Older folks sometimes experience sleep disturbances or suffer from poor quality of sleep for various reasons. If you’re looking for a natural sleep aid look no further, because medical marijuana and CBD can help you get a good night’s rest.
Is it Normal to Sleep Less as You Get Older?
As you age you still need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep at night, so it’s not normal to sleep less. Your body and mind need sufficient rest to regenerate and recharge regardless of your age. In the elderly, lack of sleep will worsen problems with balance increasing the risk of falls, and memory and concentration are also impaired.
But older people will have sleep issues because of chronic pain, depression, and changes in lifestyle. In fact, Americans in general deal with sleep deprivation on a daily basis, barely functioning or functioning at a sub par level for most of the day. But with older people the effects of not getting enough sleep will be more pronounced.
According to a 2006 article in The American Journal of Medicine, lack of sleep is a serious problem for older people:
“Insomnia is a prevalent problem in late life. Sleep problems in the elderly are often mistakenly considered a normal part of aging. Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is a subjective report of insufficient or non restorative sleep despite adequate opportunity to sleep. Despite the fact that more than 50% of elderly people have insomnia, it is typically undertreated, and nonpharmacologic interventions are underused by health care practitioners.”
You can read more of their article here:Insomnia in the Elderly: Cause, Approach, and Treatment.
So the medical community is very aware of the problem, but what can they do about it?
Why Taking Sleeping Pills is Not A Good Idea
Unfortunately when you go to your doctor and tell him or her that you can’t sleep, usually the first thing they reach for is the prescription pad. Sleeping pills such as Ambien or Lunesta can help short term, but the problem is that doctors will just refill that prescription as long as their patients complain about lack of sleep. It’s a sad state of affairs, but doctors just don’t have the time or inclination to listen to their patients anymore. So, more sleeping pills you will get.
The type of rest you get from sleep meds is not a healthy one. Most of these disturb the natural sleep cycles and you don’t wake up feeling rested; you’ll have a chemical “hangover” and will still be groggy.
One of the most popular sleep meds, Ambien, was famous for people getting out of bed and sleep walking, sleep eating, even sleep driving! That can’t be good, to put it mildly. No wonder most people would wake up feeling exhausted after an Ambien sleep – they were busy walking around and eating, or even worse waking up in another town! This has really happened, no joke. (Warning: Adult Content)
What You Will Read Everywhere on the Internet
You’ll find a lot of websites telling you how to go about getting a good night’s sleep. They’ll tell you to avoid alcohol before bed, eat a light snack, do some meditation, don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bedtime, don’t drink a quart of water just before you go to bed, etc.
One piece of advice that is critical, we think, is that you keep regular hours. Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day. Set your alarm for 7:00 p.m. and lights out by no later than 10:30 p.m. Do this consistently for a couple of weeks and your body will adjust to the rhythm and habit of the routine.
Speaking from a personal standpoint, when my mother was in her mid-80s she got to the point where she was sleeping late every day and then staying up past midnight every night because she couldn’t get to sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle, especially when she was struggling with chronic pain, an unsettled mind, and other health issues.
She was also prescribed sleep medications, specifically, a drug in the benzodiazepine classification. Her doctor could not have prescribed a worse drug for her to take, because of benzodiazepine’s known effects of creating rebound insomnia, a poor quality of sleep because of its reduction of slow-wave sleep, and withdrawal problems such as aggression and anxiety, especially after having taken it long term.
We talked about this earlier on Toking Granny’s blog, but my mother was taking handfuls of drugs every day, all prescribed to her by her doctor. These benzos were not good for her and she took them for way too long. When she complained that they were giving her nightmares and wanted to quit taking them, she had withdrawal symptoms and was even more miserable with rebound insomnia. It was an awful situation, and you never want to see your mother suffer.
There Are More Natural Ways to Help You Sleep
One insomnia treatment option you won’t find the mainstream websites recommending is medical marijuana and CBD. And since this is what our website is all about, of course we’re going to recommend these options. It’s what Toking Granny uses whenever she has the rare night when she can’t sleep.
The interesting thing about using medical marijuana or CBD for insomnia is that whatever it is that’s preventing you from sleeping, both of these substances can alleviate most of them and thus help you sleep.
The best strain we’ve found for sleep is Grandaddy Purple, an Indica that is wonderfully relaxing. In fact, Baked Bros. makes a delicious syrup with this strain that we love. You can usually find it at your local medical marijuana dispensary. Another one we like is Northern Lights. Vape this for a good night’s sleep.
Another method you might consider is a tea of hops, lavender, or chamomile. Used by themselves or in conjunction with some MMJ or CBD it will help you have a restful sleep.
But, as always, if you don’t have access to medical marijuana, you can give CBD products a try. The HempBombs relaxation syrup is da bomb, really. That stuff put me out like a light. It is strong though so I think next time I might half the dose, it’s that good. You can read my review of it here.
You can overdo with these natural remedies though, and literally have a drowsy “hangover” the next day. Especially with edibles like the syrups, which are much stronger and last longer than a vape or two of an Indica strain. Too much edible will help you sleep for sure, but it also hangs around in your body for more time than smoking or vaping it, so you want to use caution here.
As far as medical marijuana or CBD being better than sleeping pills? Of course we’re biased, but we say it is hands down better than any old sleeping pills. And it’s non-addictive so no withdrawals after you’ve used it for a while and don’t need it anymore.
We should really just add this to every page, but, here goes . . . We are not doctors and don’t pretend to be. Before doing any of this please consult with your own doctor and confirm that medical marijuana or CBD is not contraindicated in your specific situation.