Menopause Madness – Night Sweats
7 top tips for managing hot flushes at night
There’s no putting a positive spin on menopausal night sweats. Waking up in the middle of the night, feeling like a furnace in a shower is not fun. Changing your PJ’s for the third time makes you grumpy. And how do you manage that ‘come hither big boy’ look while preparing your side of the bed with two sweat-soak towels?
So what causes these nightly hot flushes and flashes? And why are they so intense in the night?
As levels of oestrogen fall during the menopause, the normal functioning of the area of the brain that acts as the body's thermostat (the hypothalamus) is thrown off-course. Although not fully understood, it is believed that the drop in oestrogen confuses the hypothalamus, making it think that the body is overheating.
This brings about all the usual responses the body would normally use to keep cool - the skin reddens (the hot flush) and the sweat glands begin to work (excessive sweating and night sweats).
In short, they are a common symptom of peri-menopause and menopause and there is little you can do to stop them completely unless you opt for HRT.
So what treatments for night sweats work?
The Sassitas know it is not easy, but there is no point in lying in a sweat bath of self-pity. Take control, change your attitude and take evasive action.
The Sassistas have pooled their solutions to night-sweats and here are a few no-nonsense things you can do to take the heat out of your nights.
Have a warm (not hot) lavender bath before bed. The lavender will calm you and at least you know that when you do drip, you will still smell nice!
Cool the room. An overheated room will only trigger the hot flush response. Open the windows, turn off the radiator and cool it all down. If your partner whinges, give them an extra blankie and a night cap.
Buy a thin duvet and layer with light blankets. It is the same principle as layering your clothes. Unpeel the lawyers when you are hot, pull them back when you go cold.
Invest in a chillow pillow (several available through Amazon). Many women find that if they can keep their heads cool, then the night sweats are much reduced.
Water, water, water. Keep a large glass of cold water by the bed. When you wake up hot, just sip and focus on the cold.
Think yourself cool. Waking up hot and bothered sets of your brain’s alarm system. The agitation you feel only increases the stress response and you feel even hotter. So when you wake up, instead of going into a frenzy of duvet fighting and hyperventilation, lie back and breathe. Pat Duckworth, expert on Menopause Management and author of Hot Women, Cool Solutions, advises that you can think your way out of the worst of the night-sweat nightmare. See our guided night-sweat meditation article: Cool nights – a guided visualisation for managing night sweats.
If night sweats make you panicky (and this is very normal – your mind body connection interprets the sweating as a sign that you are in danger) then get yourself a bottle of Dr Bach’s Rescue Remedy. The spray is probably best – spray under your tongue and then rub a little on your temples. Lie back, breathe and think of a cool wind blowing over you.
On a last note, please remember this will pass. Yes, night sweats often go on longer than hot flushes and hot flashes. But one day they will stop. One day you will sleep like a baby all night and snuggle up to your partner (or the dog/cat) without fear of slithering off the mattress in a pool of perspiration. This is all part of life’s journey and your transition.
Remember you are Sassy not sweaty and soon you will be back to cool.