Menopause, when your menstrual cycle stops and your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, happens naturally, usually after age 45. Your body undergoes a number of changes in the leadup to menopause. Many of these changes are uncomfortable and can disrupt your sleep.
Night sweats, excess sweating at night, are a common cause of reduced sleep quality for women undergoing menopause. If you’re experiencing this symptom, there are steps you can take to feel comfortable and continue to get the quality sleep you need.
If you’re dealing with night sweats and other menopause symptoms, Dr. Staci McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN have decades of experience helping people manage the transition.
What are night sweats?
Night sweats are a form of hyperhidrosis, an umbrella term for conditions that cause excess sweating. Sweating is a normal bodily process that regulates your body’s temperature. When you have night sweats, however, you sweat uncontrollably at night, and far more than is necessary. They accompany hot flashes, sudden increases in your body’s temperature, and can wake you up at night, resulting in poor sleep.
Why do night sweats happen during menopause?
Menopause causes dramatic changes in your hormone levels. In addition to ending your menstrual cycle, these hormonal shifts can cause changes throughout your body, including with temperature regulation.
When your body loses some of its ability to regulate its temperature, you have hot flashes and night sweats: episodes of warmth, flushing and excess sweating. Every woman’s experience of menopause is different, but hot flashes and night sweats are among the more common symptoms. 75% of women will have them at some point during menopause.
How can I manage night sweats?
Though night sweats may not be preventable, you can take steps to reduce their frequency and severity. Some changes to your routine and habits can improve your sleep quality and help you stay comfortable. Many of the same behaviors that reduce sweating in any situation can improve your night sweats.
Dr. McHale may recommend:
- Exercise: exercise helps you sleep better at night, but don’t exercise too close to bedtime
- Reducing your stress: avoiding stressful situations, maintaining a calm environment, and relaxation practices like meditation can improve your sleep quality
- Wear looser, lighter clothing: night sweats increase when you wear heavy clothing
- Keep your bedroom cool: a bedside fan or a thermostat can keep your body temperature down, and be sure to avoid heavy blankets
- Avoid triggers: alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods can increase sweat
There is also medication that can reduce night sweats. However, Dr. McHale will likely recommend lifestyle changes for at least three months before considering medication.
If you need help managing the symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today.