In the silence of the night, many women find themselves fighting an invisible enemy: insomnia. This unwanted companion seems to affect women more than men, turning the nighttime hours into a battle for restful sleep.
About 1 in 4 women suffer from it, compared to 1 in 5 men. Studies show that, in general, women tend to take longer to fall asleep, sleep for shorter periods, and feel more tired once they get up.
Why does this sleep disorder affect women more than men? Experts say it's a combination of hormonal differences, health conditions, and unhealthy sleep routines linked to their multiple roles in the home and society.
What is this sleep disorder and what are its symptoms?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to go back to sleep. You may still feel tired when you wake up. Insomnia can undermine not only your energy level and mood, but also your health, work performance, and quality of life.
The amount of enough sleep varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours per night.
Symptoms of insomnia may include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night.
- Waking up during the night.
- Waking up too early.
- Not feeling well rested after a night's sleep.
- Tiredness or daytime sleepiness.
- Irritability, depression or anxiety.
- Difficulty paying attention, concentrating on tasks, or remembering.
- Increase in errors or accidents.
- Constant concerns about sleep.
In this article, we will thoroughly explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and present effective strategies to combat it, with a special focus on CBD, an option that has gained popularity in the quest for peaceful sleep.
Scientific Reasons Behind Female Insomnia
Women may experience insomnia due to the effects of hormonal changes throughout the month and throughout their lives. Hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and during perimenopause can cause problems falling and staying asleep.
According to the Insomnia Guide, published in 2016 by the Spanish Sleep Society (SES), half of women will report sleep disturbances just before or during menstruation. And this not only happens during menopause, which is when cycles worsen.
During the different hormonal cycles of women's lives - puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, puerperium and menopause - their relationship with sleep can worsen and they have a higher risk of insomnia than men.
Pregnancy and Postpartum:
The journey towards motherhood brings with it physical and hormonal changes that can disturb rest. Symptoms during pregnancy, such as nausea, frequent urination, anxiety and malaise, depending on the trimester, can also trigger sleep disturbances, explains Shelby Harris, associate clinical professor of neurology and psychology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at the Bronx. This is especially true during the first and third trimesters, he said.
Then, of course, there's the sleep disruption that comes with caring for a newborn, Dr. Harris said, which can continue long after the baby is already sleeping through the night. Being “hypervigilant” taking care of the baby does not allow them to rest deeply for many months and even years.
Up to 80 percent of women begin having hot flashes in perimenopause (the four years or so before menopause), and they can last for several years afterward. However, for about 20 percent of women, these hot flashes are frequent and intense enough to disrupt sleep.
Postmenopausal women are also at higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles in the airways relax and temporarily prevent breathing, which can lead to frequent nighttime awakenings.
Weight gain related to menopause and aging may also influence the risk of sleep apnea, along with age-associated changes in muscle tone and a redistribution of body weight.
Stress and Anxiety:
Women are also at higher risk for certain mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, which can exacerbate sleep problems.
Stress causes hormones like cortisol to flow through the body, activating fight or flight mode. These hormones raise blood pressure and increase heart rate. So falling asleep during stressful periods can be very difficult and the quality of sleep very poor.
According to a Gallup poll released in May 2023, the percentage of women who said they currently had or were being treated for depression was more than twice that of men.
Worries about work, school, health, finances or family can keep the mind active all night, making it difficult to sleep, and women are often more sensitive to these worries.
Strategies for healthy sleep
Recent research affirms that lack of sleep has important repercussions on our health, the most obvious of which talk about changes in mood that include bad mood, sadness, anxiety and even promoting diabetes or weight gain.
The key is to establish a consistent sleep routine. Good habits can help prevent insomnia and promote deep rest:
- Keep the same bedtime and wake-up time from day to day, including weekends.
- Stay active: Regular activity helps promote a good night's sleep.
- Check your medications to see if they may contribute to insomnia.
- Avoid or limit naps.
- Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Remove appliances or electronic devices from your room.
- Avoid heavy meals and drinks before going to bed.
- Prepare your bedroom to make it comfortable for sleeping and use it only for sex or sleeping.
- Create a relaxing ritual such as taking a hot bath, reading, or listening to soft music before bed.
CBD against Insomnia
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex neurochemical network in the body that regulates various bodily functions, including emotions, pain, and sleep. While the body releases endocannabinoid molecules naturally, external sources of cannabinoids, such as CBD, can affect the body through the ECS.
"The hypothalamus, a peanut-sized structure buried deep in the brain, is enriched with cannabinoid receptors and governs the circadian rhythm of our sleep-wake cycle," explains Dr. Chantel Strachan of Columbia Primary Care in New York. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that, among other functions, help our body fall asleep at night and wake up during the day.
CBD can help people with insomnia because it works with the hypothalamus to regulate stress, explains Dr Strachan.
Some of the ways CBD can help improve sleep hygiene are:
- Reduce anxiety levels.
- Relieve chronic pain.
- Improve symptoms of sleep behavior disorder in people with Parkinson's disease.
- Reduce daytime sleepiness.
A bottle or dropper of our CBDZen every night applied under the tongue, an hour before bed, can make a big difference in the search for restful sleep.
Incorporate CBDZen into your routine to face the battle against insomnia, regain control of your sleep and, therefore, your general well-being. The night no longer has to be synonymous with restlessness; It's time to embrace the restful sleep we deserve.
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