Night sweats, or hyperhidrosis, are defined as excessive sweating beyond what is necessary to adequately cool down the body. Night sweats and hot flashes are bothersome symptoms that frequently occur hand-in-hand with menopause. While you may not be able to avoid these symptoms completely, there are several things you can do to help decrease the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats.
Crank the Cold
An obvious solution to dealing with nocturnal hot flashes and night sweats is to turn up the air conditioner. While this may seem like a simple solution, it is not always that easy if there are others in the house. If you don’t have an air conditioner or you have a family who is less than pleased with the chilly nights, consider a fan. Place a rotating fan next to your bed. The fan can help cool down the surrounding air and also helps to circulate the air.
Change your Pajamas
The first line of defense against night sweats is to wear the right pajamas. Avoid flannel and polyester nightwear, which trap heat and increase hot flashes and night sweats. Instead, opt for light, natural fabrics, like cotton. Wear loose fitting tank tops and shorts, rather than long-sleeved tops and pants.
Consider Your Linens
While you may not pay much attention to thread count, it’s important to consider when trying to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats while you’re sleeping. The higher the thread count of your sheets, the more tightly weaved the threads are. When threads have a tight weave, air flows less freely through them. As a result, heat is trapped which cancan induce and exacerbate hot flashes. Sheets that have a lower thread count allow more air to flow through them, which helps release heat and keep you cooler. Choose sheets with a thread count of 300 or less.
A down comforter is a popular choice when it comes to bedding, but it can be the enemy if you are experiencing night sweats and hot flashes. Like high thread count sheets, down comforters trap in heat, increasing your body temperature and triggering hot flashes. Replace a down comforter with a light, breathable comforter made from cotton. Better yet, remove the comforter from your bed completely and opt to sleep with just a low thread count sheet.
Skip the Nightcap
Drinking alcohol before bed can worsen nocturnal hot flashes and night sweats. Replace your evening cocktail with iced water or tea. It is also beneficial to avoid eating spicy foods prior to bedtime. Spicy foods can increase core temperature and exacerbate night sweats and hot flashes.
Take a Breath
Deep breathing can help reduce stress, which in turn can decrease frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Take several deep breaths before you go to bed. Deep breathing can also help put you back to sleep after you wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat.