If you have ever awakened in the middle of the night with the feeling that you are burning up, and find yourself drenched in sweat, you have experienced night sweats. Though night sweats can be aggravated by spicy foods or alcohol, or sleeping in an overheated room, the true culprit in night sweats for the majority of peri-menopausal and menopausal women is fluctuating estrogen levels. Such fluctuations falsely signal the hypothalamus to cool down the body by triggering perspiration and blood vessel dilation. For those of you who have experienced this phenomenon, you know how much it interferes with normal sleep patterns!
What can you do to minimize night sweats? Regular exercise can reduce the severity of symptoms. I have also seen a marked improvement in night sweat symptoms in my patients after they have introduced maca root into their daily regimens. On a personal note, maca has been helpful in reducing the intensity of my night sweats so that I don’t wake up completely drenched in sweat in the middle of the night. If you have severe symptoms, you might want to consider being evaluated for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I strongly advocate the use of bio-identical hormones for individuals who suffer from the symptoms of hormonal decline or imbalance.
The battle to eradicate my night sweats has not ended. I had a nice little break from them for about five months, then they crept back into my nightly patterns. To combat this, I decided that my comforter needed to be put in storage until the winter, and I purchased a cotton coverlet set. I also purchased a special mattress protector which is comprised of a cooling material, and though it was a bit pricey (about $100 for a Cal King), it was a godsend for me. Here are a couple of brands which are great:
Another thing I highly recommend is to put a fan in your bedroom. I have a ceiling fan in my bedroom, and I almost always sleep with it on so that I can keep cool air circulating over the bed. Make sure the thermostat in your home is set to a cooler temperature so that you don’t overheat during the night, or open a window to allow a cool night breeze drift into your bedroom.
Hopefully these suggestions will have you sleeping more comfortably this summer!