4 Awesome Ways to Beat Night Sweats Naturally

Eu Natural
December 3, 2015

As if hot flashes weren’t bad enough, many women during menopause experience a nocturnal version of this symptom called night sweats.

Note that both come under the umbrella term “vasomotor symptoms” of menopause and are not the same, even though both have to do with heat. Night sweats, as the name implies, means sweating in the night causing you to wake up in the middle.

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Menopausal women typically wake up in their night with their heart pounding and sheets drenched in their sweat. This isn’t caused by warm blankets, hot weather or insulating pajamas, however. Night sweats occur even in very cold nights. Once you wake up, it becomes difficult to feel calm and comfortable. You feel irritated and angry due to the situation it’s impossible to go back to sleep.

But why do women experience night sweats during menopause anyway and is this a treatable condition? Read on to find out.

Causes of night sweats

Caused by a complex interaction between many processes in the body, night sweats are a true nocturnal annoyance to most menopausal women around the world.

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Most menopausal symptoms are caused by fluctuating estrogen levels in the body. The region of the brain that is involved in regulating body temperature, the hypothalamus, becomes confused with the continual hormonal fluctuations and starts acting like a defective thermostat. The hypothalamus detects the changing estrogen levels as a rise in body temperature and it tries to cool the body down. This will result in a series of processes, including flushing (dilation of blood vessels to release more heat) and stimulation of sweat glands causing profuse sweating. Finally, you wake up cold and drenched in your sweat, your heart’s racing and you’re super irritated.

Night sweats may be linked to many complications too. They aren’t just a vexing symptom of menopause; they may actually predict your heart health as well.

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia found that night sweats may be associated with coronary heart disease. The study was published in the journal, BJOG in 2014 and involved 11,725 women of ages 45 to 50 years at baseline in 1996. These women were followed for 14 years at 3 year intervals. Researchers found that the women who often had night sweats had twice the risk of coronary heart disease compared to women with no symptoms. The study concluded:

Women who report having hot flushes or night sweats 'often' have an increased risk of developing CHD (coronary heart disease) over a period of 14 years, even after taking the effects of age, menopause status, lifestyle, and other chronic disease risk factors into account.

Studies also show that about 80 percent of women experience hot flashes and night sweats during menopause. Fortunately, night sweats are controllable with a few lifestyle changes and natural remedies.

How to treat night sweats

While finding ways to treat night sweats make sure you are patient. What works for another person may not necessarily work for you as the severity and pattern of menopausal symptoms is different for each individual. Your best bet would be to experiment with different treatment methods or combine a few (if safe to do so) to determine what works best for you.

Note that there is a possibility that something might work for a few or weeks but not give you long-term relief. While for some women, finding a solution that works is easy, for others it takes a little extra effort and perseverance. The key is to not give up trying. Understand that lifestyle changes take time to work and natural remedies aren’t like medicine. While some studies do show that they work, more studies need to be performed to solidify such claims.

The good thing is that there are enough and more treatment methods for you to experiment with.

To determine the best treatment for your night sweats, start by keeping track of the conditions that you suspect are causing symptoms. Once you wake up from your night sweats, it may take you some time to go back to sleep, so instead of grabbing your phone or laptop which may interfere with your sleep even more, grab a notebook and write down everything you could have done differently to prevent your night sweats. Maybe you ate something spicy or drank alcohol. Smoking tobacco can also worsen symptoms.

Note down the time when you woke up, how you feel (do you feel grumpy, irritated or stressed?), the food and drinks you consumed before going to bed, what you wore to sleep, your environment and sleeping conditions etc. Keeping a track of potential triggers may help you garner a pattern and use prevention as a method to beat night sweats, instead of a cure.

1. Lifestyle changes

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While making lifestyle changes is risk-free and inexpensive, it requires the most determination and effort. Lifestyle adjustments can bring about a huge impact on a woman’s menopausal phase, you just need to be mindful about your daily actions.

For example, having a spicy meal at night or going overboard with the wine can significantly intensify night sweats. Stress is another common factor that may play a monumental role in the occurrence of night sweats. Read more about the factors associated with night sweats here.

We’ve summarized the dos and don’ts of dealing with night sweats as follows.

As mentioned earlier, keep track of your daily patterns and see if home treatment methods are giving rise to any improvement. This may take some time, but it’s definitely worth it.

Here’s a list of what you can do at home to prevent night sweats

  • Avoid spicy/hot food. Go for something light, subtle and comforting.
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Avoid warm beverages at night and reduce intake in the day time.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing made with natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo.
  • Sleep in layers that you can easily remove.
  • Turn down the thermostat.
  • Cool yourself down using a damp cold compress or switching on the air conditioner or fan.
  • Practice slow and deep breathing.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a well-balanced nutritious diet plan.
  • Have more soy protein, vitamin E and B.
  • Try stress relieving techniques such as meditation, visualization, yoga and exercise. Going for a daily walk or jog in the morning is a great stress-reliever, according to many women.

2. Natural remedies

Lifestyle changes can benefit your overall health and wellness and also relieve symptoms of menopause but they don’t tackle the underlying cause – hormonal fluctuations. To tackle this issue, it is recommended that you try safe and effective alternative treatments that correct hormonal imbalances and thus, reduce night sweats. Keep reading to get a dip on our top natural night sweat remedies.

  • Black cohosh: If you’ve been doing some research on how to combat your menopause symptoms, you’ve probably come across this one somewhere. Black cohosh is one of the most popular herbs used to treat menopause symptoms. It’s highly recommended by experts and can be used to treat hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms related to estrogen fluctuations.

A study published in the January-February 2010 issue of the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine examined the efficacy of black cohosh in treating night sweats. With seven trials, researchers estimated that black cohosh may reduce night sweats in menopausal women by 26 percent.

  • Ginseng: Ginseng is another well-known herb used to treat menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes and night sweats. Make sure you take ginseng in small amounts as it may bring down the body’s natural estrogen levels and lead to side effects such as insomnia, headaches and diarrhea.

Ginseng is widely used in East Asian countries as a treatment for a large number of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

A 2012 study published in the journal, Menopause, New York, evaluated the effects of red ginseng, the most popular form of ginseng, on menopausal symptoms as well as the risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.

The randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study was conducted with 72 women of ages 45 to 60 years. The participants were divided into two groups. One took red ginseng and the other took the placebo for a period of 12 weeks. Changes in menopausal symptoms were analyzed using the Kupperman index and the menopause rating scale. Cardiovascular risk factors were measured as well.

Studies also show that about 80 percent of women experience hot flashes and night sweats during menopause. Fortunately, night sweats are controllable with a few lifestyle changes and natural remedies.

Results showed that red ginseng significantly improved menopause symptoms and helped lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels as well.

  • Flaxseed: Flaxseeds are packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. In addition, they may improve night flashes too. Flaxseeds are incredibly versatile – you can add them to your cereals, smoothies and yogurt. You can even add them to baked goods to amplify the nutritional content. Flaxseeds are amazing for health and they don’t cause any side effects.

These flaxseed cookies look amazing, don't they?

  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E has many functions in the body. According to some women, vitamin E may serve as an excellent remedy for night sweats and severe hot flashes. The best way to get your daily vitamin E intake is by consuming foods rich in this nutrient, such as nuts and seeds, whole grains and vegetable oils. It may take several weeks for positive effects to kick in with the intake of this vitamin but there’s a high chance it will reduce night sweats or at least, improve your health and wellbeing. Make sure you see a doctor before taking vitamin E supplements as it may interfere with certain medications.
  • Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be taken in a capsule form to reduce night sweats. It’s a general tonic used for reproductive health in women. Evening primrose oil has a cooling effect on the skin and can be used for hot flashes. Some studies show that it may help regulate estrogen levels and improve vasomotor menopause symptoms and work like a sleep aid as it has high levels of gamma linolenic acid.

3. Exercise

Research shows that an increase in cardio-respiratory fitness may help reduce symptoms in menopausal symptoms. According to one study, women who engaged in regular exercise had less severe night sweats and fewer hot flashes.

Another study showed that women who are overweight may be more likely to suffer from night sweats and hot flashes compared to women with normal BMI. However, factors that affect menopause are many and the situation can be more complex than explained above. For example, age is a factor that may affect menopause symptoms but experts agree that physical activity is a great way to boost health and thus, prevent troubling symptoms.

4. Breathe

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that according to some studies, rhythmic breathing, called relaxed breathing can help reduce night sweats as well as hot flashes. This may be linked to your stress levels too. Breathing exercises are a great way to de-stress and relax your mind. You become more patient and resilient to stressful situations, making you stronger at coping with something that previously lead to sleepless nights for you. Speaking of sleep, relaxed breathing is amazing for a good night’s sleep without night sweats waking you up in the middle.

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