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We’ve all heard it one way or another: sleep is an important part of a person’s well-being. Not getting enough sleep can cause a host of negative effects, including higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension and stroke. Not to mention, sleep also helps regenerate brain support cells and reorganize the brain; it even helps us store information, and preserve important memories while “downgrading” less significant ones.
Very few of us get the required quantity and quality of sleep, however. Today’s fast-paced lifestyle seems hell-bent on preventing us from getting some shut-eye. The elements that can disturb or delay one’s sleep range from external lights, including the light from your mobile phone, to excessive caffeine consumption. In addition to those, insomnia can be further aggravated by stress and other health problems, preventing us from ever getting the kind of sleep we want and need.
Insomnia can refer to difficulty in falling asleep, waking up too early, or having difficulty in maintaining sleep. This condition is not entirely dependent on the number of hours a person is able to sleep. Instead, it refers to getting low quality sleep that interferes with a person’s daily activities. While anyone can suffer from a rough night or two, people with chronic insomnia may sleep poorly for more than three weeks. This can cause sleepiness and fatigue during daytime, which may lead to impaired concentration, less-than-stellar mood, and increased risk for accidents.
The sleep architecture is composed of alternating states of rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM), which cycle about every 90 minutes. The first two stages are NREM -- you are in a half-awake, half-asleep state, slowly sinking into a light sleep that lowers your body temperature and evens out your breathing and heart rate. Stage 3 is where slow-wave sleep (SWS) happens, also known as deep sleep. Your brain starts to produce more delta waves and you become much more difficult to wake.
Stage 4 is a deeper phase of SWS; your muscles are in a highly relaxed state due to increased blood supply, and EEG scans reveal more delta waves. This stage is arguably the most beneficial to the body, as this is when tissue growth and repair occurs and growth hormones are produced. This is also the most restful stage of sleep, where energy is restored.
Stage 5 is REM, or dreaming sleep. The body and brain are direct opposites here: the body is in a state of paralysis, even as breathing patterns and heart rate become erratic, while the brain is highly active. Science has yet to figure out the biological purpose of REM sleep, though it has already been discovered that REM sleep is controlled by the subcoeruleus nucleus found in the brain stem. Damage to these cells causes a condition that does not trigger the muscle paralysis associated with REM, and leads the sufferer to act out their dreams.
While sleep itself remains a biological mystery, scientists have already identified several areas of the brain involved in the process of wakefulness and sleep. Wakefulness is triggered when so-called “arousal areas” in the cerebral cortex receive neurotransmitters from the brainstem and hypothalamus. One example of these arousal areas is the tuberomammillary nucleus or TMN, which fires histamines as one of its neurotransmitters. This is why many anti-histamine medicines cause sleepiness.
On the other hand, neurons in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO) of the hypothalamus connect directly to the arousal areas of the brain; however, instead of providing stimulation, neurotransmitters from the VLPO inhibits activity in the TMN and other areas, and thus helps promote sleep.
The brain also has an endocannabinoid (EC) system, with receptors that directly interact with the natural compounds found in cannabis called cannabinoids. The EC system plays a key role in several of our biological functions; it also alleviates our body’s stress and anxiety responses -- two factors that affect how easily and how well we sleep. Meanwhile, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC resembles a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the brain, anandamide, which helps regulate mood, memory, and sleep. These are among the primary reasons why many people believe the potency of marijuana as a sleep aid.
CBD is not as popular as THC as a sleep aid, though it can help you get some much needed sleep in other ways. CBD is known to possess analgesic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic properties, which all help alleviate symptoms that make it difficult to fall asleep.
Relieve Sleep Insomnia. SLEEP Is Designed To Prime You For Rest And An Excellent Night’s Slumber.
As a general guideline, using an indica-dominant cannabis strain with up to 20% THC content is the most beneficial when combating sleep disorders. The dose is just enough to trigger the sedative effects, but not too much as to feel dazed or lethargic upon waking up.
The current applications and extensive list of positive benefits can be indicative that the helpful qualities of cannabis far outstrip its side effects. However, more research is needed to fully understand how cannabis can affect sleep. But in the meantime, we spend more than a third of our lives asleep -- shouldn’t we make the best out of these hours?
Prime Yourself For An Excellent Night’s Rest: This Is SLEEP.
CrEATe is a direct-to-consumer culinary cannabis subscription that includes world-class educational materials, high-end oils, and exclusive chef-curated recipes. Embark on a transformative culinary journey.
In this eBook, we will be going through everything you need to know about culinary cannabis and how to enjoy this versatile herb responsibly.