In a new study published in Nature and Translational Psychiatry, a team from New Zealand has detailed findings from a Phase I trial examining the effects of LSD microdosing on sleep patterns. Conducted with 80 healthy adults, the study found that LSD microdoses led to an increase in sleep duration the night following microdosing, a potentially promising result for both microdosing advocates and those suffering from sleep-related issues. (1)

Study Design

In the double-blind study (in which neither participants nor researcher knows which treatment is being delivered), randomly assigned participants to either the LSD or placebo group. Participants were predominantly healthy males, aged between 25 to 60, with no significant psychiatric or physiological issues. Additionally, participants were required to record and confirm dose administration via video uploads, which provided an accurate timeline of dosing and subsequent sleep patterns. The participants were then divided into groups receiving either 10 µg of LSD or a placebo every three days over six weeks. 

Microdosing LSD involves taking sub-hallucinogenic doses, typically about one-tenth of a full psychedelic dose. This practice is believed to enhance creativity, productivity, and overall mental well-being without producing the intense visual and sensory alterations typically associated with higher doses. A full dose of LSD is usually considered to start at around 100 µg, so the 10 µg used in this study is a typical microdose of LSD. (2) 

Utilizing commercially available Fitbit devices, researchers monitored the sleep patterns and physical activity of the participants, providing a non-intrusive and accurate measure of the effects of microdosing. Out of the initial participants, five did not complete the study, primarily due to mild anxiety or unrelated reasons, highlighting the challenges of such trials.

Results of LSD Microdosing for Sleep

Sleep Study

The results revealed that microdosing LSD may extend sleep duration the night following the dose. Participants who microdosed LSD not only slept longer by approximately 24.3 minutes the following night, but also experienced a notable increase in REM sleep duration. Some results from the study:

  • An extra 8 min of REM sleep and 24 min of total sleep time the night after microdosing
  • No differences in sleep on the microdosing day itself, with participants going to bed earlier the night after microdosing
  • No significant changes in the participants’ physical activity levels or in the proportions of various sleep stages.

The extra 24 min of sleep is considered to be a statistically significant difference and clinically meaningful difference between the two groups. The study researchers say this result has implications for helping design microdosing protocols with LSD and in understanding their therapeutic mechanisms of action.

Researchers also say this extra sleep after microdosing suggests that it is important for microdosing protocols to have the typical one-day “off” between doses to ensure that patients are well rested/recovered before the next microdose is taken. 

Despite the promising findings, the study faced limitations, including its exclusive focus on male participants and lack of individuals with health conditions. Furthermore, the reliance on wearable technology, while innovative, may miss some nuanced clinical metrics of sleep that are obtainable in more controlled laboratory settings.

The findings suggest that LSD, when taken in small, non-hallucinogenic doses, may alter sleep patterns by extending the total sleep time without affecting the sleep stages.

How The Results May Help Research on Microdosing Psychedelics

Good Sleep LSD

While microdosing psychedelics has been gaining popularity for years, much of the positive results have been anecdotal, with limited clinical data. 

The few clinical attempts at microdosing research have had mixed results. On the positive side, MindBio Therapeutics recently announced promising results from a Phase IIa clinical trial involving take-home microdosing for the treatment of depression. This world-first trial showed a significant decrease in depression symptoms over 8 weeks, with a 60% reduction in depressive symptoms and 53% of patients achieving complete remission. (3)

On the other, less promising hand, MindMed has shelved its LSD microdosing program for adult ADHD after Phase II trial results did not meet their primary endpoint, leaving the company with insufficient evidence to justify the costs of continuing the trial. (4)

With the majority of positive data on microdosing psychedelics remain of the anecdotal or self-reported variety, this controlled study on LSD microdosing for sleep, while limited, provides useful data on the therapeutic potential of microdosing psychedelics. The results not only provide new insights into the physiological impacts of microdosing psychedelics but also set the stage for further research into how such substances can be used to manage sleep-related issues. 

Future studies could expand on these findings by including a more diverse participant pool and exploring the underlying mechanisms driving these changes in sleep architecture – which could in turn help researchers collect more hard data on the therapeutic potential of microdosing LSD and other psychedelics. 

This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.

  1. Allen, N., Jeremiah, A., Murphy, R. et al. (2024). LSD increases sleep duration the night after microdosing. Transl Psychiatry.
  2. Rootman, J.M., Kryskow, P., Harvey, K. et al. (2021). Adults who microdose psychedelics report health related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers. Sci Rep.
  3. MindBio Inc. (2024). MindBio Therapeutics Announces Positive Depression Data from World-First Phase 2a Take-Home Microdosing Trial. Accesswire.
  4. Mind Medicine Inc. (2024). MindMed Announces Business Update and Anticipated Milestones. Businesswire.