Junk Sleep: What it is & how to avoid it


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Many of us have been spending more time than ever on our devices these days, thanks to all the extra time we’ve had at home during the pandemic. With virtual work and online school, you have no option but to be glued to your laptop and phone.

The potential consequence of overusing these devices? Junk sleep. With a name like that, you’d be right if you guessed junk sleep wasn’t a good thing. Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to put a stop to it. 

Keep reading to learn more about what junk sleep is, what the most common causes are, and what you can do to prevent it. 

What is junk sleep?

You may or may not have already heard of junk sleep, but if you find yourself tossing and turning in bed or waking up feeling exhausted, then you’re no stranger to it. 

According to The Sleep Council — a British organization that speaks on the importance of sleep and its relation to our health — junk sleep is sleep that’s neither long enough nor good enough in quality to help restore your brain so that it can function properly the next day. 

The leading cause of junk sleep is the constant use of electronic devices before bed — but other factors, like lack of a bedtime routine or a chaotic environment, can also affect how well you sleep at night. 

How do you prevent junk sleep?

If you’ve fallen victim to junk sleep, follow these tips before bed to help you catch better Z’s tonight:

Ditch your devices 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 95% of people use an electronic device within an hour of bedtime.  I don’t blame you: It’s your chance to catch up on the news, reply to people, check your socials, read, or set your alarm for the next morning. 

But don’t kid yourself by calling this “me time.” In reality, using your phone or tablet before bed disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm and can lead to junk sleep. That’s because screens emit blue light, which inhibits your brain from producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.

So what should you do? The answer is simple: Cut back on your electronics usage before bed. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Turn off all your screens an hour before your bedtime.
  • Create a charging station in a room that’s not yours. (Avoid using your bedside table!)
  • Purchase an alarm clock instead of depending on your phone. 
  • Occupy yourself with other activities, such as reading (from a book—not an e-reader), painting, or doing a puzzle.

Create a bedtime routine — and stick to it

Do you find yourself often eating dinner at 9 p.m. — or working until 10 p.m.? If so, then you could be setting yourself up for a night of junk sleep. That’s because it’s hard to wind down when your mind — and body — are still active.


Those final hours before bed should be dedicated to relaxing and preparing yourself for sleep. You can do this by creating a bedtime routine. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, “a bedtime routine is  a set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, in the 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed.” Although bedtime routines can vary, they often include calming activities such as journaling, meditating, drinking tea, or doing yoga.

Perfect your sleep environment

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, your environment is everything. Noise, light, clutter, and a too-warm temp can all disturb your slumber, leading to — you guessed it — junk sleep 

Here are three things you can do to make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary:

  • De-clutter your bedroom. You can do this by making your bed every morning, putting away dirty and clean laundry, and removing any unnecessary items from your bedside table. 
  • Wear a sleep mask and earplugs to bed. Shutting out the light can have a huge impact on your ability to catch Z’s. Slip on a sleep mask or install blackout curtains to ensure your bedroom is truly dark come bedtime. Wear earplugs too to block out noise. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool. Lower your thermostat to somewhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit —t hat’s the ideal temperature range for optimal sleep. The right bedsheets can also prevent you from waking up with night sweats. Here are the best sheets to keep you cool

Could your mattress be to blame for junk sleep?

Sleeping on a less-than-comfortable mattress can make it harder to get a good night’s rest. So if none of the above tips are working, then your mattress could be the culprit of your junk sleep. Here’s how to tell if it’s time to replace your mattress. If you determine your bed is indeed past its prime, then take our mattress quiz to help find one that better suits your needs. 

This article originally appeared on Saatva and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Here’s how cannabis affects your sleep

Here’s how cannabis affects your sleep

Cannabis use is becoming mainstream throughout more and more of the country. In fact, it’s currently legal for medical use in 33 states and recreational use in 11 states. It makes sense then that many consumers are curious about the trend and how it can benefit their health and wellbeing — especially when it comes to sleep. Here’s what experts want you to know about the complex relationship between marijuana and sleep.

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Though multiple variables influence how cannabis impacts your sleep, experts and research see the cannabis plant as a potentially powerful natural solution for supporting quality rest.

Research (like this Journal of Palliative Medicine study) suggests that in addition to anxiety and pain, insomnia is one of the most common reasons people use cannabis.

The plant seems to help. According to recent research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 84% of surveyed adults who tried cannabis to support their sleep found it to be either “very” or “extremely” helpful.

The exact relationship between cannabis and sleep, though, depends on a number of specific factors.

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As research on cannabis and its effects on our health continues to develop, experts have identified several different compounds in the plant responsible for its influence on sleep.


Perhaps the most studied (and talked about) compounds in cannabis are cannabinoids. According to sleep specialist Michael Breus, PhD, the cannabis plant contains hundreds of different types of cannabinoids.

These cannabinoids are believed to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps the body’s internal environment remain stable and balanced despite external stressors, explains Jacqueline Montoya, MD, owner of GreenMedMD and chief medical officer of CBDfit.

Two, in particular, have been studied for their impact on sleep: CBD and THC.

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CBD (a.k.a. cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis known for its ability to support sleep.

“CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia and is currently being studied for its effects on REM sleep behavior disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness,” says Montoya. “Although we don’t know exactly how CBD induces sleep at a cellular level, we believe its interaction with the endocannabinoid system and serotonin receptors are responsible for its sedative effects.”

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THC (a.k.a. tetrahydrocannabinol), though perhaps best known for its psychoactive effects, also influences sleep.

“THC mimics the neurotransmitter anandamide and has direct sedative effects on the brain,” says Montoya. “It may help a person feel comfortable, and therefore allow them to fall asleep comfortably.”

However, while THC may decrease sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep), it could possibly impair sleep quality long-term, Montoya says. Research—like one Sleep Medicine Reviews paper—has implicated THC in suppressing REM, the fifth stage of the sleep cycle.

That said, though, THC heightens the function of CBD, so small amounts of it may enhance CBD’s sleep-boosting effects, Montoya says. This is known as the “entourage effect.”


Health-promoting essential oils found in plants, terpenes may also contribute to cannabis’ effects on sleep. According to Breus, they work by further supporting the actions of cannabinoids.

Though the cannabis plant contains around 200 terpenes, two in particular — myrcene and borneol—are known for their calming, soothing, sleep-promoting effects, says Montoya.

Tinnakorn Jorruang / istockphoto

Two different strains of cannabis plants — indica and sativa — have long been associated with different effects in the body.

Indica strains of cannabis are short, stocky, quick-growing, high in CBD and found in cooler environments, says Montoya. They’re generally associated with a relaxing, sleepy effect.

Sativa strains, meanwhile, are tall, thin, slower-growing plants that are lower in CBD and native to hotter, drier climates, Montoya says. They’re traditionally known for a more energized cannabis experience.

Today, most strains of cannabis available are hybrids of sativa and indica, with one being more dominant, explains Montoya.

She generally recommends higher-CBD, lower-THC indica strains of cannabis to support sleep. In addition to the actual strain, cannabis’ cannabinoid content also significantly impacts its effects.

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Because of THC’s ability to suppress REM sleep (and dreaming along with it), Breus urges caution before using high-THC cannabis to support sleep. The use of high-THC cannabis may also contribute to feelings of grogginess the next day.

“Since a cannabis plant can be made up of such a wide variety of compound combinations, it can take some experimenting to find the genetic strain which works best for you,” says Jen Palmer, naturopathic doctor and director of education for Charlotte’s Web CBD. “In addition to the variability in the plants, people also have unique biochemistries and react differently to cannabis’ compounds.”

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Given the complexity of cannabis (and its impact on sleep) and our constantly evolving understanding of this medicinal plant, Breus, Montoya, and Palmer recommend working closely with a trained physician if you want to give it a try yourself.

“Using more than you need can contribute to side effects and dependence,” says Montoya.

Does nicotine impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep? Read our guide on how vaping affects sleep.

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Featured Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen // istockphoto.