Sleepless in Southwold

woman with her head on her open laptop, sleeping

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you why they don’t get a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep isn’t special although everyone’s reasons for it are a little bit different. Isolation has created a sleeping problem for some people who never had one before. But we are already a nation of bad sleepers.

For many years, I disturbed my natural sleep rhythms for work. Most of the time, I was doing a morning show shift which meant getting up anywhere from 2:30 am to 3:30 am, napping in the early afternoon, and going to bed early. I was always tired. Parent-of-a-toddler tired. Always. Coffee isn’t just something I enjoy, I’ve relied on it for much of my working life.

Now that I make my own hours, I still nap sometimes, but it’s a choice, not a sanity saver. However, in recent months, I’ve been waking up in the wee hours and unable to get back to sleep for as long as a couple of hours. What to do? I researched all the advice: stick to a routine. Limit caffeine. I have two cups a day, max. Don’t bring electronics to bed. Get exercise. Don’t eat before bedtime. Yadda yadda yadda. I followed what I wasn’t already following, and still found myself once again enduring sleepless nights.

Three sleep studies have shown that I have mild sleep apnea, but Derek is skeptical! He claims I don’t ever stop breathing because if I did, I would stop snoring and he says that doesn’t happen very often. Sleep specialists tell me I’m at the “if you want to” stage of needing a C-PAP machine and I don’t want to.

More than any other time of my life, I should be getting good sleep. Menopause is a factor. Sleeplessness is a common side effect of a woman’s hormones playing knick-knack-paddywhack on her system. I’ve tried over-the-counter drugs and melatonin and the anti-snore aids and none of them is a long-term solution. When I was hospitalized years ago, I was introduced to Lorazepam/Ativan for sleep and fell in love with it. However, it’s extremely addictive and my physician refused to give me a prescription. Just as well.

As you know, there’s a new, legal kid on the legal sleep aid block. CBD oil is working for many people for everything from anxiety to pain relief. It’s derived from the cannabis plant but it doesn’t get you high because it contains little or no THC. A woman whose judgment I trust swears by it, so I ordered a vial. There are so many mixtures and strains. It’s like taking on a research project just to make a selection. But I found one and gave it a try.

I didn’t get a chance to consult my physician about dosage although we did once discuss it as a potential option for my sleep issues. I started small with .3 ml. I’m the kind of person who gets dozy from taking a Tylenol so I wanted to be careful.

White vial with black label. Cover CBD Hybrid, 20 mg/ml. THC total is .8 mg/ml.

I slept like a rock and felt hungover the next day. However, I have trouble believing this little bit of liquid caused that kind of reaction. It’s supposed to take a week or so to have an effect. It’s been several weeks now and sometimes I sleep through the night. When I do wake up, I get right back to sleep, which is new and welcome. But I also feel dulled during the day, like I don’t have my usual zips of energy.

The taste is pleasant: smoky marijuana with a rich aftertaste. However, it has an unexpected side effect. It’s making me crave cigarettes. I quit smoking in 1988! I sometimes dream that I’ve smoked and wake up angry with myself, and would never start again. Cigarette smoke is a huge turnoff for me now. But I’m getting cravings as if it’s only been a few hours, not three decades since I last smoked.

So, my review is mixed. This oil isn’t the panacea I hoped for but perhaps another variety would be. I think it’s helping but I don’t love the side effects. At $75 for a small bottle, it isn’t a cheap experiment. Is it possible that there’s something else out there to try? If so, I’d love to know.

Always, always talk to your doctor if you plan on taking something like CBD oil. They know more than you think and if yours doesn’t, find one who does! Also, some medications don’t interact well with it. Sweet dreams!

18 thoughts on “Sleepless in Southwold”

  1. It may sound silly and naive but when I get into a funk of watching the clock tick for hours during the night (usually stress related) I take one 50mg gravol. It makes me sleep deep and if I do wake up I can go back easily. Usually I take it before bed if I anticipate issues but occasionally I will take it if I wake up early enough in the night. As long as I take it before about 1 or 2am there’s no hint of being groggy the next day. I’ve also tried the natural stuff like melatonin and I may as well have eaten an expensive sugar pill.

    1. That makes sense. I’m going to pick some up. Thank you. Derek was drinking ZzzzQuil until I tattled on him to our Doctor who said long-term use of Benadryl, its active ingredient, is linked to cognitive decline. (yikes!) And I know there’s a ginger-based version of Gravol, too, so that might be even better for us. Thanks again, Dara.

  2. Hey Lisa! Enjoyed the post. Sleep can be such a frustratingly unpredictable thing.

    A few thoughts –

    1. You can get lose concentrated Cbd oils for a lot cheaper. I use it for inflammation and I use this one:

    2. I HATED my cpap mask at first and eventually promised my wife I’d tough it out. I got used to it and it’s been a game changer

    3. Have you tried a meditation app? Headphones and closing eyes and deep breathing to an app has helped me zonk out before in the past when I’ve had a hard time chilling out and going to sleep

    Keep up the great writing!

  3. Oh dear…yes I can see why you don’t want to use something with that side effect! Keep in mind that the ginger version of gravol contains none of the actual medication that makes gravol gravol (dimenhydrinate). I made that mistake before and wondered why there was zero effect. It’s really just a ginger tablet sold under the label of gravol because ginger tends to settle stomachs.

    1. Oh well, that’s not going to help then. I’ll get the real Gravol! Thanks, Dara. And for anyone reading who doesn’t know, Dara is a nurse and a Mom of four. She knows her stuff!

  4. Hello Lisa, we are the same age (I think) and menopause does mess with our sleep. All my friends are experiencing this too. I’ve never been able to sleep in hotels for some reason so I’ve always taken a non prescription sinus medication which will zonk me out. Give that a try? Also: I think CBD oil is cheaper on the government website. Take a look.

  5. Hi Lisa. When in Canada I take CBD oil morning and night for hip pain. The side effect for me is sleep! I remember the one I used did not have an after taste. I have a few articles on sleep and anxiety and links to a couple of Canadian companies on my website:

    The other suggestions sound great also. I belong to a large women’s FB group and I was amazed at the number who are having sleep issues. I hope you figure it out!

  6. I’ve also found on occasions that a nice Rum and Coke, or maybe two helps with sleep or similar alternatives.

    1. Well, I no longer drink so…. and I did try Melatonin, as I mentioned in the post. Also, for the record, I bought my CBD oil from the Ontario site but I must have clicked the 1-percenter’s section! Sheesh. I don’t know how I missed better-priced options. I blame the pandemic and isolation – I’m losing my shopping savvy! 😉

  7. Hi Lisa,

    Glad to see you are embracing some of the evil weed. I have some Indica that will surely put you in the sleep zone. I am not sure how I feel about your doctor having more knowledge about it as it hasn’t even be legal for two years and I was unaware the doctors knowledge increased on the subject that rapidly. Please don’t be fooled by all the bells and whistles that are advertised. There are soooo many different strains available and it all depends on the strain you get that will give you the desired effect. I am glad that the cannabis market is so open now and is helping so many. If you do a little research you can find a CBD and/or THC strain that will working very well for you and you can grow it yourself further reducing your costs. You don’t have to smoke it as you can make edibles, extracts even smoothies to ingest your medicines. There are plenty of informative videos to show you how to proceed. You know me Lisa, I am on zero medication for anything, I don’t consume alcohol that much anymore but I do indulge in cannabis. I even have a prescription for it. Finding the cannabis that works for you is awesome, don’t be discourage in your search for the right one. Good Journey Always to you and Derek.

  8. Hi Lisa, although I dont take CBD oil for sleep, I was using it for knee pain, I went to a store and they knew alot about it, told me what one is better for this that and the other thing. If you have a reserve close by I recommend you go check out any of the dispensarys they have, they are very knowledgeable and I am sure can recommend one that wont make you crave a cigarette! Good luck!!

  9. That’s good advice. I mainly went online because of the pandemic. One day, I’ll venture into a dispensary.

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