Vasomotor symptoms like night sweats and hot flushes affect around 75% of women at some point during the three stages of menopause. The bad news is that they can be uncomfortable and disruptive. The good news is that they count amongst the comparatively short-term side effects of menopause.
When it comes to night sweats, they’re not just irritating; they can also have an impact on other areas of your life - notably your sleep patterns, which can add to fatigue and low moods.
So, while this too shall pass, we need some solutions to carry us through. In this article we wanted to look at the causes of night sweats and give you some options on what can be done to prevent, limit and ease them.
What causes night sweats in menopause?
As with almost all unwanted side effects of menopause, night sweats are the result of changing hormone levels, particularly falling oestrogen and progesterone, which affect the body's temperature control.
How do night sweats manifest?
Night sweats are more than feeling a bit sticky - it’s when you sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding become soaking wet, even though where you're sleeping is cool.
What can you do to help?
There are lots of things you can do to help relieve night sweats, get a better night’s sleep and generally feel more comfortable (plus, hopefully limit some of the laundry!). As always, we like to take a multifaceted approach that addresses both the cause and the symptoms. Here are some suggestions…
Establish a calming routine
Reducing stress is a good way to improve your ability to sleep and limit the triggers for night sweats. Anxiety is another common feature of menopause, so it’s doubly important to do things to help calm those nerves and ease the tension regularly. Breathing techniques and relaxation therapies like regular massage are a good start. Establishing an evening routine to prepare you for sleep can also help. Try out Calming Night Routine skincare products infused with relaxing aromatherapy and plant oestrogens, for example.
Exercise in the day
Having a regular exercise routine is one way to help reduce the severity of hot flashes and night sweats. It’s recommended that you aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, whether it’s a good walk or a yoga class. In addition to supporting overall health, studies indicate that exercise can help to improve the body’s control and stability of the thermoregulatory system, lowering core body temperature and improving mechanisms for heat dissipation.
Wear natural fabrics
You can help you to stay cool by wearing loose, light, natural fabrics at night, and replacing your duvet with cotton sheets that are easier to kick off or pull back on as you need them.
Night time cooling techniques
Other night time cooling techniques include keeping water by the bed so you can sip it throughout the night, keep a cold pack under your pillow or invest in a cooling pillow. You could also place a fan in the room, and keep a cooling spritz by the bed, like our Comforting Night Facial Spritz close to hand.
Adapt your diet
Diet is a powerful tool for wellbeing at all times, but some things can trigger night sweats. It’s therefore recommended that you try to avoid common culprits such as alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and cigarettes, as much as possible.
The loss of oestrogen is the main culprit when it comes to menopausal night sweats, which is why phytohormones (naturally occurring plant hormones), are a great discovery. You can find them in foods like oats, flax and sesame, as well as our MPlus skincare collection.
Speak to your doctor
For many women, HRT is a good solution for the unwanted side effects of menopause. It isn’t for everyone, and you should never feel that you’re obligated to take it or that it’s your only option. However, if you would like to find out about it to help inform your decision making, then do speak to your GP. It’s also worth chatting with them if you’re experiencing chronic night sweats, just to make sure it is menopause related.
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