Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause, traveling hand-in-hand with the dreaded hot flashes. Often keeping their victims from achieving a good nights rest, night sweats can quickly trigger a domino effect by raising stress levels and irritability.
So how does one combat these pesky nighttime visitors? Is there any way of fighting off the demons known as night sweats?
While there is no cure and no sure-fire way of sending the night sweats into permanent cool-down, there are steps that can be taken to make them more bearable.
Night sweats are caused by the abnormal fluctuations of hormones in a woman’s body, usually caused by the onset of menopause (though other conditions can cause them, so it is always best to discuss this with your doctor). Much like the hot flashes that a woman may experience during the day, night sweats are a very unsettling and uncomfortable condition that can often keep their victims from sleep, sometimes for nights on end.
While it was originally thought to be anxiety-related and mostly in their heads, more recent studies have discovered that a woman’s body actually raises anywhere from 1-7 degrees during a hot flash. It is true that anxiety can accompany, or even follow, night sweats but it is most definitely not the sole cause for this condition.
Make your Room Comfortable
If you are suffering from this condition, the first step is to look at your sleeping arrangements. A woman who is experiencing night sweats should seek the comfort of sleeping in a well-ventilated cool (preferably air conditioned) room, especially during the heat of the summer months. Sleeping in a room that is more open and airy will also help to reduce feelings of confinement and anxiety upon waking.
Its also highly recommended that your bedroom be decorated in a soothing and calming aesthetic fashion. Cool scents, such as melon or other citrus are helpful, avoiding warm scents such as vanilla or spice. New products that add calming scents, inspired by nature such as rain, can also be very soothing to the senses.
Soft cotton sheets are highly recommended and your own sleeping clothes should be made of cotton as well. The reason for this is simple; cotton breathes and will help to make you feel cooler. Loose and non-constrictive clothing is also highly recommended and, if possible, dress in layers so that, if you need to, you can peel some off and help yourself feel cooler.
Cool Drink of Water
Before you go to bed at night, try sipping a cool beverage to help hydrate your system and assist in cooling yourself down. Another good idea is to keep a small glass of ice water on your bedside table so that, should you awaken in the night, its within easy reach. Sometimes, the best way to go back to sleep is to move around as little as possible.
You’ve probably heard this one before but, if you’re still doing it, it bears mentioning again - Don’t smoke and, if you do, don’t quit quitting.
Studies have shown that smoking is linked to an earlier onset of menopause and that it also increases the chances of your experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. Quitting smoking not only will help to make you more comfortable while you sleep, but it also helps to protect you from more serious conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
Plenty of Exercise
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also important. Exercise is wonderful for the menopausal woman, not only because it helps to keep the metabolism up and moving, but also because it is a good way of relaxing the body and it gives you something to focus upon.
Whether you choose to walk for 30 minutes a day, run on a treadmill, or work out to your favorite fat-burning television program, you cant go wrong with exercise, so long as you do so in moderation. Also, before you do start any type of exercise program, check with your doctor and make sure that he gives you the thumbs up; you never know, he may even have some good suggestions to help you keep in shape.
Diet is also important to take into consideration; hot and spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and some dairy products (particularly aged cheeses) have been known to aggravate night sweats. To help keep your dinners from interrupting your sleep, you should eat a diet that is high in fiber, low in fat and low in cholesterol.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and vitamin D milk - calcium is very important in lessening the chances of osteoarthritis and bone fractures.
Taking these steps should help to lessen the frustrations of night sweats but, if they do not, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. While the natural method is always bests, medications are available that may be able to help lessen the discomfort of night sweats and menopause.