Cannabis vs melatonin – which is better for a good night’s sleep?

It’s a battle of the sleep aids: cannabis vs melatonin. Which one comes out on top?

These are stressful days. Sleep is difficult, which leads many to the following thoughts. Cannabis vs melatonin : which sleep aid will help you sleep through the night? Quality sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is a time for your body to recharge and recover from the daily activities it encounters during the day.

For those suffering from a sleep disorder such as insomnia, just getting to sleep can be difficult. Many of those who struggle to get a good night’s rest try to solve their problem with melatonin and cannabis. Some may prefer dietary supplements, while others choose the more natural route. Which one works better? Here’s what the experts say.

How to understand melatonin.

The Sleep Doctor is Dr. Michael Breus
Michael Breus

The first question we will address in our cannabis vs melatonin argument is what exactly is melatonin? Before we can understand a dietary supplement that is taken to promote sleep, we need to understand the hormone that is produced by the body itself. According to WebMD, “melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain.” Its function is to help control the sleep-wake cycle.

“Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours,” WebMD reports.

Sleep physician Michael Breus is a clinical psychologist and Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a member of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

According to Breus, "disruption of natural melatonin levels can go hand in hand with sleep problems.

Melatonin supplements as a sleep aid.

Melatonin supplements as a sleep aid.

This is where melatonin supplements come to the rescue. Taken as a supplement, melatonin’s function is to replicate the action of the natural hormone. As Drugs.com reports, drowsiness usually sets in within 30 minutes of taking the supplement.

"However, taking melatonin just before bed may not be the best strategy for all sleep disorders," reads the website.

Breus writes on his blog that “melatonin treats circadian rhythm disorders (when you sleep the right number of minutes but your body clock is on the wrong time), sleep disorders associated with shift work and early morning awakenings – all related to the timing of sleep requirements.”

Melatonin supplements can help in these specific cases. However, Breus states that it is not an effective treatment for insomnia.

Finding the right dose.

The correct dosage of melatonin can also be a problem in terms of its effectiveness. According to a study conducted at MIT, the correct dose of melatonin ranges from 0.3-1.0 mg. Breus explains that many commercially available forms of melatonin typically contain three to 10 times the actual body requirement.

Cannabis helps with sleep
According to Breus, “there is some evidence that higher doses may be less effective.”

Large doses of melatonin can cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, sleepiness the following day, vivid dreams and nightmares.

Katlin Parrish, a college student who struggles with sleep deprivation, told us that she used to take melatonin but never saw any lasting results.

“I found that I felt very sleepy after it the next day and never regulated my sleep. I took it every day before bed for three months (on my doctor’s advice) and although it helped me fall asleep, I couldn’t sleep through the night,” said Parrish.

"I had really vivid dreams, woke up a lot and ended up with zero quality sleep."

Although melatonin supplements may not work well for some people, they seem to help those who want to relax during the difficult parts of the day.

The conclusion of our argument about cannabis vs melatonin.

To conclude our cannabis vs melatonin argument, it all comes down to an individual’s personal perception. Cannabis seems to have more benefits when it comes down to it. But it really depends on what kind of sleep you want.

Melatonin can help with initial sleep problems. You also won’t feel sleepy or tired when you wake up in the morning.

But according to Roykoft, cannabis not only helps you fall asleep, but its effects usually last “six to eight hours” and last all night. You may have to deal with a “pot hangover” in the morning.

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Published by Blood


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