Sleep Conditions

Medical cannabis for Sleep Conditions

Sleep disorders are conditions that impair your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep. It is generally recommended that adults sleep at least seven to nine hours per night, although some people require more, and others require less.

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Sleep Conditions

There are several common sleep disorders; Insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and Nightmare disorders.

Poor sleep can affect your quality of life including your safety, relationships, work performance, thinking, mental health, weight and can lead to other long-term conditions.

You might have a sleep disorder if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading?
  • Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at school or home?
  • Have performance problems at work?
  • Often get told by others that you look sleepy?
  • Have difficulty with your memory?
  • Have slowed responses?
  • Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
  • Need to take naps almost every day?


An assessment for sleep disorder involves assessing the cause of your sleep condition, the impact on quality of life, duration of symptoms, sleep hygiene and for suspected secondary causes of insomnia.

Some doctors may ask you to keep a sleep diaries, these are useful to help identify your habits prior to going to sleep and during the night which that may affect the inability to achieve a good nights sleep.

GPs now rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia. Sleeping pills can have serious side effects and you can become dependent on them.

Sleeping pills are only prescribed for a few days, or weeks at the most, if:

  • Your insomnia is very bad
  • Other treatments have not worked

Tips for improving your sleep

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Relax at least 1 hour before bed, for example, take a bath or read a book
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs if needed
  • Exercise regularly during the day
  • Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable
1 in 3 adults may be affected by insomnia. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder where you have regular problems with sleep, which could be trouble falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to get back to sleep. Poor sleep quality can affect overall quality of life. Insomnia is categorised into short-term (under 3 months) or long-term (3 months or longer).  A number of things can cause insomnia including stress, anxiety, long-term pain, nightmares, and night-terrors.

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Nightmare Disorder
Nightmares are vivid and terrifying night-time episodes when you are abruptly awakened from sleep whilst dreaming.

Nightmares are only considered a disorder if you experience:

  • Major distress or impairment during the day, such as anxiety or persistent fear, or bedtime anxiety about having another nightmare.
  • Problems with concentration or memory, or you can’t stop thinking about images from your dreams.
  • Problems functioning at work or in social situations.

Experiencing frightening dreams may be due to an underlying condition, it may be caused by:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Severe stress or anxiety due to major life event eg. bereavement of loved one
  • Reading scary books or watching scary movies before going to bed (especially in children)
  • Certain medications (antidepressants, antihypertensives, antiparkinsonian drugs)
  • Substance abuse – alcohol, drugs use/withdrawal

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