Natural Solutions for Menopausal Night Sweats
Night sweats and hot flushes can accompany other symptoms of the menopause, including mood swings, severe headaches, vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive, recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) and even heart palpitations.
Night sweats: A debilitating symptom of menopause
Breaking out in a sweat in the middle of the night may not sound quite as debilitating as recurrent headaches or noticeable changes to your heartbeat. But as disturbed sleep can impact mood, overall wellbeing and mental health, menopausal night sweats can be an extremely distressing and uncomfortable symptom of the menopause.
It’s only natural to feel embarrassed if you wake up after a night sweat with drenched pyjamas and bedsheets, and it can be horrible to feel as though you’ve disturbed your partner too. Both of your moods can then be affected the following day, and if you’re experiencing regular menopausal night sweats, this could begin to put strain on your relationship.
Adopting a calming routine is one way to reduce your likelihood of night sweats during the menopause, and knowing that you’re not alone could help to put your mind at ease.
Where do menopausal night sweats come from?
The majority of menopausal women experience hot flushes, and these can manifest as night sweats. Hot flushes are triggered by an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which acts a little like your body’s own thermostat.
As your oestrogen levels decline during the menopause, the hypothalamus becomes more sensitive, which is why hot flushes and night sweats are more likely. When your internal thermostat thinks you’re starting to get hot, it sends signals to the blood vessels lying beneath the surface of your skin to release that extra heat in the form of sweat – hence hot flushes and uncomfortable night sweats.
Don’t let your hypothalamus control you as you go through the menopause - you can take steps to reduce your risk of distressing night sweats.
How can I avoid menopausal night sweats?
- Cut down on spicy food - Hot ingredients like chillies and black pepper naturally contain compounds that can trigger the blood vessels to release heat, so we’d suggest going for curries on the milder end of the scale and holding back on the pepper until your symptoms have passed.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking - Hot, caffeinated drinks could also set your internal thermostat off, as could alcohol, so think about switching up your usual evening beverages to drinks that are decaffeinated and non-alcoholic. Both active and passive smoking could also cause your hypothalamus to overreact, so avoid this to try to get your night sweats under control.
- Think about what you’re wearing to bed - Go for light nightwear that isn’t restrictive so you’re less likely to trigger your hypothalamus into overreacting. If you’re worried that feeling too cold when you first get in bed will stop you from nodding off, wear a few layers that you can take off as you need to.
- Avoid stress with a calming bedtime routine - Stress can also leave you feeling hot, so try to adopt calming habits before bed. Have a warm (but decaffeinated) drink, indulge in a relaxing bath, or simply switch off from screens and spend time reading instead.
- Make sure your bedroom is well-ventilated - Open the window or invest in a fan to keep your room as cool and airy as possible.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight - Women who are overweight may be more likely to suffer from night sweats, so following a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise could also help to keep your menopausal night sweats in check.
- Consider taking a menopause supplement - Research carried out by the British Menopause Society found that 95% of women are interested in taking menopause supplements.
If you want to find out more about natural menopause supplements, you can discover the Femarelle® range here.