I'M NOT AN EARLY BIRD OR A NIGHT OWL, I'M SOME KIND OF PERMANENTLY TIRED PIGEON
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP FOR WOMEN
Very few things can beat the healing power (and downright deliciousness) of a good night’s sleep. So why is sleep important for women?
Restful, deep sleep is so vital for keeping us and our hormones in balance. But biological conditions unique to us, like pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause all impact our ability to sleep. Our hormone levels, lifestyle habits, and environmental factors all come into play.
While we typically get more sleep overall than men, researchers have found that women actually experience lower-quality sleep. Between our different social roles and responsibilities, life can present us with special obstacles that may disrupt our right to rest. Let’s take a deeper look at slumber and the promising benefits of CBD for sleep.
COMMON SLEEP DISORDERS AMONG WOMEN
About 70 million Americans alone suffer from sleep conditions. Unfortunately, women are more likely to experience sleep problems when compared to men. Women experience higher rates of sleep disorders including insomnia, pain-related sleep disruptions, restless leg syndrome, and more. Here are the most common sleep conditions that women encounter:
People suffering from insomnia often experience regular difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Women are 40% more inclined to develop insomnia due to hormonal changes that occur with menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy. As we get older, our risk of developing this condition also increases as we transition through menopause. Night sweats and hot flashes are impactful sleep disruptions that 75% to 85% of menopausal women experience. Women are also almost twice as likely than men to have depression or anxiety, which are both closely tied to insomnia.
PAIN & SLEEP
Pain is one of the more common causes of insomnia. Many painful conditions make it incredibly difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Unfortunately, some of the conditions associated with chronic pain are also more prevalent among women. These include arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, tension headaches, heartburn, and more.
RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
Restless legs syndrome, RLS, creates unpleasant tingling and crawling sensations in the legs while laying down and are accompanied by the uncontrollable urge to move the legs. Symptoms are often only resolved through movement or when not lying down, making it really difficult for women to sleep well throughout the night. Women are twice as likely to have RLS, with the risk increasing among those that have multiple children as well as those that experience pregnancy and menopause. One of the risk factors associated with RLS is iron deficiency, which is also more common among women.
Sleep apnea is a disorder where temporary pauses in breathing occur during sleep. These pauses lead to loud snoring, gasping, and choking sounds that can be very disruptive. While sleep apnea is twice as common in men, it increases in women over the age of 50. Older age and obesity are the two most significant risk factors for sleep apnea. During menopause, the hormonal changes that trigger lower progesterone levels and increase in abdominal fat may explain the heightened risk factor for older women.
WORK CIRCUMSTANCES & SLEEP
About 15 million Americans work outside of the traditional hours of 9:00 to 5:00. Shift workers, especially individuals that work during the night, often have to accommodate non-traditional sleep hours which creates disruptions to the natural sleep-wake cycle. Long-term disruptions to the natural sleep-wake cycle can cause less sleep, less quality sleep, as well as increasing the risk of accidents and illnesses. One study found that female night shift workers experienced a considerably larger risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, and irregular menstrual cycles. More research is needed but scientists also believe that these disruptions may have additional hormonal or biological effects.
TRADITIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL OPTION RISKS FOR SLEEP
While taking pharmaceutical and over-the-counter sleep aids can play a powerful therapeutic role in short-term use, the risks and consequences begin to multiply when used long-term. Here are the common side effects of prescription sleep pills when used short-term:
- Changes in appetite
- Burning or tingling sensation
- Daytime drowsiness
- Dry mouth or throat
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Mental issues with memory or attention
The long-term use of sleeping pills pose the risk of both physical and mental dependence, tolerance that makes the medication ineffective, withdrawal, depression, hallucinations, impaired motor skills, sleep walking, nausea and vomiting, and much more. Prescription sleep drugs have also been connected to an increased risk of injuries and car accidents, along with one study showing a higher diagnosis of cancer in patients that take sleeping pills regularly.
Sleep medication is also quite dangerous when taken with other prescription medications, often decreasing blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. When used with pain medication, the two can be a fatal combination, especially when mixed with alcohol, due to both being dose-dependent respiratory suppressants.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM & SLEEP
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating everyday physiological functions including sleep. As the primary homeostatic regulator of our biology, it plays a critical role in the sleep-wake cycle as well as other circadian processes. In short, the way we fall asleep, stay asleep, wake up, and remain awake are all regulated by our endocannabinoid system and circadian rhythms.
HOW CAN CBD HELP WOMEN WITH SLEEP?
There is actually very limited data available when it comes to the effects of CBD and sleep. This is due to both cannabis prohibition and the challenge of studying and treating sleep disturbances often complicated by the fact that sleep disorders are typically a symptom of many chronic conditions. However, the existing preclinical and anecdotal data has been increasingly positive, showcasing CBD’s powerful potential as a natural sleep aid.
Cannabis has been celebrated for centuries for helping those fall asleep and stay asleep. But, what about specific cannabinoids like CBD?
Interestingly enough, studies have found that CBD is actually mildly alerting or stimulating in moderate doses. However, research data and many anecdotal reports indicate that CBD has differential effects on sleep and can be both alerting or sedating based on the dose. One study found that 160mg of CBD decreased nighttime sleep disturbances and increased the total sleep time, suggesting that high doses may improve the duration and quality.
Other studies have shown promising results with our premium organic CBD for women being a safe and effective alternative to mainstream pharmaceutical sleep relief medication. These studies also showed that CBD may reduce the symptoms of REM behavior disorder and reduce sleep apnea events.
CBD FOR SLEEP DISRUPTION CAUSES
Menopause, painful chronic conditions, and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are often an underlying cause of sleep disruptions for women. Let’s take a closer look at how CBD may prove beneficial:
- Menopause symptoms: CBD has therapeutic promise for balancing mood chemical messengers and serotonin. While there are no direct studies available on CBD and hot flashes, this could account for the testimonials of menopausal women that swear by CBD for symptom relief.
- Painful chronic conditions: There are many studies that promote CBD’s encouraging therapeutic properties for relieving pain and inflammation. By offering pain relief potential, CBD may help those suffering from chronic conditions as well as injury with better comfort at night.
- Mental health conditions: Conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD can have a profound impact on sleep. Preclinical studies, like this one, display CBD’s potential anti-anxiolytic and calming effects. Other studies have displayed therapeutic promise when using cannabinoid therapy for improving sleep and reducing the frequency of nightmares in patients with PTSD.
HOW TO USE CBD FOR SLEEP
All cannabinoid therapy varies from person to person, but this is especially true when it comes to using CBD for sleep.
The results and effectiveness can vary greatly, depending on: the individual and their unique composition, the administration method, product cannabinoid profile, timing, and dosage.
We recommend self-experimenting with dosage and timing to find what works best for you. When it comes to understanding the effects of any new supplementation, it’s also wise to keep a journal where you track your dosage, timing, and sleep. This can give you a clear set of data points for creating the proper CBD regimen for sleep and allowing you to better understand how it affects you.
Tip: Try our Dream Night Tincture for natural, restorative sleep support.
PRESS PAUSE CBD FOR SLEEP
Let’s face it, lack of sleep sucks. But, as women, our complex body chemistry means that we can’t just throw anything into the mix and hope that it works.
That’s why we’ve handcrafted our premium organic CBD products for women just like you (and us!). We’re always happy to help you find the right products for improving sleep quality. Just reach out!