Some people tell me marijuana helps them sleep. Just last week a friend from college—I’ll call her Marcia–mentioned she’d tried it and was happy with the result.
Marcia’s insomnia came in the middle of the night. She’d wake up at 3 and was rarely able to get back to sleep. Ambien helped for a while. Then her doctor refused to renew her prescription, so Marcia made an appointment with a sleep therapist and went through CBT for insomnia . . . to no avail. She continued to wake up in the darkest hours. As a last resort she tried marijuana.
“Just two puffs” at bedtime enabled her to sleep uninterruptedly until 5 or 5:30 a.m. This was a surprise and a relief. But the bigger surprise came when she quit the marijuana and continued to sleep through the night.
I roll my eyes when I see articles about how we humans are prone to miscalculating sleep time—in particular, people with insomnia. We tend to underestimate how long we sleep, and the conclusion is often that if we knew how long we were really sleeping, we wouldn’t complain so much.
That’s not the message of the latest of these articles, written by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Thompson looks at how the quest to prolong sleep ties in with the use of sleeping pills—but I think his analysis falls short.
When it comes to sleep, I’m convinced that quality is more important than quantity. Hands down, I’ll take 5 ½ hours of sound slumber over restless dozing that stretches out for 7 hours.
So I have mixed feelings about sleeping pills. Many meds invented to give us more sleep degrade the Zzzz’s we get and can actually worsen insomnia.
We all know memory loss is part of aging, and that glimmerings of compromise start appearing in middle age.
A new study by sleep researchers in California suggests that age-related memory loss is caused by changes in sleep, and that remedies being developed to improve sleep may help us remember more.
Trazodone has never been approved for the treatment of insomnia. Yet it rose to the top of the bestseller charts as a medication for sleeplessness in the 1990s and enjoys great popularity still. Here’s one explanation for its appeal.