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Night Sweats 

Night sweats

Night sweats, or sleep hyperhidrosis, during menopause and perimenopause can have a significant effect on your day-to-day life as they often disrupt your sleep. Night sweats are like the nighttime version of hot flashes as they occur during normal sleeping hours. Some women have only minor night sweats, but others may find themselves waking up drenched in sweat. After a change of clothes, or even sheets, these women may find it very difficult to go back to sleep. Some women throw the covers on and off, open windows, and turn on the fan only to feel chilled moments later. 

Woman sweating while trying to sleep

Is It A Night Sweat?
No                Yes                                         
  1. Sheets, pillow, blanket are too warm
  2. Room temperature is too high
  3. Temporary illness, cold or flu

 

 

  1.  Menopause
      Hormone imbalance
    Overweight or obese
    Sleep apnea, untreated
    Stress or Anxiety disorders
  2. GERD
    Cancer
    Medication side effects
    Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar 
  3. Idiopathic hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
    Various neurologic disorder

Simple lifestyle changes such as keeping your bedroom cool and using light or cotton sheets may help to a small extent. Supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years as a natural way to affect estrogen activity, which is the primary culprit, particularly for women who do not want to use hormone therapies. 

Management

Some options to manage symptoms of night sweats include: 

  1. Stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day
  2. Limit sugar and fat consumption in the evenings
  3. Avoid trigger foods like alcoholic drinks, caffeine or excessively spicy foods 
  4. Get daily exercise such as walking or yoga
  5. Use non-synthetic pajamas, sheets, and pillow cases
  6. Practice relaxation techniques before bed and after a night sweat

Tea and a light on a night stand

Certain factors can increase the duration and severity of night sweats. Avoiding these triggers may help to alleviate night sweats. 

Night Sweat Triggers
Environmental Triggers   Emotional Triggers     Behavioral Triggers
  1. Excess bedding
  2. Close proximity to partner
  3. Hot rooms
  4. Warm weather
  5. Saunas, tubs, hot showers
  1. Stress
  2. Anxiety
  3. Disturbing dreams
  1. Hot or spicy foods
  2. Alcohol or caffeine
  3. Diet pills
  4. Drug use

Supplements

Production of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone change during perimenopause. These changes are linked to many common menopausal symptoms. As with hot flashes, it is likely that night sweats are linked to low estrogen levels and progesterone imbalance may also be involved [1].*

Phytoestrogen supplements can help to reduce night sweats by naturally increasing estrogen levels in the body. Many herbal remedies contain plant phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones, which can reduce hot flashes and night sweats [2].* Black Cohosh Root Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Dong Quai and Red Clover are some of the herbal remedies that are often used for menopause.*

Magnesium

Foods with magnesium

Magnesium levels are naturally depleted during menopause [3]* and excess sweating can also affect magnesium levels. Eating magnesium rich foods such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits (in moderation due to the sugar content), avocados, dark leafy greens, brown rice, lentils, kidney beans, cocoa powder, and whole grains can help. If you don’t get enough magnesium from your diet, it can make sense to supplement during perimenopause and menopause.

Studies have indicated that magnesium supplements can reduce the intensity and severity of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as support general health and well being. The role of magnesium in breast cancer patients who were experiencing a minimum of 14 hot flashes per week found that it could reduce the number of hot flashes by 25-50% [5].* Sweating, fatigue and discomfort were also decreased. A significant point about this study is that the participants were breast cancer patients. This meant that they were not able to take estrogenic medications and their results can be seen favorably by women who do not want to take them either. 

It’s worth being aware that taking too much magnesium can make you more likely to experience side effects. These can range from fairly mild side effects such as diarrhea and stomach upset to more serious problems such as low blood pressure, slow heart rate or cardiac arrest. Women who are taking high blood pressure or heart medication should talk with a medical professional before taking magnesium. 

Vitamin E

Foods with vitamin E

Vitamin E is another nutrient that has shown promise in relieving hot flashes and may also help with night sweats. In one study, vitamin E therapy reduced the severity of hot flashes and their intensity [4].*

Vitamin C

Foods with vitamin C

One study reported that a combination of 200 mg of vitamin C and 200 mg of  bioflavonoids six times daily helped to relieve hot flashes and night sweats for 88% of the women who participated, with 67% reporting “complete relief” of their symptoms [2].*  

Which Is Right for You?

Woman thinking

Each of these approaches to relief from night sweats are not exclusive. It is important to consider many things when deciding what is right for you. Some women may find that a combination of options, such as a healthier lifestyle along with supplements are the best and most effective option in dealing with their night sweats. 

Disclaimers:

You should always consult your health care provider before starting any herbal supplements or products.   *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References:

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16562-night-sweats-and-womens-health/possible-causes
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21870906
  3. http://americannutritionassociation.org/blog/ph-life/04_15_2012/magnesiummiracle-mineral
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17664882
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085555/
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