Hot and Heaving…

‘ She tore back the bed sheets, soaked from hot beads of sweat trickling over her, her body heaving and heart beating out of her ample bosom.  She was spent.

Her head was swimming from another night without sleep … another restless night, thrashing around in bed.

She looked over at the man beside her.

“Deirdre” he whispered. “are you having one of your funny turns again, love?” as she reached into the bedside drawer for a fresh nightie. ‘

Yep, for many gorgeous girls, that’s NOT sexy-time from Mills and Boon but a pretty good picture of another night of …

…night sweats and very little sleep.

I was going to say “menopause night sweats” BUT…

…many women suffer night sweats and they AREN’T perimenopausal or menopausal.

Or some women are perimenopausal or menopausal and the night sweats aren’t REALLY due to hormones.  Although it’s common.

Some perimenopausal and menopausal don’t wake often and aren’t sweating in bed. Me. I’m one.


Are you waking with night sweats?

Okay. You’re waking during the night and you’re sweating.

Ask yourself, did I wake because I’m sweating.

Or did I wake up and START sweating?

Subtle difference, but important difference.

Menopause Night Sweats

If you’re woken by sweating, you’re in your 40s or 50s and have other signs of menopause, it’s  likely the sweats are linked to hormones changes i.e. less oestrogen.  These are similar to hot flushes that you may get during the day.

They can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and wreck your sleep.  They can also wreck your partner’s ability to rest. Double bummer.

In a moment, I’ll share some top tips for dealing with the nasty night sweats.

If you start sweating after you’ve woken up, there may be other things going on.  Again more of that later.

Managing Menopause Night Sweats

Here are my top tips for reducing menopause night sweats:-

1.  Eat Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils …

Yes, eat at least one portion of beans, chickpeas, lentils or flaxseeds daily AND some leafy greens or broccoli. A portion is a couple of ounces  or 50 grams. They contain nutrients called phytoestrogens which help balance hormones. Get the skinny on these hormone-helping nutrients right here.

2. Black Cohosh

Black WHAT?

Black Cohosh is a herb.

There are studies that show it helps relieve menopause hot flushes and night sweats.  Scientists know that it doesn’t boost oestrogen level (the aim of HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy, with it’s slightly increased risk of certain cancers): it stimulates oestrogen receptors in the body.

As with all herbs, be a little bit careful:-

  • Check you are not sensitive to it.  If you are, you should be able to tolerate homeopathically prepared Black Cohosh, which is dilute.
  • Check with your Doctor that herbs are not messing with any other medications and treatments you are taking.
  • Buy organic from a good source.  The best you can afford, as you get what you pay for.
  • Don’t exceed the recommended dose.
  • If in doubt, see a trained Medical Herbalist.

3. Exercise

Yes, regular, gentle exercise can help reduce hot flushes and night sweats according to some experts. It’s also useful for weight management, mental health, bone and joint health and your sex-life. LOTS of good reasons  to start moving your body you Marvellous and Mature Mavens.

Variety is important.  Choose from brisk walking, dancing, swimming, cycling for heart health and to support weight management.  Even bopping around your Living Room singing into a hairbrush and making like Madonna is good… if you do it regularly and for at least 3o minutes.

Choose weight bearing exercise for bone and joint health, like using weights, lunges/squats/press ups or any domestic chores that mean lifting or digging. Yes, decluttering that spare room IS good for your health in so many ways!

Choose relaxing and energising activities like yoga, Pilates, qi gong to help reduce stress, improve breathing and oxygen flow and to increase energy. Ommmm.

4.  Reduce Known Triggers

Work out what triggers or makes worse the flushes and sweats.  Common triggers include smoking, alcohol, sugar in all it’s forms and sugar substitutes, spicy foods and caffeine. If you’re not sure what to do, take a look here.

Help. I’m not Menopausal but I wake up and sweat at night.

Night sweats can be caused by a number of things aside from menopause in women AND even men.

Usually, there’s a simple trigger.  Unexplained and persistent night sweats should be reported to your Doctor, however. Sweating can be a sign of more serious problems in rare cases. Here’s some other common causes of night sweats.  It’s not a complete list :-

  • Stress – we know that stress leads to increased stress hormones and the body’s “fight or flight response”? Well, increased sweating can be linked to the stress response.
  • Medications – some over the counter and prescribed drugs can lead to increased sweating including aspirin, steroids, antidepressants and blood pressure meds. Speak to your Doctor if you think your medications are causing side-effects.
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs – yes, these too can result in waking, feeling really hot and sweaty.
  • Other illness – sweating can be a sign of infections like colds or ‘flu.
  • Menstrual cycle -many women notice an increase in body temperature just before her period starts, when the hormone progesterone drops.
  • Increased sweating/excessive sweating – you know, some people just naturally sweat more than others.

Whether you’re perimenopausal and perspiring or there are other triggers for your night sweats, there are some simple self-care steps that can really make a difference.

And that’s a subject for yet another beaut blog.