Menopause 一 the end of your fertility marked by 12 consecutive months without a period 一 is a natural phase for women in their 40s or 50s. The transition into menopause is called perimenopause, and it’s notorious for the symptoms it causes.
You’ve certainly heard about hot flashes and mood swings, but night sweats can be equally frustrating. Night sweats can disrupt your sleep and leave you craving nothing but a night of undisturbed sleep.
That's where A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our team come into the picture. We specialize in menopause management to make your transition into menopause as smooth as possible.
Depending on your needs, you may benefit from hormone therapy to balance your hormones, antidepressants to address any mood changes, and lifestyle modifications.
In the meantime, here’s what you can do about those pesky night sweats.
What are night sweats?
While hot flashes rule the day, night sweats are the nighttime equivalent of a hot flash. In fact, it’s a hot flash that occurs while you sleep.
When you have night sweats, you wake up with a sudden feeling of heat, often accompanied by red, flushed skin and profuse sweating.
Not only does this interrupt your sleep, but it can be hard to fall back asleep. You may need to cool down, change into dry pajamas, and lay under a fan until you’re ready to drift back to sleep. Interrupted sleep can then lead to daytime sleepiness, cognitive decline, and irritation.
5 ways to manage night sweats
Perimenopause 一 the period of years leading up to menopause 一 can seem to drag on for many women. Experts estimate that perimenopause (and therefore night sweats) can persist for anywhere from 24 months to 11 years.
With that in mind, we’ve prepared a list of strategies to help tame those night sweats.
Control your bedroom environment
No one can control when menopause arrives or how long perimenopause will last, but you can control your bedroom. Reduce your risk of night sweats by:
- Turning turning down the thermostat before bed (65 degrees or colder)
- Sleeping with a fan on your nightstand
- Turning on the ceiling fan (if you have one)
- Using sheets with breathable fabrics
- Using cooling pillows
In addition to using breathable sheets, make sure your pajamas are also made of loose, breathable fabric.
Add more plant-based foods to your diet
What you eat fuels your body, but it can also help support your body through this phase of your life. Add more plant-based foods to your diet, especially those containing phytoestrogens, which are plant-based substances that mimic estrogen.
Broccoli, tofu, tempeh, legumes, and oranges all contain phytoestrogens. Studies show that phytoestrogens can lead to better-controlled estrogen levels in women and reductions in menopausal symptoms, including both hot flashes and night sweats.
According to a 2022 study, when participants adopted a low-fat vegan diet for several weeks, researchers saw a 78% decline in hot flashes.
In addition to adding more whole food plant-based foods to your diet, avoid anything that triggers night sweats. Alcohol, spicy foods, and fatty foods can make your symptoms worse.
If you currently smoke, consider stopping. Smokers experience more night sweats than nonsmokers. If you need help quitting, talk to Dr. Coppa about cessation options.
Exercise is good for your mind and body, and it can even help you sleep better too. That’s because regular exercise can help reduce the frequency of night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings.
Practice stress management techniques daily
Stress seems to make everything worse, and menopause is no exception. That’s right: Your perceived stress levels can make your night sweats worse.
To improve the quality of your sleep and reduce night sweats, add stress management practices to your daily routine. Try mindfulness meditations, yoga, or tai chi to manage your mind and sleep. You can also listen to a guided meditation on a phone or tablet app.
Get help for night sweats
While these practices can help you manage night sweats at home, they’re not always enough. If you need help balancing your hormones, Dr. Coppa is here. Whether you need specific lifestyle guidance, hormone therapy, or medication, help is just a call or click away.
Call the location most convenient to you 一 Cranston, Providence, or Smithfield, Rhode Island 一 or request an appointment online to get started and find the menopause management options that are right for you.