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Night sweats are something that most women experience during menopause. They are unpleasant and can leave you and your bed sheets damp or in some cases soaked.
I often find it easier to get up and find a cooler place until it passes.
The amount of night sweats varies from person to person, but they can be caused by several things.
Your doctor may have some insights on the cause and how you can manage them better. If you’re concerned about your night sweats or other symptoms in perimenopause or menopause.
This article will explain exactly what night sweats are, how to reduce them and when you should be concerned.
What are night sweats in menopause?
They are a common symptom of menopause and over 80% of women experience night sweats at some point in menopause.
They can be so severe that they wake you up and cause interrupted sleep.
What are the causes of night sweats during menopause?
They can be due to many causes.
Most commonly they are caused by hot flashes which occur at night and typically go for a longer period.
Another cause is thyroid issues. An overactive thyroid can lead to increased perspiration as well as weight loss, fatigue, and skin changes like thinning eyebrows or fine blonde hair on the body.
-Other symptoms of an overactive thyroid include frequent bowel movements, muscle
Other causes include chronic illnesses like diabetes, kidney disease, liver failure and heart disease.
Night sweats are often caused by medications or supplements you are taking.
What can I do to stop night sweats in menopause?
If they are due to hot flashes, there are several things you can do.
- You can try staying in a cooler room or turning the temperature down at night if it is too warm for you to sleep comfortably.
- Layering on some light bedding and clothing may help as well as using a fan near the bed, keeping the window open or using a ceiling fan.
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed will also help keep your body temperature down so you can sleep soundly.
- One thing that helps many women is to take hot baths before going to bed and then dry off with a hairdryer on cool air mode right away.
- Deep breathing may help. Try the 4-7-8 breathing method which will help reduce the chemicals in the brain that cause stress and so reduce your core temperature. Try breathing in for four slow counts, hold for seven and breathe out for eight.
What changes can I make to my diet to improve night sweats?
Your diet can make a difference to the severity if they are a symptom of perimenopause or menopause.
Here are some simple changes you might try:
- Decrease your salt intake and eat more potassium-rich foods like bananas, low sodium chicken broth.
- Reduce your caffeine intake as this can contribute to hot flashes which can lead to night sweats.
- Increase the amount of water you drink so that you are well hydrated and keep nighttime trips to the bathroom at a minimum.
- Eat a diet rich in high fiber like fresh fruit and veggies, chia, linseed and legumes to help keep your digestive system running smoothly.
- Avoid spicy foods that will cause your body temperature to rise and make you sweat.
What foods make menopausal night sweats worse?
Several diet choices can make night sweats worse for some women.
- Salt is known to cause fluid retention which often leads to night sweats along with bloating and weight gain so it’s best to cut back on the salt in your diet if you have been experiencing these symptoms recently.
- Alcohol not only contributes to hot flashes and night sweats but it is also a diuretic that leads to dehydration.
- Caffeine can contribute to hot flashes due to the stimulant effect so reducing your intake of coffee, tea and chocolate may help reduce night sweats as well.
- Saturated fats and sugar are inflammatory so are more likely to make night sweat worse. Fast food, red meat, dairy products, processed foods and baked goods would all be included in this list.
Can cancer cause night sweats?
Other symptoms would be associated with cancer if it was the underlying problem causing the night sweats.
There are, however, some types of cancers associated with menopause like ovarian or endometrial cancer which can cause night sweats but again these other symptoms will also likely be present.
How long do hot flashes last?
If there is no other underlying medical condition hot flashes usually start to lessen in intensity and frequency as we get closer to the end of menopause which is around age 52.
It can take up to a decade for hot flashes to subside completely so if you are still experiencing them after this time, it would be best to check with your doctor for anything out of the normal.
What is the difference between night sweats and hot flashes?
Night sweats are the drenching perspiration that occurs at night during sleep whereas hot flashes are sudden flashes of heat accompanied by sweating.
Hot flashes tend to come and go quickly while night sweats can last for varying lengths of time from several minutes to several hours.
Should I worry about night sweats in menopause?
If you have been having night sweats along with other symptoms for several months, it is best to discuss this with your doctor.
Of course, if they are disrupting your sleep enough to cause other health issues you must do something about them.
How do I stop night sweats and hot flashes naturally?
As mentioned previously diet and lifestyle changes can make a difference.
There is also evidence that acupuncture can be helpful.
Studies have found that women who receive traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture at least once per week over six weeks not only reported less severe hot flashes but were also able to get more sleep.
Using hormone therapy to treat hot flashes and night sweats may
also, be helpful.
Several prescription medications can help ease these symptoms as well as bioidentical hormones that may offer the same benefits as traditional hormone replacement therapy without all of the negative side effects associated with synthetic estrogen and progesterone supplements.
Night sweats, or hot flashes as they are also known, can be a symptom of menopause.
Unless you’ve been experiencing night sweats for an unusually long time and they’re not disrupting your sleep enough to cause other health problems then you should just see how things go.
However, if the frequency is becoming too much for you or affecting your work/life balance then many things can help such as the tips mentioned in this post.
Other natural remedies like chamomile tea before bedtime and implementing lifestyle changes like reducing stress levels and getting more exercise during the day will also help.
Let’s face it sweating at night is no fun, my hope is that this post will offer some easy suggestions that my help.
Do you get night sweats? Let me know in the comments!
Menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats can last for years – Harvard Health Publishing
Hot Flashes What Can I Do? – NIH Nation Institute on Aging