Night sweats are one of the most common menopause sleep problems. Three out of four menopausal women will suffer the effects of night sweats. You go to sleep fresh and comfortable only to wake in the middle of the night feeling cold and clammy, with bedding and nightwear drenched in sweat. It’s not only uncomfortable; but also a major disruption to your sleep.

What causes menopause night sweats?

During the menopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate. This can confuse the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature, which can lead it to believe that your body is overheating. The hypothalamus reacts quickly, albeit incorrectly, and gets to work cooling the body down. This includes dilating blood vessels to release heat and prompting sweat glands to perspire.

The body can go through this rigmarole at any time of the day or night. During the day, it is easier to manage. But at night, the end result is that you wake up cold, sweaty and with a racing heart. Menopause and sleep – for many women the two don’t seem to go together.

However, you can take steps both before and during your night’s sleep to help alleviate the effects of menopausal night sweats.

Getting ready for bed

Did you have a cup of tea or a glass of wine before bed? Many people do. However, caffeine and alcohol have been found to worsen the symptoms of sweating at night. Smoking tobacco is another major trigger, and there is also a link between eating spicy foods and menopausal night sweats. Not sure which of these could be triggers for you? Start keeping a diary to see if any patterns appear.

Yoga, or any other exercise that increases cardio-respiratory fitness, has been shown to help reduce menopausal symptoms, so try and factor this into your daily routine. It will not only help reduce your night sweats but will also be great for your overall health.

What’s more, losing weight can also be a benefit in overcoming night sweats in women, as overweight women are proven to suffer more hot flashes than slimmer women.

How do deal with hot flushes in bed

Relax. This may seem impossible when you find yourself sweaty and wide awake in the early hours of the morning, but some studies have shown that rhythmic deep breathing can help you get back to sleep. What’s more, relaxation breathing during the day has also been proven to help reduce your number of night sweat episodes.

Keep an atomiser at your bedside and spray your face with cool water when you start to overheat. Keep a glass of water handy too.

Create a cool and comfortable sleep environment

One of the best ways to alleviate menopause night sweats is to make sure you have a comfortable sleep environment. Wear loose pyjamas or nighties in light cotton or silk. Natural fibres will help your body breath, keeping you cooler in bed.

Layers are another great way of helping to regulate body temperature. Opt for a lighter duvet and then layer your bedding with wool blankets that you can discard easily when you start to overheat.

Wool bedding, including a wool mattress, wool mattress protector or topper, wool pillows and wool duvets, is a great way to keep your body at the right temperature. A natural fibre, wool is great at keeping you cool and wicking away moisture as you sleep.

Discover more about the cooling qualities of wool and how it can help with your menopause sleep problems. Read Menopause and Night Sweats for more information on why this natural fibre can help provide relief from sweating at night.