How Smoking Marijuana Affects Your Sleep

How Smoking Marijuana Affects Your Sleep

How Smoking Marijuana Affects Your Sleep


Marijuana at Bedtime

Smoking marijuana before bed affects dreams. Marijuana has the ability to induce deep sleep during the initial period of usage. Unfortunately, many complain of not being able to remember their dreams.


Sleep And Marijuana

Marijuana affects sleep cycles, specifically, the rapid eye movement stage or (REM) sleep. There are five stages of sleep: four NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stages and a fifth stage called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Stages 3 and 4 represent deep, delta-wave states of sleep, where the brain nearly shuts down and breathing and heart rate decrease significantly. This is associated with the deepest, most relaxing sleep. NREM and the REM stages occur in cycles during our entire sleep cycle. Studies have shown that when deprived of sleep, our brains prioritize deep sleep over REM sleep.

Dreams, Marijuana, And PTSD

It has been shown that marijuana decreases the length of the REM cycle of sleep by increasing the length of the slow-wave stages of sleep. A person dreams the most when the brain is active during the REM cycle. During slow-wave states, a person doesn’t dream. So the deeper you sleep, the less you dream.

A recent study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found positive results after increasing the use of marijuana for subjects dealing with these psychological symptoms.

PTSD symptoms include frequent panic attacks, always being on the edge and mentally or physically stressed out, lack of sleep, and recurring nightmares.  PTSD sufferers naturally find benefits associated with marijuana, such as better sleep and elimination of nightmares.

Quitting Marijuana 

Sleep disturbances usually occur during cannabis withdrawal. Between 24-72 hours after quitting and up to 6-7 weeks, a person may experience irregular sleep cycles.

Those who use cannabis regularly tend to notice abnormal increases in REM sleep when they stop usage. Referred to as the REM rebound effect, it leads to longer and more intense periods of REM sleep. When cannabis users experience more vivid and memorable dreams after quitting, it can be attributed to the REM rebound. This explains why cannabis users often experience an increase in vivid dreaming when they quit.