Although many people say they would have to be given a general anaesthetic to fall asleep on shrooms, others find that during a trip, what they feel the urge to do is curl up and snooze.
But the idea of sleeping might not be appealing – would doing so waste the potential of a good trip? Or would you be hurled into an unmanageable realm of dream-upon-dream hallucinations? Let’s take a look at what happens when you fall asleep on shrooms (and if it’s even possible).
Can I fall asleep on shrooms?
Research published in Human Brain Mapping back in 2014 found solid evidence for something mushroom fanatics have been describing for millennia – taking psilocybin really does put you into a ‘dreamlike’ or ‘waking dream’ state. Not just in terms of what you’re seeing and experiencing, but physically, in your brain.
So, can you fall asleep when your brain is already behaving like it is asleep?
The general consensus is that psilocybin has the potential to promote great sleep post-trip, but during the trip, most people say there’s no way they could fall asleep. After all, when the shrooms are just kicking in, the body produces a rush of adrenaline and cortisol, providing a sharp energy boost. However, as is almost always the case, there are exceptions – although there don’t appear to be any studies investigating it, anecdotally some people say they have fallen asleep while tripping.
Apparently, it’s really, really intense.
Reports of having dreams within dreams and not knowing whether they’re awake or asleep are fairly common in those who have managed to drop off. As are vibrant, kaleidoscopic visions. But are the potential therapeutic benefits still there in this type of situation? It’s hard to say.
As all studies looking at the effects of psilocybin have been performed on waking participants, we can only go by what psychonauts share of their own personal experiences. While there doesn’t seem to be any harm in falling asleep during a psilocybin journey, so far I’ve yet to speak to anyone who reports any distinct benefit.
It’s highly likely that the same mechanisms of creating new pathways in the brain, literally opening up possibilities for people who might be stuck in a rut of depression, anxiety or PTSD, will happen regardless of whether you’re awake or asleep. So, if you undergo therapy sessions the following day (or when you wake up!), perhaps this way of using the drug would be just as effective. However, plenty of people speak about the trip itself, and the profound realisations and experiences during that short time which they might not ordinarily be able to think or speak about, as being a very large part of the whole process. Obviously, this gets missed out during a dream. Unless you have the ability to lucid dream… but that’s just getting a bit too ‘Inception’-y for a single article…
Is it safe to fall asleep on shrooms?
It seems as though there’s no danger to fall asleep while tripping if you’re able to and feel the urge. Maybe if your body is telling you to sleep, that’s exactly what it needs to do. However, it could be a little risky to fall asleep and wake up mid-trip if you’re alone or in an unsafe space. But then, taking psilocybin in an unsafe space is generally not recommended, whatever happens!
As long as you’re comfortable where you are, and you’re supported if you feel the need to be supported, you should be fine. Just take care to use all the same harm reduction techniques you would for any trip:
Set & Setting
Make sure you’ve prepared your mindset for the trip, perhaps practicing meditating and setting intention beforehand. If you’re planning to try and fall asleep, maybe you could even learn some lucid dreaming techniques beforehand
Sort yourself out with a comfy, warm, safe space (without too many blankets to get tangled in!) to take your trip in, and ask a trusted friend to be your trip sitting (even just being in the house with you) if you think you might benefit from that.
To get the most out of your experience, practice integration techniques. If you can, you might want to book in for a therapy session the next day. Or maybe you have mindful practices you can enjoy alone, such as journaling or mirror work.
Ruby Deevoy is a U.K. cannabis journalist with years of experience covering CBD and cannabis in mainstream publications such as The Independent, The Mirror, The National, Elle, Red, Top Sante and Natural Health magazine. She’s also the U.K’s only CBD columnist, writing monthly for Top Sante magazine, cannabis agony aunt for Leafie, writes the Indybest CBD product lists, is founder of The CBD Consultancy and is the primary press member for The Cannabis Industry Council. Tweets @RDeevoy.