If you typically wake up at night with racing thoughts, does marijuana help you fall back asleep?

I have a chronic (snicker) problem with middle-of-the-night insomnia. Pretty much every night I wake up and it may take 1-2 hours to fall back sleep. My mind is usually racing thinking about all the stuff I have to do or whatever is going on in my life. I have no problem falling asleep initially. But somewhere around 2-4am I’ll usually wake up and then not be able to go back to sleep.

I’ve heard that marijuana can help people sleep, but it’s hard to really know how true it is since it seems to cure everything. I’m seriously considering a trip to Colorado to see if marijuana would help me fall back asleep sooner. But before I go, I figure I’d ask here to see if anyone has some first-hand experience with this issue.

I’m not really so concerned with being able to initially fall asleep easier. Instead, I am more interested if it can help getting back to sleep when I wake up and my mind won’t slow down. The problem I’ve had with over-the-counter and prescription drugs is that they help put my body to sleep, but I don’t feel very rested. It’s like my mind never really relaxed.

I have no opinion about the marijuana, but a couple of thoughts:

Have you ruled out the possibility that your body has just decided it’s had enough sleep for the night and doesn’t need to sleep any more?

Have you tried something like listening to a podcast that will occupy your mind just enough to keep it from racing, but not enough to keep it from drifting off to sleep?

One suggestion I’ve heard is that if you try writing down what your mind is obsessing about, your mind will let it go enough for you to wait and worry about it tomorrow.

My experience is that marijuana, like alcohol, can reinforce whatever mood or state you are in at the time. It may also reverse that state, but you may not know which direction you’ll go in. When I tried weed as a sleep aid it tended to take longer before my brain would settle down. And of course when I thought I could get high and enjoy it for a while I’d fall asleep.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a trip to Denver to find out. And I wish you the best of luck sleeping. I’ve never found a solution.

If you’re going to buy something in Colorado, stick to Indicas, and look (on leafly.com) for something other people say works for sleeping.

For my own part, I have sleep issues that get worse when I’m stressed. I fall into what I call “The Spin Cycle” where I wake up, roll over and go back to sleep. On the worst nights it is utter hell as I wake up every 2-5 minutes all motherfucking night long. On the very worst night of it (some 15 years ago), I dislocated my shoulder in my sleep from flopping around so much. Woke up face down with my right shoulder underneath me.

What works for me is Trazadone. I call it a miracle drug (for me at least) because it allows me to sleep through the night without the spin cycle. However, it does have a very common side effect of making me a bit tired during the day. I have a few friends who tried it and won’t use it because it made them too tired during the day.

Otherwise, I recommend meditation in those events. Not the full blown pose and mantra crap. Just stepping back and allowing all those racing thoughts to fly by without embracing them. Don’t hold on to them and think about them, don’t try to stop them, just watch them go by like little birds and let them go. Don’t worry about sleeping, don’t stress about it, just concentrate on being comfortable and resting while these thoughts go by.

I should probably start another thread for middle-of-the-night insomnia. I’ve tried those things and a looooot of other things. Some work better than others. It’s definitely not that I’ve gotten enough sleep. I’m still quite tired, but my mind will just not relax.

I’m pretty sure it’s related to stress and anxiety since I’m more likely to sleep better after a few days on vacation. I know a common reason is apnea and I don’t think it’s that. Nothing I’ve read about it’s symptoms matches my experience (other than the waking up part).

It sounds like we’re pretty similar–spin cycle and all. I usually try to not stress about being awake and just rest in bed. When I was using podcasts to help me fall back asleep, I would sometime realize I would have missed the last 5-10 minutes of the audio. So even though I felt like I was awake the whole time, I would be cycling between dozing and waking. My current audio is listening to video game tournament commentary on youtube (like Heroes of the Storm). The fast talking, almost auctioneer like, is soothing. I don’t play the game and don’t know what’s going on, so I don’t notice those 5-10 minute breaks and dwell on them. It still takes a while to fall asleep, but I’m not as stressed.

I have trouble falling asleep because of the spin cycle - great name for it. I would recommend tring a medication that is legal in your current state rather than something you’d have to cross state lines to acquire. I like ambien myself.

Marijuana can help with mild insomnia, however, I think that marijuana also alters morning wakefulness.

Anecdotally, if I smoke a lot in the evening I’ll fall right to sleep, but when the alarm goes off in the morning I’ll have to drag my ass out of bed. If I do not smoke at all in the evening (a rare event for me) I take longer to fall asleep, but I wake up feeling more refreshed.

Broken sleep (waking during the night for a while) happens to me if I go to bed after consuming a lot of alcohol.

Middle of the night wakefulness is normal. Google “second sleep” and you will find a lot of information on how common this was before modern society and artificial lighting. Don’t fight it, instead just go to sleep a little earlier, keep the color balance of any artificial light you use on the warm side and you may find your body likes this routine better than some false cycle we all seem to impose on ourselves. A little buzz may help, or it may not. When you go to Colorado, you’ll already probably be out of your normal routine and that may help you to relax.

Have you had a sleep test? Once wired up, your brain activity can be recorded.
This is the gold standard for apnea.
I had the opposite problem - I was sleeping 14 hours a day. Turned out that it was taking that long to get up to REM long enough to get done dreaming. My body will pretty much shut down if it has a dream it wants to screen.

I now use a CPAP and wake refreshed after 8-10 hours.

If you have severe enough apnea, you may well awaken.

See a doc.

Anecdotal experience: I’ve been a troubled sleeper all of my life (as a teenager I would sometimes sneak out of the house and go for long walks in my pajamas at 2 or 3 am). I haven’t smoked marijuana in decades, but as a college student I indulged and found it had a salutary effect on my sleep: I would awaken early the next day after having been up unusually late stoned, feeling particularly alert and well-rested. My theory was that the time spent stoned was giving my brain some of the dreamy calm that the ever-elusive good night’s sleep would have provided, so the next day I felt the benefits.

Of course, that was me as a silly 18 to 20 year old girl; I can’t vouch for the accuracy of my perceptions or whether they would apply to other people in different cohorts.

I find masturbation works much better. No side effects and it’s free! And, you’ll fall back asleep with a smile on your face. :stuck_out_tongue:

I find playing a tv show in the background drowns out my inner monologue for long enough to go back to sleep. I’ve never tried a midnight smoke, it seems a little counterproductive. Unless maybe you keep a small pot brownie on your nightstand, there’s just no way to consume marijuana without waking up fully first.

Anecdotally speaking, I know a number of people whose experience with marijuana changes with age. When I was younger it was pleasant, numbing, and sedating, at the cost of being a bit sluggish the next day. 20 years later, I find it magnifies anxieties and definitely does not improve my sleep. YMMV.