Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause. When you get a hot flash at night, your body starts to sweat to cool down, causing a night sweat.Night sweats can cause problems sleeping through the night that can affect your daily life.
How Many Women Experience Night Sweats?
Night sweats usually occur when a woman is in her mid-40s and 50s. About one in five women have night sweats before her menstrual periods become irregular. Night sweats can also be one of the first signs of perimenopause, the stage preceding menopause.
What Causes Night Sweats?
When you sleep, your body temperature drops slightly. During menopause, your estrogen levels are fluctuating, meaning your body can become confused and believe that it's too hot. It then tries to cool itself down with sweat and flushing, causing a night sweat episode.
How Long Will My Night Sweats Last?
Unfortunately, there is no time limit on menopause symptoms like night sweats. Every woman is different. Some may never experience night sweats, while others might have severe night sweats for years. Typically, hot flashes and night sweats gradually disappear over several years; however, it's possible for women in their 60s to continue to suffer from them.
What Can I Do to Prevent Night Sweats?
The key to beating night sweats is staying proactive and trying to prevent them from occurring. There are ways to lessen their effects so that you can not only sleep more, but also enjoy better quality rest.
Avoid triggers. Eating spicy foods at dinner, taking a hot shower before bed, or having an alcoholic drink late in the evening can trigger night sweats in some women.
Control your bedroom temperature. Try going to bed in a cooler room with a fan or turning the thermostat down before you go to bed. Air conditioning may be a good investment
Use different fabrics. Try wearing breathable pajamas and using sheets made from natural materials, such as cotton, rather than synthetics.
Be prepared. If you continue waking up with night sweats, have items on hand to help. You can purchase a “chill pillow” and keep a small handheld fan by your bedside to turn on when a night sweat hits.
There are other conditions that may cause night sweats, and they can also be a side effect of some prescription medications. If you suspect that your night sweats may be linked to another condition, you should talk to your doctor. Click on the following link to learn more about night sweats.
- Health Direct Australia. (2015). Night sweats. Retrieved August 13, 2015, from http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/night-sweats
- Thacker, H. L. (2009). The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Kaplan Publishing. New York. pp. 125-126.