Sleep is an essential part of our day-to-day life. But, a lot of the time, this is something that people take for granted. You might think that sleep is just a simple thing and that there really isn’t much thinking that should go into it. But, as simple as sleep may seem, you have to consider many things about sleep.
The quality of sleep you get can have both immediate and long-term effects. In the short term, your day can already get affected by the kind of sleep you had the night before. As for the long-term, the type of sleep you get can have either a beneficial or detrimental effect on your health. That’s why your sleep shouldn’t be something you should take for granted because it impacts your life.
To better understand sleep, its effects on you, and how you can improve your sleep, people have been studying sleep for quite some time. Aside from scientists, even individuals such as Earth Erowid and Fire Erowid have been looking into this topic.
Sleep studies have covered several study topics, with induced psychedelic sleep being a rather exciting field. With psychedelics becoming more recognized again for all their benefits, their impact on sleep has shown some exciting results. Among all their currently studied services, sleep could be another area where psychedelic mushrooms can come in.
How Sleep Works
Sleep is more than just getting knocked out and then regaining consciousness the next day. There are different stages of sleep, and these stages all have other effects on your brain. What’s more, sleep actually occurs in cycles that repeat themselves until you wake up. To better understand how psychedelics can affect your sleep, having even just a simple understanding of sleep can help.
There are two states under which the stages of sleep take place: the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state and the Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) state. While the REM state is a stage on its own, the NREM state has three stages that take place under it.
When you fall asleep, you first enter the NREM state and then the REM stage. After reaching your first REM stage, your sleep cycles between the NREM and REM stages at varied sequences and intervals.
The following are the respective stages of sleep and what takes place under each step.
- NREM 1
The first stage of sleep is the NREM 1 stage. This is also known as the drowsiness stage. During this stage, you can still be awakened easily. Your eyes move slowly, and your muscle activity decreases.
- NREM 2
The second stage, the NREM 2 stage, is also known as the light sleep stage. This usually takes place 10 to 12 minutes after NREM 1. During this stage, there is no more eye movement. Under an EEG (which measures brain activity), your brain waves become slower, showing that your brain activity slows down. This stage usually lasts between 30 to 60 minutes.
- NREM 3
NREM 3, also known as the deep sleep stage, is when you can achieve restful sleep. Based on EEG readings, slow and rhythmical brain waves are observed. It is in this stage where it is more difficult to rouse you from sleep. Waking up anyone who is in this stage will result in them being disoriented and dizzy. Unfortunately, not everyone reaches this stage when they sleep.
During this stage, your body makes tissue repairs, helps your body with growth and development, builds on your immune system, energizes you for the next day.
This is probably the more well-known stage of sleep. The reason why it’s called the REM stage because this is when there is the most rapid, roving eye movement. You usually reach this stage 60 to 90 minutes after sleep onset.
While you lose all muscle tone during the REM stage, this stage is known as the paradoxical sleep stage. This is because, based on EEG readings, your brain waves are similar to when you are awake or drowsy. This means that you can actually be roused from your sleep easily. On average, people reach REM sleep around 3 to 6 times while they sleep.
While the profound sleep stage words on your body, the REM stage works on your brain. Specifically, the information you’ve learned during the past day is stored, and your long-term memory is further developed.
Expected Effects of Psychedelic Shrooms and Sleep
As psychedelic sleep studies are not currently abundant, an accurate understanding of how magic mushrooms and psilocybin affects sleep has not yet been reached. Despite this, a few studies have hypothesized a few of its possible effects on a person.
In some studies, it was observed that psilocybin had a similar effect on the brain as certain antidepressants. Specifically, psilocybin had identical results to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other serotonergic antidepressants.
The similarity means that psilocybin acts on the same serotonin neuroreceptors on the brain. This makes it a possible alternative to treating depression.
With this in mind, a study entitled “The Effects of Daytime Psilocybin Administration on Sleep: Implications for Antidepressant Action” predicted two main effects related to the impact SSRIs had on those with depression. This study stated that psilocybin would cause an increased latency of REM onset and decreased duration of REM sleep.
Do shrooms help combat sleep disorders?
Based on the study’s results, psilocybin did affect sleep similar to serotonergic antidepressants. Psilocybin was able to effect a significant increase in the latency of REM sleep. This considerable increase was comparable to current serotonergic antidepressants. But what does this mean?
Sleep latency is the length of time it takes for you to fall asleep. On average, a normal person takes about 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. Anything less than the average is a sign that a person may be suffering from a sleep disorder, which is very common with depression.
The usual treatment for depression would be antidepressants, which stabilize a person’s mood and help with the accompanying sleep disorder. Since psilocybin and antidepressants both increase REM sleep latency, it might be just as effective.
Aside from the increase in sleep latency, psilocybin administration showed a decrease in the duration of REM sleep. Usually, a reduction in average REM sleep duration would mean there is a problem with rest. But, this decrease was observed in someone with a depression-induced sleep disorder.
In someone with depression, what usually happens in terms of REM sleep is that it becomes uncontrolled. So, this could mean that REM sleep would take longer than usual. But, with antidepressants, REM sleep ends up getting decreased and controlled, bringing it back to normal. Much like the effect of antidepressants, psilocybin was also able to show the same significant reduction.
Other Uses of Shrooms in Treatment Plans
Aside from its possible effects in treating sleep disorders, shrooms have also shown the potential to treat other mental illnesses. Psilocybin has a similar impact on serotonin and its receptors, comparable to the effects of antidepressants.
This serotonergic effect has also been utilized in studies. Psilocybin was studied as an alternative to treating depression.
Based on those studies, there is potential for psilocybin to become a possible treatment for depression. This would mean another treatment option for those who have depression that does not respond to the current antidepressant treatments. But this still needs to be studied further.
While psilocybin still needs to be studied further about psychedelic sleep studies, there is some potential to become a treatment for sleep disorders. As it has similar serotonergic effects as those found in antidepressants, you can see that these are just as effective.
Aside from that, it’s also currently being studied as an alternative to antidepressants in treatments for depression. This helps support that magic mushrooms may affect the brain to help with depression and its accompanying sleep disorders.