Night sweats are a common symptom of the menopause transition. They can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat and shivering. They are the nighttime version of a related menopausal symptom, hot flashes.
What Causes Severe Night Sweats?
Night sweats are usually caused by hormonal imbalance. Estrogen hormones play an important role in the body, helping the hypothalamus (the body's temperature controller) run correctly. Consequently, if there is an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone, the body can become convinced that it's too cold and turn the temperature up. When it realizes it's overheating, it then begins to sweat profusely. These are night sweats.
What Do Severe Night Sweats Feel Like?
Severe night sweats can disrupt sleep and cause clothing to become soaked through with sweat. Night sweats often occur multiple times in one night. This can lead to fatigue and sleep deprivation.
How Can Severe Night Sweats Be Avoided?
There are some healthy lifestyle changes you can make to help cope with night sweats, such as:
Exercise. Work out at least five times a week, for half an hour a day. This can help stabilize fluctuating hormone levels.
Nutrition. Eat a varied diet that contains different fruits and vegetables, whole grain fibers, and protein. Getting all your essential nutrients will help balance your body and ensure everything has what it needs to function properly.
Sleep. 7 to 8 hours a night is best. Exhaustion and fatigue can worsen many menopause symptoms.
Sleep next to a cool glass of water. If you wake up from a night sweat, its there and ready for you to drink.
Wear pajamas made from breathable fabrics to prevent overheating.
Avoid eating hot or spicy foods directly before going to bed. Alcohol ans smoking right before bed should also be avoided.
Sleep near a fan or with a window open.
- Take a cold showers before bed.
Night sweats can also be treated with natural supplements. Natural supplements containing the following products are particularly helpful for treating night sweats:
- Black cohosh
- Red clover
If your night sweats are extremely severe and having a significant impact on your life, talk to a doctor. There are prescription medications and treatments available.
Click here for more information about severe night sweats.
- The National Institute of Health. "Signs of the Menopausal Transition" 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.