Nearly all women will experience cold feet, night sweats, and insomnia during menopause as these are three common and bothersome symptoms of the transition. Understanding why they occur is the first step to effectively managing the condition. Read on to discover more practical and important treatment information.
What Are Cold Feet, Night Sweats, and Insomnia?
Poor circulation is the primary cause for cold feet. A number of factors can contribute to this, but during menopause, it is common for reduced hormone levels to cause sluggish circulation, therefore triggering a tingling sensation in the feet.
Night sweats are caused by an over-production of perspiration during sleep. This often happens because the decreased levels of estrogen negatively affects the hypothalamus- the portion of the brain responsible for temperature regulation.
Insomnia is defined as the inability to sleep through the night. During perimenopause, women might find themselves waking up in the early hours and struggling to get back to sleep. Night sweats can also cause women to wake up more frequently during menopause.
What Causes Cold Feet, Night Sweats, and Insomnia?
One of the most common causes of cold feet, night sweats, and insomnia is hormonal changes related to menopause. Normally, the hypothalamus regulates body heat according to its surroundings. If it's hot outside, the hypothalamus forces the body to release heat; and if it's cold outside, the body will retain heat. However, cold feet, night sweats and insomnia are the consequence of the hypothalamus sending incorrect signals, resulting in the body attempting to down cool rapidly and producing excess heat.
During menopause, levels of estrogen hormones decline and cause the hypothalamus to malfunction. As a result, chemicals are released that cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate and release heat. These fluctuating temperatures may lead to night sweats and insomnia. Keep reading to learn more about them.
How Can I Manage Cold Feet, Night Sweats, and Insomnia?
The following tips may help you to deal with cold feet, night sweats, and insomnia effectively:
- Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables to improve circulation and control night sweats.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially late at night.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
- Don't exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime.
- Establish a good sleep pattern by going to bed at regular times.
- Wear pajamas made from light, natural fabrics.
- Try not to eat during the two hours before sleep.
By implementing these simple lifestyle changes, many women can ease their symptoms without having to resort to medical treatment.
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- The National Institute of Health. (n.d)."Signs of the Menopausal Transition" .Retrieved from www.nih.gov
- Boston Women's Health Collective. "Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances". Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2006.
- 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.