Cold night sweats are a common symptom experienced by many women during their pregnancy. Episodes of cold night sweats may occur unexpectedly and are often erratic in frequency. This can make them unpredictable and impact your mental and physical health, leading to fatigue, anxiety, and a sense of not being able to think clearly from lack of sleep.
The first step in dealing with night sweats is understanding their causes and factors that influence them. Read on to learn more.
What Are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are when you wake from sleep shivering and cold. Cold night sweats can often leave you fatigued and anxious because sleep patterns are regularly disturbed. When night sweats happen frequently, they can become a serious issue, disrupting your natural sleep rhythms. During pregnancy, it's important to remain relaxed and well-rested to maintain your own health and the baby's.
What Causes Cold Night Sweats during Pregnancy?
The exact causes of cold night sweats during pregnancy are unknown. However, it's widely believed that cold night sweats result from changing hormone levels in the body. Cold sweats occur when estrogen and progesterone levels in the body fluctuate, becoming out of balance. When these hormones are out of balance, it can confuse your body into thinking that it's cold, causing it to warm itself up before realizing it's too warm and starts sweating to compensate. This can lead to shivering chills accompanying your cold sweats.
How Can Night Sweats Be Managed?
Before attempting medical treatment for night sweats, it can be beneficial to try preventative measures. There are many lifestyle changes that can be undertaken to help with night sweats during pregnancy. These include:
- Sleep in a cool room. Turn a fan on or turn the thermostat down before bed.
- Sleep with a light blanket or layer your blankets so that it's easier to regulate your temperature.
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Try to avoid synthetics and wear more natural fibers, such as cotton.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid spicy foods, especially before bed.
- Take a cool shower before bed to cool down.
- Exercise regularly.
- Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, Pilates, or meditation.
If night sweats become a major problem, and you are no longer able to successfully sleep through the night, talk to your doctor about other remedies. Click here for more information on treating cold night sweats in pregnant women.
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- Boston Women's Health Collective. "Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances". Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2006.
- Thacker, H.L. (2009). The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Kaplan Publishing, New York.
- Von Muhlen, DG, et al. "A community-based study of menopause symptoms and estrogen replacement in older women". Maturitas. Sept 1995; 22(2):71-8.