape to your pre-sleep ritual. One study showed that cannabis use can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep both for people with sleep problems and without: Among those who had difficulty falling asleep, it resulted in an average of 30 minutes less time in falling asleep, and among strong sleepers, it induced sleep even quicker, by 15 minutes.

Cannabinoids CBD and THC take action on the endocannabinoid system (or, ECS), the system of receptors in the body that regulate different processes like mood, appetite, and sleep, and work to bring about different results in the body (hence, the high, hunger, etc. you get from smoking pot). So you can use certain strains to bring about targeted results. Like assisting your body clock in preparing for bed. Without adding any synthetics to your bathroom cabinets.

So which one is best for sleep: THC or CBD?

THC strains, especially indica, rather than sativa, are known for their sedative characteristics, so if you’re also dealing with any chronic pain that keeps you up at night, or just appreciate a heady high to lull you off to sleep, a high-THC strain could knock you out right. That said: If it’s anxiety that keeps you from sleeping (or if worrying about the potential of another long, sleepless night triggers anxiety before bed), CBD could be your key support. CBD interacts with the ECS and serotonin to reduce anxiety and also stimulate alertness – which tends to make it a favourite for daytime use, but there’s no proven evidence that says CBD hinders sleep.

Just don’t use too much of either. If you want it to truly help with your ability to sleep, consider cannabis part of your self-care toolkit, rather than, of course, a be-all, end-all solution. Long-term reliance on it to help you sleep could reduce its effectiveness, and even lead to withdrawal once you stop using it. So, just like too much pot can make symptoms of depression worse, as opposed to help you feel better, the same goes for sleep. It’s a personal journey. Only you can know your body best.

Taking the time to understand what works best for you is worth it – especially if you do want to avoid going the route of getting a prescription for a drug you’ve never heard of, or feel apprehensive about. Give one of these strains a try in combination with your other sleep-supporting practices. You might find you’ve discovered the natural key to a better night’s rest.

  • Blue Dream: Use this indica dominant hybrid to relax your mind and ease right on into a chill evening routine. It won’t  knock you out completely, so you can still hang with friends or even get a bit of creative stuff done pre-bed.
  • Northern Lights: This pure indica strain yields strong cerebral effects and deep body relaxation. Use it before a bubble bath to get right in the zone.
  • Pink Kush: This indica dominant hybrid and relative of OG Kush is a favourite among chronic pain sufferers. Use it anytime in the evening to melt away stress and feel more optimistic about your tomorrow.

Additionally, other practices that have proven effective in keeping sleep-problems under wraps include maintaining roughly the same sleep schedule day to day (shout-out to you if going to bed at a decent hour was your NY resolution) and creating a relaxing sleep environment with no distractions. Practicing relaxing before bed via visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises can also be a potent part of a nightly ritual.

Nothing is more frustrating than tossing and turning night after night, but with your commitment to getting sleep down pat, and the help of some plant aids, you can totally have a well-rested winter.

Categories: WELLNESS