One of the saddest symptoms of menopause is night sweats. Your hormones are already changing, so you don’t want to add more hormone therapy, and luckily, there are a number of non-hormonal options for treating menopausal night sweats. Some people say that controlling your weight helps control your body temperature. While others claim that daily exercise keeps night sweats at bay, many believe that hormone replacement therapy is the only way forward. What works for one woman may not work for another, and what works for you may not be a proven treatment, but some of the most effective methods are not. Take an unconventional approach to find the best way to stay awake with these natural remedies for night sweats.
WHAT CAUSES NIGHT SWEATS WHEN CLEANING?
Night sweats are caused by a complex interaction between fluctuating estrogen levels and the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls body temperature. Estrogen levels drop during menopause, which makes the hypothalamus hypersensitive, so the slightest change in room temperature can cause you to overheat. This in turn causes a cascade of reactions in the body such as spontaneous hot flushes and night sweats.
When the hypothalamus senses that you are too hot, it sends a signal to your sweat glands to help you cool down, as the sweat evaporates, removing heat from the body. The blood vessels that supply the capillaries of the skin also begin to dilate. This allows hotter blood to flow to the surface of the skin and release heat, resulting in a red flush when hot flashes occur.
EAT YOUR NIGHT SWEATS
Night sweats can be caused by blood sugar and hormone fluctuations, so avoid foods with a high glycemic index such as refined sugar (cookies) and refined carbohydrates (white bread). Instead, eat whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes).
Certain herbs and supplements can provide short-term relief from night sweats. Foods rich in natural plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, can help regulate your body’s estrogen levels when they drop during menopause. The highest form of phytoestrogen is flaxseed (and flaxseed oil).
Herbalists have long used black cohoh to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders, and recent studies have shown it to be effective in reducing night sweats for up to a year. Whether you take capsules or edible oils, be aware that long-term use of this supplement can cause digestive problems and liver damage. Evening primrose oil has been shown to reduce night sweats, but is less effective.
CUT OFF NIGHT SWEATS TO CUT OFF NIGHT SWEATS
Common triggers that cause both heart rate and body temperature to spike include caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. This does not mean to eliminate them completely, but they should be avoided in the evening. Alcohol, in particular, can cause blood sugar spikes and stay in your system for up to two hours. After one or three drinks, the blood vessels near the skin’s surface open up, causing the body to sweat, so a glass of wine gives you a glow. Therefore, overnight bags can be replaced with soothing herbal teas.
IT IS CALM TO COOL
Yoga Nidra meditation can help induce sleep. However, can you soothe the shock of suddenly waking up in a hot sweat while sleeping? While the fight-or-flight response may be in full swing, breathing can help reduce anxiety levels and body temperature. Cooling pranayama (or yogic breathing techniques) will beat the heat. Curl the sides of your tongue up, count to five, and inhale like a straw. Then close your mouth and exhale through your nose for the same number of breaths. If you can’t curl your tongue, you’ll breathe through closed teeth and make a hissing sound. Then exhale through your nose.
DO IT: NIGHT SWEAT NEEDLE
According to a study published in the Journal of Menopause, acupuncture can reduce night sweats during menopause. Of the 209 women, 80 percent received acupuncture in addition to their usual medical care. After eight weeks, 47 percent reported fewer hot flashes and 12 percent reported a significant reduction in symptoms. Acupuncture can help regulate an oversensitive hypothalamus. It also stimulates the release of pain-relieving endorphins and stress-regulatory hormones, which improve body temperature regulation.
TALK ABOUT NIGHT SWEATS
In winter, you can open your bedroom window or talk to your roommate. The more you try to hide your night sweats, the stronger they become. Open communication is critical to a healthy menopause, and sharing how you feel about the changes your body is going through can ease any embarrassment or shame. Allow the person closest to you to share this life transition.
WHEN TO WORRY ABOUT NIGHT SWEATS
Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause for many women; However, sometimes there may be cause for concern. If your night sweats are accompanied by fever, chills, aches, or unexplained weight loss, you may want to contact your doctor.