Millions experiencing menopause sleeplessness ‘mental health catastrophe’ in waiting
Millions of women are experiencing increased anxiety and sleeplessness as they go through the menopause during lockdown, according to a new report.
An estimated 13million women are currently pre- or menopausal in the UK – the equivalent to one third of the female population.
But new research has revealed that seven in 10 women over the age of 40 believe the current lockdown has increased anxiety in those going through menopause.
And although the NHS recommends that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, the survey of 2,000 people showed that 73 per cent of 45-54-year-old women said symptoms of the menopause have recently affected their sleep.
Nearly a third (32 per cent) of women over 40 reported getting only an average of six hours of sleep a night and one in 10 over 55-year-olds are waking up at least five times a night.
Symptoms include chronic insomnia, night sweats, anxiety, racing thoughts, restless and disruptive sleep, due to the decline of oestrogen and progesterone.
Even post-menopausal women, in the 65+ age group, are still suffering, with 71 per cent saying their sleep is adversely affected.
One expert described the findings, from research commissioned by wellness brand CBII, as “a mental health catastrophe waiting to happen”.
Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, who blogs at 50Sense.net and is the co-founder of the Pausitivity £KnowYourMenopause campaign, said: “The lack of sleep some women are reporting is a particularly worrying aspect.
“Nobody functions well without sleep. I was like an extra from The Walking Dead when I struggled to get sleep in the early years of my menopause.
“But now menopausal women are caught having to juggle lack of sleep and other menopause symptoms with working from home, home-schooling, the stress of having children at university and not being able to see elderly parents and relatives, as well as all the general concern around Coronavirus.
“It’s a mental health catastrophe waiting to happen.”
But despite celebrities like Loose Women’s Andrea McLean and Meg Mathews being vocal about their menopause experience – and how CBD has helped them with sleep issues – the research also revealed that it is still a taboo subject in the UK.
Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the UK workforce, according to the Local Government Association, but 95 per cent of over-40s have never spoken about their symptoms with their employer.
And 86 per cent have not even raised the issue with their GP, according to the OnePoll.com research.
It also emerged that six in 10 women over 40 said they would try CBD after hearing women in the public eye revealing how it alleviates symptoms.
And more than 70 per cent of those under 40 admitted the thought of the menopause makes them feel stressed.
Mary Biles, author of The CBD Book: The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’, said: “CBD has become a go-to natural support for many women weathering the choppy waters of the perimenopause.
“We know that CBD can help ease anxiety, lessen joint pain, and improve quality of sleep, all of which are common symptoms associated with the cessation of women’s periods.
“While no research has been carried specifically on CBD and the menopause, the fact that CBD supports our endocannabinoid system, which itself regulates all our biological functions including our hormones, may explain why increasingly more women are turning to CBD as a way to feel less physically and emotionally out of control during this challenging time in their lives.”
Phoebe White, from CBII, said: “These are tough times for all of us. But for menopausal women, it appears sleep issues have a follow-on impact to their mental health as well as their general health.
“Using CBD products can provide a safe, natural remedy to help support a restful night’s sleep.”