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How to hack your menstrual cycle with CBD

You may have heard that ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’. Well, how about ‘men are the sun, women are the moon’? This astrology-analogy (try saying that after a few shandies) refers to the difference in the male and female hormone cycles.
Males have a 24-hour cycle, like the sun, with testosterone peaking in the morning and tapering off throughout the day. Females, meanwhile, have a month-long cycle, and, I think it’s fair to say, it’s a little more complicated.

We expect our output to be the same every day – but this isn’t realistic for people who menstruate’

Part of the reason for this is that our world works on a day-to-day basis. We expect our ‘output’ – as a parent, employee, entrepreneur, runner or rower – to be the same every day. But this simply isn’t a realistic expectation for those of us who mentrustate.

One of the biggest fluctuations throughout the month is the quality of sleep – and that has a knock-on effect on everything in our waking hours, too. Let’s look at what this means and how CBD can support you to get better sleep throughout the month.

Menstrual Phase

CBD can help counteract symptoms of menstruation such as cramps, headaches and digestive issues

On the first day of your period, progesterone and oestrogen levels are at their lowest for the month, which can reduce the quality of your sleep.

Aunt Flow also tends to bring with her a host of physical symptoms which make sleep more difficult: cramps, headaches and digestive issues. CBD can help to counteract these and deepen your sleep, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Of course, poor quality sleep has a knock-on effect for the next day, so it is natural that we aren’t performing at our very best at this moment in our cycle. When we expect the very best of ourselves during the menstrual phase, we set ourselves up for disappointment and create a negative feedback loop. Adjust your expectations of yourself, just for a few days.

Follicular Phase

CBD can deepen sleep in the middle of your cycle, when your body temperature is elevated and it’s more difficult to sleep

From day one of your period up to your ovulation in the middle of the month, you are in the follicular phase. Right after your period, you will have a few ‘normal’ days of sleep, as the body responds better to melatonin in this phase.

Oestrogen is climbing as we come towards ovulation. When the body releases an egg, it’s our monthly fertile window – your body’s moment to shine! After all, it has a job to do: keep the species going. And whether that’s your aim or not, biology throws everything at it. That means heightened libido and increased body temperature as Mother Nature wants you to be shagging, not sleeping.

CBD can really help maximise your sleep at this crucial period in the month. The days around ovulation are likely to be your most confident, creative, outgoing and productive time.  You don’t want it to be overshadowed by tiredness arising from insomnia.

In addition to taking CBD, turning down the thermostat will help a great deal. In ideal circumstances, the body temperature reduces by one or two degrees as you wind down for sleep.

Luteal Phase

We have more deep, non-REM sleep after ovulation, so take a break from your CBD

The luteal phase lasts from ovulation to the first day of your period. If the egg released isn’t fertilised (i.e. you don’t fall pregnant), oestrogen levels taper off and progesterone increases.

The week post-ovulation is likely to be the best of your entire cycle for sleep quality, with increased non-REM sleep. That is, you naturally sleep more deeply. Therefore, the advice is to enjoy this and take a break from using your regular CBD to avoid building up a tolerance.

Premenstrual Phase

Start taking your CBD before you become premenstrual, so it can build up again in your system.

Good things don’t last forever, and the days before your period are where most women see problems with their sleep. Just before you menstruate, progesterone levels are reduced, and so sleep quality declines. People who suffer from PMS or PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, a more severe form of PMS) tend to have lower progesterone levels and therefore increased sleep problems.

CBD builds up in the body, so remember to start taking it again about one week before your period is due.

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