All You Need to Know About Menopausal Insomnia
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 61% of menopausal women experience insomnia and disturbed nights. Food Scientist and Nutritional Therapist Susie Debice reveals natural ways to get a restorative night’s sleep.
Triggers for disrupted sleep during perimenopause include worry, anxiety and being woken through the night by bouts of night sweats. After the menopause it seems that snoring and sleep apnoea may become more of an issue than before the menopause. As you go through the menopause falling levels of oestrogen and progesterone may have the impact of derailing your mood and mindset.
Anxiety is an extremely common symptom of the menopause and you could find yourself worrying about all sorts of things that you never paid much attention to before. This could feel very unsettling and you may find yourself waking in the night, churning things over in your mind and being unable to get back to sleep.
Oestrogen and progesterone have a part to play for neurotransmitter balance, the tiny brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine responsible for our feelings of happiness and a relaxed frame of mind. As your hormone levels fall during the menopause the delicate balance of these neurotransmitters becomes disrupted and this may be reflected in a more uptight mood and inability to achieve a good night’s sleep, every night of the week.
Women Need More Sleep than Men!
According to Britain’s sleep Dr J Horne, women need an average of twenty minutes more sleep than men. Why? Dr Horne’s research has revealed that women tend to use more parts of their brain during the day, than men because women are constantly multi-tasking! But often women are woken through the night by their partners moving around more in bed at night or getting up for trips to the loo. So many menopausal women just aren’t getting the amount of quality sleep they need to feel properly rested and ready for the day ahead.
5 Easy Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
- Increase your activity – get at least 5-10k steps a day
- Avoid caffeine – swap coffee to decaf and builders brew for camomile tea
- Reduce alcohol – save your glass of wine for the weekend
- Blue light – avoid screens for a least 2 hours before bed
- Bedtime routine – warm lavender bath followed by reading a book
Could CBD Oil be the Answer?
If you are suffering from a particularly impactful bout of menopausal insomnia, then you could consider CBD oil. CBD is a type of cannabinoid extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant. Hemp contains several compounds which are thought to work within the nervous system and pain and opioid receptors found within the body and brain. CBD is produced from strains of cannabis that have been altered to have low THC, another type of cannabinoid which is best avoided due to its psychoactive properties.
CBD is also found in hemp alongside flavonoids and terpenes which may offer additional benefits and if you are thinking about buying a CBD oil then be aware that they are categorised in three ways:
- Full-Spectrum – these products contain CBD alongside other cannabinoids (including THC) and flavonoids and terpenes.
- Broad Spectrum – contain CBD with much lower levels of other cannabinoids and flavonoids and terpenes.
- CBD Isolate – this is pure CBD without any of the other cannabinoids.
The quality and quantity of CBD oil can vary greatly from one product to the next. One brand you can trust is PharmaHemp who have CBD oil drops available in a wide range of strengths from 3% to 24%. It’s advisable to start with a low dose and work your way up.
We all know how important high quality sleep is for our general health and wellbeing, so menopausal insomnia is an issue that needs addressing. Hopefully, some of the information provided in this blog will prove useful for you if you are struggling with sleep during the menopause, however, if the problems persist, it’s always worth speaking with a medical professional.
The One Thing That Finally Cured My Hot Flashes and Insomnia
Natalie Gillespie sighed in frustration as she felt beads of sweat trickle down the back of her neck. “Not again!” she huffed, blasting her car’s air conditioner and hoping she wouldn’t be drenched by the time she finished driving carpool.
Since starting menopause, the 52-year-old Florida mom had been experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and headaches. But she never imagined a new job and an unconventional treatment — CBD for hot flashes — would be the answer to her prayers.
When Natalie was first offered the position of editor-in-chief of a website called God’s Greenery, a free online resource for Christians to explore cannabidiol (CBD) — a chemical derived from cannabis claimed to have healing benefits — she was very hesitant to accept. As a devout Christian, she felt it would be going against her beliefs. She had a strong conviction against the recreational use of marijuana and wasn’t sure if CBD was the same thing. But after reflection and prayer, Natalie realized that many other Christians may have the same questions, and by taking the job, she could help clarify the facts.
Determined to learn everything she could about CBD, Natalie began scouring scientific studies and quickly discovered that CBD is legal and just one of many chemicals in the cannabis plant. In fact, THC, which causes a high, is a completely different substance. She also read that when used by itself, CBD actually helps disorders like anxiety, depression, heart disease, and pain.
But Natalie was even more surprised when she asked her Christian friends their thoughts — and some had already tried it. One friend, who’d suffered from severe psoriasis, had done everything her doctors suggested without relief. But after using CBD for three weeks, her skin completely cleared. Amazed, Natalie found herself thinking about her own menopausal symptoms. And after praying about it a bit more, she decided using CBD for hot flashes was worth a try.
Relief at Last
Last April, after buying a type of CBD oil, Natalie began putting a few droplets under her tongue before bed. She was shocked when after just two nights, her night sweats had stopped. Over the next week, her hot flashes eased, she felt less anxious and more energetic, and she experienced fewer headaches. Natalie continued using CBD nightly, and soon all of her menopausal symptoms vanished — and have stayed at bay! “At first, I dismissed CBD, but I am so grateful that I did the research and tried it,” she says. “It has changed my quality of life and made me feel like myself again!”
CBD for Hot Flashes: An MD Answers Your Questions
We asked Mary Clifton, M.D., a board-certified internal medicine physician, an expert on medical use of cannabidiol (CBD), and a consultant for cannabisMD.com, to address our biggest concerns about CBD. Her insights:
How does CBD work? “Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system,” explains Dr. Clifton. “This helps keep all the body systems — immune, respiratory, digestive, etc. — balanced and working together.”
What conditions does it help? “CBD helps reduce inflammation, which lowers pain and anxiety and improves sleep,” she says. “And new research indicates CBD may calm menopause symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flashes.”
Is it safe? Does it make you ‘high’? “It is very safe, and CBD won’t create a ‘high’ like THC. It’s FDA approved for treating epilepsy, and research continues to validate its use for multiple conditions. The caveat: CBD doesn’t work for 20% of those who try it.”
What do I look for? “Try a CBD tincture under the tongue. Results should happen within 10 minutes, so you’ll know if it’s working. Also, choose a product that’s had third-party testing, which should be clearly displayed on the label.” One to try: God’s Greenery Oil of Gladness, $89.