We’ve all been there; exhausted but still awake, pointlessly browsing the internet, and then the next morning proudly claiming how little sleep we got. Somewhere along the way, #teamnosleep became a badge of honor.
But why?! By now, you likely know about the importance of sleep to your overall health ad nauseum. It’s connected to everything from overall energy, immunity, illness, stress, appetite, and recovery. What’s more, it’s also very connected to your reproductive and sexual health. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, ovary-havers are more likely to report sleep problems like not getting enough sleep or being sleepy during the day (1).
Can you guess why?
Yup – fluctuating hormones.
Luckily for us, there’s another trending hashtag to combat #teamnosleep: #CBD! Also known as cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp (more on this later).
The good news about this? As you’re about to find out, the sleep and menstrual cycles are interconnected, and not always in a way that promotes catching Z’s. Enter CBD, which may actually be able to help you with your sleep.
We love killing two birds with one stone! (Well, we don’t like killing birds, but you get the point.)
SO HOW ARE MENSTRUAL CYCLES AND SLEEP CONNECTED?
The hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle can also regulate your sleep cycle! The same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones (such as melatonin and cortisol) can also trigger a daily release of reproductive hormones (2).
Remember our dear pals estrogen and progesterone? Well, the ratio of these two are always changing throughout the menstrual cycle. It’s these hormones that are responsible for our favorite PMS symptoms like headaches, mood disturbances, and cramping- that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep (2).
And what if you have a hormone imbalance? Those who have low testosterone and those who have hormone disorders like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which can result in irregular periods, high testosterone levels, and low progesterone levels), have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea, a repetitive interruption of breathing during sleep (4).
Additionally, when looking at bedtimes, sleep quality, sleep maintenance and wake times, people with PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder) or very severe PMS are reported to have poorer sleep in the days leading up to their period. And, many people who commonly experience PMS also report experiencing daytime sleepiness and a decrease in productivity while doing everyday activities (5).
Interestingly, this works the other way around as well! Research presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), showed that those who experience certain sleep syndromes are more likely to report irregular menstrual cycles and premenstrual symptoms (6).
Starting to get the drift?
Interesting! I don’t have any specific issues with my menstrual cycle or hormones.
You may be thinking to yourself “Does my menstrual cycle still affect my sleep and vice versa?”
For sure! The expected hormonal ebb and flow of the menstrual cycle itself may affect your sleep.
Post-ovulation is prime time for your sleep schedule to get out of whack. Your estrogen and progesterone levels rise, while melatonin (helps you sleep) and cortisol (keeps you awake) drop. (14). Low cortisol makes you sleepy, and low melatonin stops you from sleeping. It’s the perfect mix for insomnia. Then, when your period comes around, it’s estrogen and progesterone’s turn to go down, which (for a reason the scientists haven’t quite put their finger on yet) makes you feel less rested even if you do get some sleep (14). So, the increases and decreases of hormone levels, along with things like rising body temperature thanks to progesterone, can all affect how you sleep. After your period, your body will return to your normal state (whatever that looks like for you), and then it begins again (14).
FUN IDEA ALERT!!!
If you have a menstrual cycle, it may be interesting to record your sleep patterns throughout a few cycles. See if you can detect any of your own patterns!
Sleep and fertility
You guessed it. Sleep can also impact your fertility. The hormones that trigger ovulation and the sperm-maturation process are also tied into the body’s sleep-wake patterns. So, if we aren’t sleeping well, the secretion of the reproductive hormones may be affected, making conception more difficult, may that be via intercourse or insemination. Plus, since long-term lack of sleep can affect your immunity, you can become more susceptible to diseases and conditions that can impact your fertility (7).
And, on the most basic level, if you aren’t sleeping well, you’re also less likely to actually want to get it on. So, if you are trying to conceive via intercourse, rest up so you can actually have some fun! A 2015 study conducted at the University of Michigan Medical School found that the longer individuals slept, the more interested in sex they were the following day (8).
The moral of the story – sleep impacts almost every aspect of our overall health and well-being, and sexual health is no exception.
OK, I GET IT! SLEEP REALLY IS THAT IMPORTANT. BUT WHAT CAN I DO?
Enter CBD. While CBD is an active ingredient found in hemp, it does not produce psychoactive effects, but is thought to play the most significant role in the plant’s medicinal benefits (9)!
How can CBD help you sleep?
According to Nutritionists and Medical Cannabis expert, and allbodies practitioner, Jillian Tuchman, MS, RDN, CDN, a common theme in answers to CBD questions is: there’s still so much we don’t know! However, there have been enough studies (mostly on rats, not humans) to suggest that CBD might assist with sleep through its ability to interact with the receptors for certain neurotransmitters (10). These neurotransmitters that the CBD interacts with are the ones that produce an anti-anxiety effect, which helps with sleeplessness. Research has also shown that CBD might improve chronic pain, which in turn helps with sleeplessness experienced by those suffering from chronic pain (11).
HOW CAN I FIND GOOD QUALITY CBD, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
We got you, duh!
RESET Balance is the first truly pharmaceutical-grade, high-quality, natural CBD (with no psychoactive compounds). And while RESET may look a lot like any other CBD oil out there, it’s unique. (That’s it!)
RESET actually isn’t CBD oil, but instead made of something called nanoliposomes, which have been shown to make substances more bioavailable, meaning more of it survives the digestion process, so your body can actually access all the good stuff and get the benefits (12).
While side effects are rare, always start slow and always pay attention to your body (13). It’s always a good idea to check in with your doc, but especially if you are on any medications!
FUN IDEA ALERT!!!
Once you start taking CBD, track your sleeping habits against your cycle again. Did anything change? Did your cycle feel different? Less painful? Less PMS? Maybe you helped some of your hormones along the way!
We’re all about killing two birds with one stone!!! Man, we really need a new expression.
Written by: Loni Swain
Medically reviewed by: Danielle LeBlanc, RN
All content found on this Website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats, was created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
1. “Women & Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/women-and-sleep.
2. Gupta, Adeeti, OB/GYN. “6 Ways Your Menstrual Cycle Can Affect Your Sleep.” Bustle. Bustle Digital Group, June 12, 2019. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-your-menstrual-cycle-can-affect-your-sleep-12051323.
3. Holesh, Julie E. “Physiology, Ovulation.” StatPearls [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 21, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441996.
4. Chen, Jennifer. “Women, Are Your Hormones Keeping You Up at Night?” Yale Medicine. Yale University School of Medicine, July 10, 2017. https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/women-are-your-hormones-keeping-you-up-at-night/.
5. “Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome Linked to Irregular Menstrual Cycles.” American Academy of Sleep Medicine – Association for Sleep Clinicians and Researchers. AASM, November 8, 2017. https://aasm.org/delayed-sleep-phase-syndrome-linked-to-irregular-menstrual-cycles-premenstrual-symptoms-in-women/.
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7. Cornforth, Tracee. “Check Your Sleep Habits If You’re Concerned About Fertility.” Verywell Family. Verywell Family, July 4, 2019. https://www.verywellfamily.com/make-the-most-of-sleep-and-sunlight-3522556.
8. Kalmbach, David A., J. Todd Arnedt, Vivek Pillai, and Jeffrey A. Ciesla. “The Impact of Sleep on Female Sexual Response and Behavior: A Pilot Study – Kalmbach – 2015 – The Journal of Sexual Medicine – Wiley Online Library.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), March 16, 2015. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jsm.12858.
9. Prøhbtd. “What Are Cannabinoids?” PRØHBTD. PRØHBTD. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://prohbtd.com/watch/learn/episodes/what-are-cannabinoids/.
10. Murphy, L L, R M Muñoz, B A Adrian, and M A Villanúa. “Function of Cannabinoid Receptors in the Neuroendocrine Regulation of Hormone Secretion.” Neurobiology of disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine, December 1998. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9974176.
11. Shannon, Scott, Nicole Lewis, Heather Lee, and Shannon Hughes. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente journal. The Permanente Journal, January 7, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/.
12. Daeihamed, Marjan, Simin Dadashzadeh, Azadeh Haeri, and Masoud Faghih Akhlaghi. “Potential of Liposomes for Enhancement of Oral Drug Absorption.” Current drug delivery. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26768542.
13. Huestis, Marilyn A. “Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics.” Chemistry & biodiversity. U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/.
14. Jacoby, Sarah. “How Every Stage Of Your Menstrual Cycle Messes With Your Sleep.” Edited by Armando Hernandez-Rey, MD. Refinery 29. Refinery29 Inc., March 11, 2016. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/03/105706/menstrual-cycle-sleep.