Menopause symptom #5
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are recurring instances of intense perspiration which happen during your sleep. You often wake drenched in sweat so much so that your nightwear and sheets are wet. At the same time, you feel too hot, which is often followed by a chill.
They are nocturnal hot flashes, just much sweatier than their daily evil cousins.
Why do night sweats happen?
As with hot flashes/flushes, night sweats happen because our fluctuating hormones interfere with our body’s temperature control in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
All of a sudden there is a false distress signal that we are overheating, and the brain gives the signal to our body to rapidly cool down. The body releases excess heat through sweating.
What can we do about them?
1. Keep your bedroom really cool.
2. Use lighter bedding.
3. Consider buying more breathable mattress and sheets.
4. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting nightwear made of breathable materials (such as cotton).
5. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
6. Don’t eat spicy food.
7. Try relaxation techniques like breathing exercises.
8. Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Natural remedies for night sweats
Often the same herbs or supplements that help with hot flashes will also help with night sweats.
These natural herbs have shown great results both with hot flashes and night sweats, helping to keep them under control. They are:
1. Black cohosh
2. Licorice Root
3. Valerian Root
4. Sage (Salvia)
6. Red Clover
7. Evening Primrose Oil
8. Flaxseed (Ground)
We covered all of these herbs in our blog “8 Natural Herbs for Dealing With Hot Flashes“.
Because all herbs can have side effects if taken for an extended period of time, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking them.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, we need to underline the fact that every woman is different and that different things may work for you than those that work for other women
Natural plant estrogens called phytoestrogens can also help with night sweats. Flaxseed (ground) and flaxseed oil have the highest content of phytoestrogen.
What else can trigger night sweats?
Apart from the rise and fall of your hormones there are other things that can cause night sweats.
Sugar is one of the triggers that can cause many different issues, not just night sweats. To tame the heat surges during the night, avoid foods with a high glycemic index*. These are foods high in sugar, like cakes, candy, and cookies; or high in refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, pastries, and all foods made with white flour.
* “The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily.”Harvard Medical School
Try and skip that nightcap. Alcohol triggers not only hot flashes but night sweats as well. Don’t eat spicy foods before bedtime and don’t drink coffee of caffeinated drinks after 2 pm.
Many women turn to proven ancient medical practices like acupuncture. A study in the Menopausal Journal showed that it can be a useful weapon for battling menopause symptoms.
“We found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with a significant reduction in VMS*, and several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.” Menopausal Journal
*VMS – Vasomotor symptoms night sweats, hot flashes, and flushes.
Talk to your partner
Going through perimenopause or menopause and hiding what is happening to you just makes it harder to deal with it. Share your challenges with your partner to help explain why you are opening the window in the middle of a freezing night! There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. What you are going through is a natural process that your significant other needs to understand.
If you keep it a secret, it may become a source of serious misunderstanding between you and push you apart from each other.
Read more about the perimenopause symptoms on our blog.