Menopause and Sleep: How to Manage Night Sweats

Are you struggling to get a good night’s rest because of hot flashes and night sweats? If so, you’re in good company. About 75% of menopausal and perimenopausal women battle these sudden feelings of heat that can leave your night clothes and bedsheets soaked with sweat.       

At Kelly Morales OB/GYN, we understand that even though night sweats may be a natural part of the aging process, they disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc on your day. That’s why Dr. Kelly Morales and our team are ready to provide patient-centered, compassionate care designed to alleviate symptoms associated with menopause for women in and around San Antonio, Texas.  

We’ve put together this informative article to help you rest more easily at night during menopause. Here are our top tips for managing night sweats. 

What is menopause?

Twelve months after your last period, you’re considered to be in menopause. Chances are, you’ll probably experience the symptoms of menopause in the years leading up to that point. 

The transition period is called perimenopause and is when women notice changes in their monthly cycles and other symptoms, such as:

The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, with most women reaching this stage between 45-58 years. Many women begin noticing symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s and spend about 4 years transitioning.

What are night sweats?

Night sweats are a hot flash that occurs at night while you sleep. Hot flashes describe a sudden feeling of heat, often accompanied by red, flushed skin and profuse sweating. Doctors aren’t sure of the exact cause of hot flashes and night sweats, but believe changes in estrogen and circulation may be to blame.

When you experience night sweats, they can disrupt your sleep and cause trouble for you during your waking hours. In fact, at least a third of women going through menopause say night sweats wreak havoc on their lives. 

How can I manage night sweats?

While there’s no guarantee that making lifestyle changes will alleviate all of your symptoms, doctors and researchers have found that some lifestyle changes can help. 

These are our top tips for managing night sweats and improving your sleep: 

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Multiple studies show that being overweight or obese significantly increases the likelihood you’ll experience hot flashes and night sweats. If you need help losing some extra pounds, talk to Dr. Morales for resources and advice on how to get started. 

2. Stop smoking

Smokers experience night sweats and hot flashes at a significantly higher rate than other women. What’s more? Women exposed to regular second-hand smoke also have more trouble in this area. If you smoke, talk to Dr. Morales for help with quitting. 

3. Control your environment

You can’t control when or how menopause arrives, but you can control your environment. Try turning down the thermostat before bed and sleeping with a fan on your nightstand. It’s also helpful to turn over your pillow frequently, use bedding materials that breathe well, and wear loose sleepwear.

4. Change your diet

Try working in more plant-based foods into your diet, especially those containing phytoestrogens, like soy. These plant-based substances have been linked to better-controlled estrogen and reductions in menopausal symptoms. Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary beverages and alcohol, too. 

5. Stay active

Work on getting a better night’s sleep — and experiencing less hot flashes and night sweats — by staying active during the day. Try making regular exercise part of your daily routine. If you haven’t exercised in a while, be sure to start slow and talk to Dr. Morales before getting started. 

6. Calm your mind

Stress can make the symptoms of menopause worse. To sleep better and experience less-frequent night sweats, be sure to engage in a calming bedtime routine. Incorporate other stress-management techniques, like mindfulness meditation, yoga, or tai chi, to help manage your mind and sleep. 

What if my night sweats or hot flashes are severe?

For most women, night sweats and hot flashes are a bother but don’t significantly disrupt their lives. For other women who experience them, however, they can be severe and unmanageable even with lifestyle changes. In these cases, Dr. Morales may recommend hormone replacement therapy or other treatments to help manage your symptoms. 

If you’re ready to learn more about menopause and managing your symptoms, our team at Kelly Morales OB/GYN can help. Contact our San Antonio office or call 210-570-7277 to schedule an appointment.

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