Sleeping through the seasons: How can medical cannabis help you get a good night’s rest?

Sleeping through the seasons

Understanding Seasonal Sleep Patterns

Recent research from Direct Line Life Insurance reveals that the UK is a nation suffering from sleep deprivation. The survey found that around 7.5 million people sleep for less than five hours per night. Sleep patterns, much like other aspects of human health, are influenced by the changing seasons. The natural rhythm of our bodies, known as the circadian rhythm, is sensitive to environmental changes, particularly light exposure, temperature variations, and changes in lifestyle habits. These fluctuations can lead to seasonal sleep disturbances, which can significantly impact our overall well-being.

In this blog, we discuss how each season affects sleep and explore how medical cannabis can help ease these transitions.

What is the Circadian rhythm?

The circadian rhythm is an intrinsic 24-hour cycle that governs various physiological and behavioral functions in living organisms, including humans. Rooted in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, this internal clock orchestrates the sleep-wake cycle, hormone production, body temperature regulation, and metabolic processes. It is heavily influenced by external environmental cues, primarily light and darkness, which help synchronize the internal rhythm with the day-night cycle.

Disruptions to the circadian rhythm, such as those caused by seasonal shifts, jet lag, shift work, or excessive exposure to artificial light, can lead to sleep disorders, mood disturbances, and broader health issues like sleep disorders, depression, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This rhythm is influenced by external cues like light and temperature, which help align the internal clock with the environment. Maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm is crucial for overall health and well-being.

Sleeping through the seasons:

Sleep - Spring

Spring: Awakening the Senses

Spring brings longer days and shorter nights. The increase in daylight can disrupt melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakenings during the night. Additionally, spring allergies can cause congestion and discomfort, further disturbing sleep.

Medical cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD (cannabidiol), can help mitigate sleep issues in spring. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve allergy symptoms, promoting easier breathing and more restful sleep. Moreover, cannabis can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, making it easier to adapt to longer daylight hours.

Sleep - summer

Summer: The Season of Light

Summer’s extended daylight and warmer temperatures can significantly affect sleep. Increased exposure to sunlight delays melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. High temperatures can also lead to discomfort, causing restless nights.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of cannabis, can be particularly beneficial during summer. It has sedative properties that can help individuals fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. THC also helps regulate body temperature, which can be useful for those struggling to sleep in the heat.

Sleep - Autumn

Autumn: The Transition Period

Autumn often brings cooler temperatures and shorter days, signaling the body to produce more melatonin. This can lead to increased sleepiness and longer sleep durations. However, the transition from summer to autumn can disrupt sleep patterns as the body adjusts to these changes.

During autumn, a balanced cannabis strain with both CBD and THC can help maintain a stable sleep pattern. CBD can help manage any anxiety or stress that might arise from the change in routine, while THC can promote relaxation and deeper sleep. This combination ensures a smoother transition into the longer nights of autumn.

Sleep - Winter

Winter: The Season of Hibernation

Winter’s short days and long nights naturally increase melatonin production, often leading to extended sleep durations and a feeling of sluggishness. The cold temperatures can also make it harder to get out of bed in the morning, contributing to disrupted sleep schedules.

In winter, strains high in CBD can help balance the increased melatonin production, ensuring that sleep is restful but not excessive. CBD can also boost mood and energy levels, combating the winter blues and helping maintain a regular sleep schedule. For those experiencing insomnia due to stress or anxiety during the holiday season, THC can provide the necessary relaxation to promote sleep.

Sleep - All seasons

Each season brings its own set of challenges to our sleep patterns, influenced by changes in daylight, temperature, and lifestyle. Medical cannabis offers a natural solution to these seasonal sleep disturbances. By understanding how different strains and cannabinoids and terpenes can support our body’s needs through the year, we can achieve better sleep and overall health.

Whether it’s through relieving allergy symptoms in spring, regulating body temperature in summer, easing the transition in autumn, or balancing melatonin production in winter, medical cannabis proves to be a versatile ally in maintaining healthy sleep patterns throughout the seasons.

Am I eligible for medical cannabis treatment?

Our specialist doctors work with you to understand your symptoms and needs and craft a personalised treatment plan that manages your condition effectively.

We support patients living with various conditions in areas such as pain management, psychiatry, neurology, palliative care, and cancer. Discover the conditions we support here.

To be eligible for medical cannabis, you must have tried two types of medication, treatments, or therapies that have been ineffective.

To find out if medical cannabis could be an option for you, a loved one, or a patient, take our eligibility test in under 60 seconds.