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Cannabis & Sleep | Health


The longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere is the winter solstice on December 21. It marks the first day of winter, a new season and a time to continue to hibernate and to stay warm. It is a time to light more candles and to perhaps be more introspective about one’s own life as one year closes and another will begin. Winter can be a time when our bodies naturally need more sleep. For many people who use cannabis, it is their herb of choice that helps them to sleep deeply and wake up refreshed.


When you lay your head down on your pillow, what is the next thing that you do? For some lucky people, the answer is “I fall asleep.” For others, the answer may be: “I review the day’s events and then I have racing thoughts, my heart beats faster and I have a difficult time shutting off my mind.” Another answer may be: “I fall asleep easily but then I do not stay asleep.” If sleep has become a health issue, then the thought of going to sleep can bring about anxiety in people. Some people have a family history of insomnia, while others can not get a good night’s sleep because their partner snores or other external sounds or lights can keep them awake.


Getting good sleep is one of the foundations of good health. Without good, solid sleep, stress levels increase and the mood can be affected and depression and anxiety can result. During sleep, the body rejuvenates, the nervous system and digestive organs have time to relax and the immune system is strengthened. It is a time for the body to rest and repair.

Sleep is a time for the soul to rest. Sometimes the soul needs a little help.

Small Changes for Better Sleep:

  1. Darken the bedroom

  2. Gaze at the night sky before bed

  3. Decorate with darker blues or indigo in the bedroom to provide relaxation

  4. While your head is on your pillow, think of what you are grateful for

  5. Modify the room temperature to cooler or warmer (usually a cooler room is better for sleep)

  6. Don’t eat too big of a meal right before bedtime so as to not overburden the digestive organs when they should be resting; and likewise, try to not go to bed feeling hungry or thirsty.

  7. Drink something warm like warmed up milk, almond milk or a calming tea like Holy Basil

  8. Have your snoring partner look into getting a dental appliance from the dentist. This can be a gamechanger for a better night’s sleep without snoring.

  9. Smell a favorite calming essential oil before bed. Lavender is a popular essential oil for calming and sleep.

  10. Do the yoga pose: Child’s Pose before going to sleep

  11. Release physical energy a few hours before going to sleep by going for a walk, stretching or doing yoga

  12. Take an epsom salt bath before bedtime. The magnesium in the epsom salt is a natural calming agent to the body.

  13. Take an oral supplement of magnesium before bedtime to calm the nervous system.

  14. Other herbs that can help with sleep: California poppy, Skullcap, Chamomile, Passionflower, Hops. These herbs can be found in the form of tincture, capsules or tea.

Many times, the mind can not shut off thoughts. I recommend to patients to write down the thoughts and to get them out of their mind and onto paper. This is a technique that can help to clear the mind. Water is an element that clears away thoughts and cleanses the energy. Taking a shower before bed can be another way to clear the mind and body. Listening to calming music or doing a meditation before bedtime is another way to calm and get the body ready for sleep.


Many of the patients that I see for medical marijuana certification have difficulty sleeping and they get comfort from using cannabis. Eating an indica edible before sleep can help relax the body and mind and offer a good night’s sleep. Drinking tea with cannabis honey can also be a comforting balm to a frazzled nervous system. Soaking in an epsom salt bath with CBD/THC bath salts can relax the muscles and get the body ready for sleep. Cannabis also offers freedom from nightmares as it lessens the vivid dream states. People with PTSD who also have nightmares can get relief from using cannabis before sleep. I hope that this information helps you during this winter season and all year long to receive sweet slumber.

 


Kimberly-Landino-FEB2022-web

Kimberly Landino has been a Naturopathic Physician for over 20 years. She has been recommending Medical Marijuana to patients in Arizona for the last four years. Prior to this, she used the modalities of nutrition and diet, counseling, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, botanical medicine and more in her Naturopathic Family Practice in South Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff and in Tuba City, Arizona.

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