Having trouble sleeping? You aren’t the only one. For so many of us, it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep. Whether the day was stressful or full of excitement, our busy minds can have a hard time shutting down when it comes time to rest. And our culture’s usual ways of winding down – like watching TV – often just make things worse. This can leave us with some serious sleep debt and feeling like we are always tired.
So, how can you ease yourself to sleep at night healthily and effectively? Why not try incorporating cannabis and mindfulness into your evening routine? Creating a nightly ritual with these two components can do wonders for your sleep-life. Both are scientifically shown to help with sleep – and the combination can be absolutely dreamy – leading you to a better, deeper, more restful sleep.
How Cannabis Can Help With Sleep
Cannabis can be a big help when it comes to falling asleep. In fact, research suggests that THC, one of cannabis’s most common ingredients, is a sedative that can significantly decrease the time it takes to fall asleep1. Patients also report that CBD, another typical chemical in cannabis, can lead to sleep improvements2. While CBD isn’t considered a sedative, it seems to help sleep primarily for those with pain or anxiety, lessening these effects3 to allow for uninterrupted rest. Learn more about CBD here.
We can also find help for a restful night from some of cannabis’ terpenes, chemicals responsible for the taste and smell of marijuana. For example, the terpene myrcene4, also found in mangoes, is known for its sedative and relaxing properties. Beta-caryophyllene5, a terpene also found in black pepper, is known for its ability to relieve anxiety and pain – which can have positive impacts on insomnia. Humulene, which is found in hops and valerian, can have sedative effects. It’s been shown to improve sleep quality in some studies6.
Using any of these elements from the cannabis plant, or a blend of several, may help improve your sleep experience, so they are all great options for any nighttime cannabis ritual.
Related article: The Guide to Adaptogens and Sleep
Mindfulness Rituals For Sleep
Once you have selected a cannabis product for sleep, you can incorporate it into a nightly mindfulness ritual. This can be any mindfulness routine geared towards rest, such as a nighttime yoga practice like yoga Nidra or a calming mindfulness meditation for sleep. Find something that you can enjoy and really sink into so that you will stick to the habit.
But if you don’t know where to start, here are two options for mindful rituals you can blend with cannabis to send you off to sleep.
Mindfulness Meditation For Sleep
A straightforward way to incorporate restful mindfulness into your evening is with meditation for sleep. Studies show that regular mindfulness meditation can actually help reduce insomnia7, along with related insomnia symptoms like fatigue and depression.
If you use a cannabis option that is inhaled, you can use your cannabis while you meditate. Otherwise, take your cannabis first, then get into a comfortable seated position somewhere you won’t be disturbed, set a timer for 5 minutes, and close your eyes.
As you sit, begin to notice your breath moving in and out of your body. Then start to slow your exhale down so that it takes about twice as long to exhale than it does to inhale. This will help your body to begin to slow down and get sleepy.
If you are using an inhaled method for cannabis, you can inhale your cannabis on any of your in-breaths – making sure to continue exhaling more slowly.
Continue this for 5 minutes, noticing how you feel as you breathe in and out. If you feel any emotions or thoughts arising, meet them with kindness without fighting or following them. Just let these states drift through your mind in a relaxed way when you notice them, always bringing your attention gently back to the breath.
Nightly Gratitude Ritual
Another mindful ritual that works well in the evening is a regular nightly gratitude ritual. Consistent gratitude practices have not only been scientifically shown to help improve well-being by making people happier, more satisfied, and less depressed8; they have also been shown to help with sleep. Studies on gratitude and sleep show that these practices can lead to improved sleep quality and duration, less time falling asleep, and less daytime sleepiness9.
To create your own gratitude ritual, keep a journal where you record things you are grateful for. Each night, before you go to bed, take your cannabis, and then pull out your gratitude journal. Take a moment to consider your day and everything you’ve been through. Then ask yourself, “What am I grateful for today?” writing down at least three things that you are grateful for and taking a moment to bask in the feelings of gratitude.
Be sure not to judge what you have to be grateful for. I do this daily, and sometimes I’m thankful for big things like a new job or a significant accomplishment. But most days, I write down simple things in my life or something I’d usually take for granted, “the sun is shining today,” “I had time to meditate,” or “I have a house with running water.” You may be surprised at how good it feels to acknowledge what is going right in your life – and it just may help you get a better night’s sleep.
Learn more about sleep hygiene, and how to get a good night of rest without melatonin here.
Related Article: Got Coronavirus Anxiety? Meditation and Cannabis Can Help