Waking up in the night covered in sweat is a common complaint of women approaching menopause. The dreaded night sweats occur primarily due to hormonal changes in the body, where an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone triggers sudden internal activity, to which the body responds by producing sweat to cool down. Though the cause of menopausal night sweats is usually hormonal, lifestyle and dietary factors do contribute to their severity. Keep reading to discover six easy, natural remedies for minimizing night sweating episodes.
Adjust Sleeping Environment
It may sound obvious, but one of the most effective natural remedies to relieve night sweats is to aim for a consistently cool sleeping environment. Avoid using central heating in your bedroom and keep a window open for ventilation. Bedclothes should be breathable, so instead of heaping heavy blankets on your bed, sleep beneath layers of cotton sheets. This will allow air to access your skin as you sleep and can be easily kicked off if you feel hot in the night.
Sage is an herb with significant sweat-relieving properties, so look to incorporate it into your evening routine in some way. This could mean using sage to season your food, drinking a sage tea, or dabbing sweat-prone areas with a cool sage poultice before going to bed.
Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods are all stimulants that can cause an increase in body temperature and resultant sweating for more than two hours after their consumption. For this reason, it is best to limit or completely avoid dietary stimulants in the evenings if you are prone to night sweats.
Anxiety has a number of physical effects on the body, including sweating. So when episodes of worry take place at night, it often becomes a trigger for night sweats. To avoid anxiety triggering night sweats, look for remedies to achieve a calm state of mind during the evenings; meditation, taking a leisurely stroll, or reading a book could all be ways to relax before bedtime.
Consider a Change of Nightwear
As with the choice of bed sheets, choice of nightwear can help or hinder night sweats. The key is to allow air to access the skin in order to keep it cool and aid the evaporation of any sweating that does occur, to prevent clamminess. For this reason clingy pajamas in restrictive fabrics, like lace or silk, should be avoided. Either sleep naked or, if you feel uncomfortable with this, opt for a loose, cotton nightshirt.
Use Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is an astringent which means that, when applied to sweat-prone areas, it will react with the skin to obstruct the sweat glands. It is also fragrant and absorptive, so it will limit clamminess and mask the odor of any sweating that does occur.
Remember to pay attention to personal hygiene to prevent body odor becoming an issue when suffering from night sweats, by showering after sweating and using an anti-perspirant deodorant. Making the suggested adjustments to your evening routine can go a long way in reducing the occurrence and severity of night sweating episodes, and will also promote restful sleep.
- Dall, L., Stanford, J. (1990) Fever, Chills, and Night Sweats in: Clinical Methods: The History, Physical and Laboratory Examinations. Retrieved April 28, 2014, available in the National Library of Medicine Website at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK324/
- National Health Service. (2012). Night Sweats. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2011) Sweating. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003218.htm
- Stanford University. (1998) Sleep hyperhidrosis (Night sweats, excessive sweating). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/sweats.html