When we talk to women about what would have the greatest beneficial impact on their quality of life, there’s one answer that seems to stretch across the entire menopause experience:
It affects everything about our lives — our mood, our energy levels, our productivity, our confidence, our weight, our physical and mental health in menopause — for good or ill.
Not enough quality sleep can lead to serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Our immunity can be challenged when our sleep tanks, and that’s especially bad right now.
The occasional sleepless night is uncomfortable but not particularly harmful (unless you doze off while driving — please don’t do that), but many women we talk to feel like they haven’t had a decent sleep in years. And that takes a real toll on body, mind, and joy.
There are lots of reasons women sleep poorly in this time: hot flashes/night sweats, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, urinary issues, pain…. Women in perimenopause and post-menopause have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and they wake up more tired than they were the night before.
Unfortunately, sleep disruption doesn’t usually disappear along with other menopause symptoms. Poor sleep can also be a result of simply getting older. But good news: we can help.
For many women, a truly effective solution is cannabidiol or CBD. One of many components of the hemp plant, CBD is being studied for a wide range of health benefits, including managing some seizure disorders in children, but also potentially heart disease, some cancers, even dementia.
And while the scientific community is still researching CBD to determine its efficacy, so many women asked us to create a safe, smart supplement, that we jumped into the research with both feet.
Here’s what we learned:
For many, CBD can help reduce pain, depression, and anxiety and promote relaxation.
How? Well, our bodies already produce endocannabinoids, nuerotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors present in our nervous systems. It’s possible that CBD reduces pain by interacting in that process and reducing inflammation.
And here’s a hint: add a magnesium glycinate capsule to your pre-bed routine for even more natural pain-relief, sleep-promoting assistance.
When it comes to anxiety and depression, CBD may be acting on the brain’s serotonin receptors, imitating the “feel-good” properties of the neurotransmitter. By alleviating pain and worry and promoting relaxation, CBD may be making it a whole lot easier to fall asleep.
Our bodies naturally produce the hormone melatonin in the evenings as sunlight diminishes. It helps our bodies and minds relax and prepare for sleep.
However, melatonin production declines with age, making good sleep harder to come by. Adding back some of the lost melatonin may help you fall asleep sooner, stay asleep longer, and get better quality sleep, says the Mayo Clinic
Melatonin may be of particular help if you travel a lot and have to deal with jet lag and time zones, or if your work shift hours dictate sleeping in the day and working through the night.
According to Gennev Naturopathic Physician Dr. Wendy Ellis, 1 mg is typically the amount that provides restorative sleep without the next-day “hangover.”
“You want to mimic normal physiologic doses (the amount the body makes on its own) as much as you can, and most studies say that is 0.3 to 0.8 mg per day. Three milligrams or 5mg is typically too much,” she says.
If you’re concerned about taking CBD, the following information might help.
Cannabidiol (CBD) – which comes from the hemp plant, not from the marijuana plant — does not have psychoactive properties and is legal in all 50 states in the US. It is considered generally safe. In fact, the World Health Organization says, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Side effects can include nausea, fatigue, and irritability, says Harvard Health; if you’ve been warned away from grapefruit because of its blood thinning effect, you should avoid CBD products as well.
The greatest concern around CBD for most medical professionals is that it’s unregulated, so it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting. Be sure you’re getting CBD from a reliable source.
And of course, we always recommend letting your doctor know you’re adding something new — just in case there are any concerns the CBD and/or melatonin may interact with medicines you’re taking or health concerns you have.