Substance Use

How Does MDMA Affect Your Sleep?

person buying mdma drugs

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MDMA Sleep Effects

MDMA is a popular recreational drug commonly used in the party scene. This mind-altering substance gives MDMA users a sense of pleasure and increased energy. However, many people don’t realize it can have severe side effects that disrupt sleep. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances can last for days to weeks after drug use, which can be detrimental to your health. In this article, you can explore the effects of MDMA and how it impacts sleep quality and overall health. 

If you are looking for information or support regarding MDMA use, contact Zinnia Healing. Our team of professionals can help you get the support and help you need.

What Is MDMA?

3,4Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, is an illegal psychedelic drug, commonly known by its street names “Molly” and “ecstasy.” Typically, MDMA is taken by pill, but it can also be snorted, smoked, or injected. This substance is an amphetamine and was first synthesized in 1912 by a German chemist named Anton Köllisch. Initially, it was intended to be used as a blood clotting agent, and instead, it became a popular recreational drug commonly abused by the younger demographic. This drug is classified as an empathogen, meaning MDMA users will often experience a heightened sense of euphoria, wakefulness, and pleasure. However, the pharmacology of this drug also alters baseline levels of neurons in your brain, which are responsible for healthy cognitive function and total sleep.

How MDMA Affects Your Sleep

MDMA works by targeting neurotransmitters in your brain, including:

  • Serotonin — responsible for controlling mood, appetite, and sleep
  • Dopamine — connects to the brain’s reward system
  • Norepinephrine — regulates alertness and energy levels

The alteration of your brain neurology can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. MDMA affects the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle and emotions. When this chemical is altered due to drug use, users may experience insomnia or sleep disturbances for days or weeks after taking MDMA.

Effects of MDMA

MDMA is an unregulated, illegal drug. Narcotics, such as opiates, sedatives, and other harmful chemical substances, are often modified and sold as ecstasy, making it difficult to know what reactions to expect. The effects of MDMA vary based on many factors. Some common acute effects recreational MDMA users experience include:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Wakefulness
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sweating and chills
  • Nausea
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Sleep deprivation

MDMA use can temporarily induce feelings of pleasure, but it can also lead to changes in your brain chemistry that cause disruptions to your sleep.

For assistance overcoming MDMA addiction, contact Zinnia Healing through our 24/7 helpline at (855) 430-9439 or our website. Enrollment in our residential treatment program is the first step toward recovery.  

Effects of MDMA on Your Sleep

Some of the sleep disturbances caused by MDMA use include:

  • Insomnia — a sleep condition where you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It is common to experience insomnia after MDMA use due to the increased alertness and wakefulness caused by the drug.
  • Sleep apnea — A condition where you stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Apnea can be caused by MDMA use because the drug can constrict blood vessels, leading to difficulty breathing. This can also lead to fragmented sleep and sleepiness the following day.
  • Sleep disturbances — MDMA use can also disrupt your natural circadian rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep because the drug alters serotonin levels, which are responsible for controlling our sleep/wake cycle.
  • Sleep disorders — One clinical study found that MDMA use is associated with decreased REM sleep. REM or rapid eye movement sleep refers to the part of your sleep cycle where you dream. It is the most vital sleep phase and is essential for feeling rested after a full night’s sleep. Disruptions in sleep cycles can cause nightmares that feel real and sleep paralysis, a condition where you cannot move or speak for a short period after falling asleep. These sleep conditions can be incredibly distressing if you suffer from anxiety or PTSD.
  • Stress — Additionally, MDMA use increases the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body, leading to sleep deprivation and insomnia. Chronic stress and fatigue can also lead to other health issues associated with sleep disturbances, such as an increased risk of hypertension.

Long-Term Effects of MDMA on Sleep

MDMA use can contribute to acute effects like sleep deficits, insomnia, and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. However, the long-term effects can be even more severe. Over time, repeated MDMA use can alter your brain’s chemistry, leading to chronic and severe medical conditions. Research shows this shift in brain chemistry can cause severe sleep disturbances, which may continue for weeks to months after MDMA users quit. Although the importance of total sleep is easy to minimize, a lack of sleep can cause severe medical conditions, including:

  1. Mental health conditions — MDMA use can impair your ability to regulate emotions, which is essential for healthy sleep cycles. Research shows regular MDMA users are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, which can further disrupt their sleep and cause even more health problems.
  2. Addiction — Prolonged use can increase your risk of developing a tolerance, addiction, or drug abuse. The anxiety caused by addiction can make it challenging to get adequate rest due to worrying thoughts and guilt.
  3. Worsen pre-existing medical conditions — MDMA use may also worsen pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, and other sleep disorders. Chronic use of MDMA can cause lung inflammation, making it difficult to breathe effectively while sleeping.
  4. Serotonin syndrome — MDMA can increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to a condition known as serotonin syndrome, a severe medical condition that causes hallucinations and seizures if left untreated. It can also cause sleep disturbances and insomnia.

MDMA can have significant impacts on your total sleep and well-being. Chronic users often have insomnia, fragmented sleep, and other sleep disturbances. It can also worsen pre-existing medical conditions and mental health problems and increase your risk of addiction. It is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with MDMA use, especially regarding sleep.

Low Doses of MDMA for Therapy

Although many ecstasy users report sleep issues after drug use, a present study is being performed to understand if low-dose drug administration may benefit when used for psychopharmacology treatment. Low doses of MDMA, used for psychiatry, are currently being studied as researchers believe MDMA may help people suffering from certain medical conditions such as PTSD.

In weekly psychotherapy sessions, the control group was given two doses of MDMA (75 mg and 125 mg). Participants of this study self-reported “feeling more connected to themselves and others, more joy, more compassion, and with new skills for facing life’s challenges.” Single doses of MDMA seem to have fewer long-term adverse effects than continued use. However, there have been insufficient findings that MDMA leads to improved sleep quality, and further research is needed to determine the impacts of MDMA on rest.

Final Thoughts

MDMA can have significant impacts on your sleep health and well-being. It is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with MDMA use, especially regarding sleep. Heavy, long-term MDMA use can lead to sleep disturbances, insomnia, and other physical and psychological health issues. 

If you are using MDMA and are looking for support in overcoming addiction, contact Zinnia Healing. Our team of professionals can help you get the support and help you need.