How to Manage Night Sweats From Menopause | Everyday Health

2022-11-09 16:34:12 By : Ms. Candy Wu

Night sweats are one of the most common symptoms of menopause — and they can seriously mess up your sleep. Use these tips to stay cool.

You expect to sweat when you’re at the gym or the beach. But sweating while you’re fast sleep?

For most women who are experiencing menopause, night sweats are indeed real. The sweat sessions can be heavy enough to wake you up in the middle of the night or cause you to soak through your nightclothes or sheets.

Fortunately, though, there are ways you can put night sweats to bed — or at least, prevent them from ruining your shut-eye altogether. Here’s what you need to know to manage your internal thermostat and reclaim your sleep.

Night sweats are essentially hot flashes that happen while you’re asleep, says Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, MD, an ob-gyn in Los Angeles and author of Menopause Bootcamp. With both night sweats and hot flashes, your blood vessels expand (or “vasodilate,” in medical speak), which triggers an increase in blood flow. This causes a wave of heat to spread throughout the body, which “leads to sweating and sometimes flushing of the skin and a rapid heart rate,” says Julianne Arena, MD, a double-board-certified physician, educator, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur in Plymouth, Massachusetts. A cold sensation or chill might even follow.

Changes are also happening in the thermoregulatory region of the brain that functions as your body’s thermostat. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, your body’s range of “normal” temperature narrows, and you begin to fall outside of that regulated zone more easily. “When that happens, your body decides it needs to cool off by sweating,” says Dr. Gilberg-Lenz.

Night sweats typically last anywhere from one minute to a few minutes, and they can occur several times a night. In fact, some of Dr. Arena’s patients report waking up from them 20 times a night.

It can be hard to pinpoint what exactly triggers night sweats, in part because they can be caused by more than one issue. Take hormonal changes, for example: “Night sweats are associated with fluctuating estrogen levels,” says Gilberg-Lenz, but “there are plenty of women who have increasing or decreasing estrogen and don’t get night sweats.” Higher levels of cortisol, the fight-flight-freeze hormone, can also be a culprit. “When cortisol is elevated at night, it can lead to night sweats,” says Arena.

Other possible triggers include alcohol, illness or infection, anxiety, depression, medications, and even a too-hot bedroom, she says.

Night sweats and hot flashes can last anywhere from a few months to more than seven years, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. You don’t have to sweat in silence, though. Here’s what you should do:

Whatever you do, don’t give up. There are ways you can ward off at least some night sweats and lessen their severity. “Your quality of life matters,” Gilberg-Lens says.

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