One of the worst symptoms of menopause is night sweats. If you suffer from night sweats you are probably waking up bathed in sweat and exhausted from lack of sleep. This can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, but there are things you can do to get relief.
What are night sweats?
Night sweats are periods of heavy sweating that occur while you are sleeping. For menopausal women, usually they are brought on by night time hot flashes. You may wake up drenched in sweat and even chilled from the loss of body heat through excess sweating.
For most women night sweats are an annoyance that can be dealt with, but for some women they contribute to lack of sleep and the resulting daily exhaustion.
What causes night sweats?
Night sweats can be caused by many different things. The hormone changes that occur during menopause and peri menopause causes poor temperature regulation which causes hot flashes and night sweats. To understand hot flashes better check out this article.
Sweating is your body’s reaction to overheating. Sweating is the way the body cools itself. When night sweats are brought on by temporary hot flashes your body responds the same way – by sweating.
Sometimes what appears to be night sweats is simply sleeping in too hot of a room, or with too many blankets. You are too warm so you start to sweat. But slightly elevated temperatures do seem to trigger hot flashes and night sweats and menopausal women seem to have worse temperature regulation.
They can also be caused by a medical condition or some medications so you might want to discuss them with your physician to rule out any serious medical conditions.
Stress and anxiety are often contributing factors to night sweats. And since stress can keep you up at night, you are even more likely to not get a good sleep.
Some foods and beverages contribute to night sweats. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol all seem to contribute to night sweats, especially if consumed before bed.
Wearing clothing that is tight and constricting also contributes to night sweats.
Other things that contribute to night sweats are smoking or second hand smoke and being overweight.
What can you do?
If night sweats are keeping you from sleeping there are several things you can do:
- Getting exercise helps with temperature regulation so this can help to reduce night sweats. Exercise also helps to reduce stress which makes them less likely to occur.
- Keep your bedroom cool at night to avoid overheating. Sleep with an open window, a fan or turn the thermostat down.
- If you are waking up bathed in sweat, you can try cooling or moisture wicking pyjamas to reduce the sweat.
- Avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol. Red wine seems to be particularly bad.
- Avoid spicy foods
- Use meditation or relaxation methods to help to reduce your stress reaction
- Use a cooling towel like this one from Koldtec. These towels are dry and keep cool in their insulated case for most of the night.
- Soy and other beans may help to reduce them because they contain a pseudo-estrogen
- Wear loose fitting pyjamas.
- Hormone replacement therapy helps many women deal with hot flashes and night sweats if other methods don’t work.
Although many women are bothered by night sweats, they are not usually caused by serious issues. If you experience night sweats, talk to your physician to rule out a more serious causes and about HRT if you wish. Download this free guide for several ways to get relief from hot flashes and night sweats.