According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, approximately 40 million people in the United States are afflicted by chronic sleep disorders annually and another 20 million people experience occasional sleep disorders. After spending a lot of time talking to people at trade shows, fitness events, and expos the Arcanum team has noticed that one of the main reasons people supplement with cannabinoids is to improve the quality of sleep. The effects of sleep disorders are vast and include a wide array of both psychological and physical side effects. Let’s take a little dive into the science of sleep, followed by several awesome sleep tips! First, there are several phases of the sleep cycle. When people start off in the sleep cycle, they start in stage one NREM or non-rapid eye movement. This is simply the process of transferring from a state of wakefulness to sleep, this is also the time you might jerk or twitch. If you’ve ever watched someone trying to fall asleep on the plane and they keep jerking their head around, that is stage one NREM. Stage two NREM, this is the first real stage of NREM sleep, the body temperature begins to drop, eye movement slows down and you’re on your way to a peaceful night of sleep. Stage three NREM (deep sleep) this is where the body does its magic and restores the itself. In stage three NREM people produce human growth hormone and the body goes into auto pilot to take care of itself. Brain waves slow down to delta waves. This is where you might have to shake or lightly/firmly slap someone awake. Kids spend a lot of time in stage 3 NREM. If you have ever wondered how the heck a little one might be sleeping in that position or situation, the kid is probably in stage 3 NREM. Stage four is REM (rapid eye movement) or the dreaming stage. During REM brain waves increase and waking up is easier, however can leave a person feeling groggy. These cycles continue throughout the night. The average adult will go through four to five sleep cycles per night, each cycle lasting approximately 100 minutes. Of all the sleep cycles, stage 3 NREM, or deep sleep, is the most regenerative: the immune system restores itself, the brain resets for new learning, and human growth hormone is released to restore muscles.
Tips to get more stage 3 NREM:
Avoid reaching stage 3 NREM during a cat nap, do not nap for longer than 10 to 20 minutes. If you reach deep sleep, it will be difficult to fall asleep at night.
If possible, take a bath before bed. If not, shower. A hot bath or shower will raise the body temperature and upon getting out of the bath or shower, the body temperature will drop relaxing the body and preparing it for rest. Furthermore, people who suffer from allergies, should wash off pollens and other potential allergens. Bonus - If you suffer from allergies while sleeping also try using a silk pillowcase as it reduces bed mites, dust, and pollen.
Keep sleep consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time.
Bright natural light exposure keeps the circadian rhythm healthy; it also helps the pineal gland produce the proper amount of melatonin. When the sun goes down, the pineal gland becomes active and produces melatonin into the blood stream. Nigh-night folks!
Get a blue filter app on your phone. The bright light from electronics tricks the pineal gland into thinking it is light outside and shuts down melatonin production. Blue light glasses can also be purchased for 20 to 30 dollars for those of us that work late on the computer. These glasses should also be worn for pre-bed TV watching.
Cut back on afternoon coffees…obviously.
Supplementation with melatonin can also help people who cannot manage their pineal gland by getting enough bright light. A lot of time this results from a work-related schedule. We do not recommend melatonin for long-term continuous use. Check out our blog for more info on this.
Treat sleep like a job. When it's bedtime, it's bedtime! Don’t browse social media and watch TV etcetera. Try lying down and visualizing, praying, or meditating. Train your body and mind that when you get into your bed it’s sleepy time.
Make your bedroom a sleep temple. This means the perfect temperature, black out curtains, and light ambient noise or no noise. One of the best things I have ever purchased is a Chilipad which controls the temperature of the mattress on both my side, and my wife’s side separately. Sleeping at a steady temperature has been a game changer!
Heartburn, sleep apnea, or excessive snoring? Slightly raise the head of the bed a couple inches. This can be done with an adjustable bed or a sleep wedge pillow. For those of you DIY’ers out there, modify the bed frame. I diagonally ripped a couple 2x4s, placed the 4 pieces in the bed frame length wise, screwed in some 1x4s crosswise, put a few supports in and voilà. I don’t remember exact cost but not much.
Don’t eat too late, a high carb late night meal will affect your sleep. Your body will not be burning too many carbs during sleep so cut down the carbs before bed. Unless, of course, you’re growing; ohh how we wish we could all eat and sleep like a teen!
Don’t drink too much alcohol.
Try supplementing with a high-quality full spectrum CBD product like C3. Cannabinoids have been shown to help with an array of sleep disorders from sleep apnea to restless leg syndrome. Cannabinoids control anxiety by bringing overactive neuroreceptors back into homeostasis. This increase time in NREM stage three, or deep sleep. Remember deep sleep is the most restorative stage in the sleep cycle!
Bio-hack yourself - get a watch or band that tracks your sleep and see what makes the difference!
Stay healthy my friends,