If you’re feeling more soggy than sexy in the bedroom these days, you’re probably getting night sweats.
Flipping the duvet on and off throughout the night, waking up soaked and clammy in a cool room. Night sweats can be very uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep when you’re desperate for more.
You’re not alone. The nocturnal equivalent of hot flushes, it’s estimated that night sweats visit up to 75% of perimenopausal and menopausal women.
But what causes night sweats in the menopause? Here’s the science bit. As your oestrogen levels going up and down, your hypothalamus (your brain’s thermostat) gets confused. It thinks you are hot, so it sets off your body’s own sprinkler system – your sweat glands.
As well as this feeling of intense heat, you can experience an irregular heartbeat.
TOP TIPS FOR YOU
So can anything help with night sweats in the menopause?
TAKE A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Check out our top tips for reducing hot flushes during the day.
How you treat yourself during the day has a direct impact on your comfort at night. Avoiding spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and smoking can help your body regulate its heating system. Regular exercise can help you de-stress and maintain a healthy weight.
None of this is rocket science. But the fewer stresses on your whole body, and the healthier you can be 24/7, the better your body will cope as your hormone levels fluctuate.
KEEP IT LIGHT
You may have to abandon your favourite PJs.
Keep your bedclothes light, or even better - go starkers. If you can’t stand the thought of being a nudey rudey, then wear loose, lightweight layered nightwear that you can take off or put back on easily.
Oh and don’t forget to turn your heating down and pop a fan by your bed in case.
Turning your pillow over if you’re hot and restless can keep your face on the cool side.
There are plenty of innovative gizmos and gadgets to help too – check out these gems we found.
INVEST IN TWO SINGLE DUVETS
This is another great bedroom idea if you share yours with someone. Buy two single duvets (at the togs you both individually prefer), rather than sleeping under a double.
This way, if you get too hot in the night, you can kick yours off leaving while your partner stays tucked up in theirs. Although you might not be having the most blissful night’s sleep, it may make for a more blissful day which doesn’t involve an argument about bedsheets.
CREATE A CALMING ROUTINE
What’s your usual preparation for bed? Are you on your phone? Watching TV or working ‘til late on the computer?
Even though we cognitively know that this is a rubbish foundation for a good night’s kip – we still do all the wrong things as we attempt to sandwich as much as we can into our day.
Avoid screens at least a couple of hours before trying to drift off, as the blue light they emit tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Relax with a book, do a meditation, anything that will tell your body that it’s time for sleep. Bedtime routines work wonders for toddlers – why not you?
GET SOME HERBAL HELP
What can you take for menopause night sweats? Natural remedies like valerian can help your body and mind relax at night.
Other supplements can be taken with caution. Black cohosh can be used for a short time to alleviate hot flushes or night sweats. But this remedy can upset your stomach and cause abnormal bleeding, and shouldn’t be taken if you have a liver problem.
Evening primrose can also help your hypothalamus, but could make you feel sick and give you a runny bum, and shouldn’t be taken by people on blood thinners.
Eating flaxseed, or taking a flaxseed supplement or oil (also called linseed oil) can also help to reduce the incidence and severity of sudden sweats in the day or night.
TALK TO YOUR GP ABOUT HRT
If your night sweats are severe, your doctor might recommend you take HRT.
Hormone Replacement Therapy – HRT for short – essentially does what it says on the tin. It replaces the hormones that your body is naturally losing due to the menopause, helping reduce your symptoms.
There are a number of ways you can take HRT medications, including tablets, patches and creams. Most women can take HRT but there are some risks, which your doctor should discuss with you.
TOP TIPS FOR OTHERS
Disturbed nights don’t have to mean misery for the both of you. There are plenty of things you can do to help the woman in your life with those nasty night sweats.
OUR ADVICE TO HER
In terms of self-care, we’ve recommended that she avoids spicy food, caffeine, alcohol and smoking to help her body regulate its heating system.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may also help her hormones and body thermostat settle down.
It will help too if she creates a calming routine before bed and slips under the sheets wearing lightweight nightwear.
More info on all of these top tips is on the ‘For her’ section of this page. Take a look.
SUGGEST A SUPPLEMENT
Some women find black cohosh, evening primrose or flaxseed oil supplements can ease their night sweats. Natural remedies like valerian could help her relax at night too.
Why not gently ask if she’s tried anything like that? Let her know she can find loads of reputable suppliers over on our nutrition page. It’s important she consults her doctor though before taking any of these supplements as they can carry risks or interfere with other medication.
BE A CONSIDERATE BED PARTNER
If you share a bed with someone who’s having night sweats, we get it – it’s annoying for you. But honestly, it’s more annoying for them, because they know you’re laying there not dealing with this nonsense.
Talk about using two separate single duvets or even different beds if disruptions during the night are causing arguments during the day. Whatever you do, make sure it’s right for your relationship, and that you’re in 100% agreement.
HAND OVER CONTROL OF THE HEATING
Okay, so you may end up needing to pull on an extra layer or the opposite and find yourself walking around the house in your undies clutching a battery-powered fan.
But allowing her to set the temperature to what she’s most comfortable at can work wonders for hot flushes, cold flashes, night sweats and harmony within the household. It’s not forever (and if it’s the former, imagine how much you’ll save on the heating bill.)
MAKE HER COMFY
Is there anything you can do to make her more physically comfortable?
It could be as simple as opening a window, switching on the fan, getting her a glass of water or flipping the pillow to the cold side. What does she need? Why don’t you ask her?
You may be thrilled that your partner is coming to bed without her PJs... but is she?
Before you set off the party poppers, make sure you’ve clocked how she’s feeling about her night sweats. Is she comfortable? Is she self-conscious? You may think she looks super sexy – but she may feel more like hiding away.