Oh the joys of menopause. Hot flushes and night sweats are a common symptom as we go through this stage of midlife. In fact, up to 80% of women going through menopause experience hot flashes. The night sweats are just hot flashes experienced at night. They’re the sudden sensation of heat in the chest, face, and head followed by flushing, perspiration, and sometimes chills. You can find yourself waking up dripping in sweat, with wet sheets, even though the room is a normal temperature. Hot sweats can therefore become a real nuisance to deal with – keeping you up when you’re just trying to get a good sleep.
What Causes Night Sweats in Menopause?
Hot flashes and night sweats occur before, during, and after the menopause — due to changes in the levels of hormone levels, like oestrogen and progesterone, circulating in your blood. This is thought to affect your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates your body temperature.
So What Can You Do About It?
If you’re struggling with menopausal night sweats, I’m afraid there’s not anything you can do to make them stop completely. However, there are things you can do to reduce them. Here’s a few of our top tips…
- Lower your bedroom temperature to make it as cool as possible, or open the windows if it’s winter to add a bit of fresh air into the room before you try to sleep.
- Sleep naked (if you can!) The less layers you have on, the less hot you’ll be. Sleeping naked is backed by the science, too – your body can better regulate your temperature, and avoid getting too hot or too cold. Wearing tight, restrictive clothing is only going to make menopausal night sweats worse, so if naked isn’t for you – go for light nightwear instead.
- Eat well and exercise. Just like your clothing, extra body weight adds layers that heat up your body and interfere with your body’s ability to thermoregulate. This is another reason to motivate you to lose a few of those added mid-life pounds! For more info on menopause weight gain, click here.
- Get an emergency fan for your bedroom… switch it on when you feel that night sweat hit (don’t worry about your partner then shivering… needs must hey!)
- Use less bedding and a lighter quilt cover – it’s also then easier to kick off when you need to! Another helpful tip for dealing with menopausal night sweats? Turning your pillow regularly throughout the night. It’ll keep you on the cold side!
- Try to reduce stress levels. By lowering your stress levels overall – during the day and at night – your body can literally and metaphorically “cool down.” Click here for our guide to dealing with menopause stress.
- Eat less spicy foods. These foods taste hot because they are hot. Avoid these at dinner and in any evening snacks, to avoid them heating up your body before bedtime.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bed. Alcohol can induce drowsiness, but as you sleep the effects of the alcohol wear off. Your body responds with a swift increase in temperature, causing you to wake up earlier than expected and potentially causing night sweats. Alcohol in general is actually not recommended during the menopause. We’ll write a separate post on why that is, so stay tuned to read more!
- Consuming too much caffeine, tobacco (for any smokers reading this), or certain illicit drugs can also cause night sweats so these are more triggers to steer clear of to help ease the effects.
- Get prepared! Before you sleep, drink a glass of cool water and refill it for your bedside table afterwards. Keep an ice pack, or ice cubes ready there too, so you can quickly cool yourself down if you do wake up. Another alternative is a cooling spray, or a small towel you can dip in cool water to dab on your face and neck.
Feeling more equipped? Awesome! For more tips, click here. Remember, this won’t last forever and you are not alone.
In need of a little extra support? Check out our easy-to-use online menopause programme. Specifically designed to help women going through perimenopause or menopause, you will discover ways to deal with the negative symptoms that can affect you at home, work, or in relationships. CLICK HERE to register for FREE.