Don’t Smoke Weed (If You Want To Sleep Well)

By Alyse Borkan  |  Jul 29, 2014
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Did you smoke weed in high school? You did? No wonder you can’t sleep.

A new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania shows that marijuana use leads to poor sleep quality.

This isn’t exactly new information. An older study, conducted in 1975, shows that THC (an active chemical in marijuana) disrupts REM sleep, which is when you dream and the body converts short term memory to long term. That’s why stoners say they don’t have dreams and can’t remember anything. Both studies report that weed smokers are more likely to experience difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, tiredness during the day, and non-restorative sleep.

But the new study found something very interesting: If you’ve ever used marijuana, at any time in your life, your sleep quality is affected. It’s worse — almost twice as likely — for people who started smoking before their fifteenth birthday. It doesn’t matter if you smoke now or not.

Though the new study was “not designed to determine causality,” the results show that weed smokers are at a higher risk for insomnia. What it doesn’t consider, however, is that people  self-medicate with marijuana and might be stressed out; many smoke weed instead of taking a Xanax. If you’re stressed, you won’t sleep well, whether you’re high or not.

If you’re one of 38 percent of Americans who has tried marijuana, you probably won’t sleep well tonight. But don’t stress about it, that’ll just make it worse.

— Josh Segal

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