After my first night sweat, I honestly thought that someone had poured a bucket of water all over me.
I remember getting out of bed and literally dripping as if I’d just gotten out of a pool. I was sweating between my breasts, all the way down my back and my legs. The bed sheets were completely soaked and so I had to wake my partner, change the sheets, change my pyjamas, towel myself down and get back into bed. By the time I had done all that, I was wide awake! Night after night after night, I went through the same routine and after a few weeks I was absolutely shattered. Lack of sleep can really affect your moods and as our hormone levels are already in flux it just makes everything much worse.
What Causes Night Sweats?
For some reason, the hypothalamus – the area of the brain that acts like a thermostat and regulates body temperature – starts to act up. The fall in estrogen tricks your brain into thinking that your body is overheating. So, the body does what it always does when you’re too hot: your blood vessels dilate to release heat, your sweat glands go into overdrive, your skin starts turning red and you sweat profusely leaving you to wake up in a chilled sweat.
My Top Tips
If you suffer with night sweats, one of the best things to do is to deal with it and be ready. That whole cycle of waking up, changing your sheets and getting back into bed can leave you in a real state. I would suggest buying a flannel nightie that will soak up the moisture while you sleep. Have a fresh one next to your bed along with a towel ready for when you eventually wake up. That will shorten the amount of time it takes to get out of bed and back in; the less time you spend awake the easier it will be to fall back to sleep.
Sleep with a wool duvet
Sleep with a wool duvet and keep away from down. Not only is it better for you but PETA have exposed just how poorly the birds are treated on down farms. You can view their report here.
Take a vitamin supplement
Replenish your system with some much needed vitamins.
Avoid sugary foods
Sugar has a direct impact on our hormone levels, particularly insulin which is closely connected to estrogen and testosterone. If hormone levels are already in flux, eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice and bread will send them into overdrive and that is the last thing you need.
As our hormone levels are unstable, we can sometimes feel very low to the point of anxiety and depression. In my case, it became so bad that I didn’t want to leave the house. This is when alcohol can become a crutch as alcohol consumption is closely linked to serotonin production and when you drink, your symptoms seem to disappear and you feel on top on the world. But all those negative emotions come flooding back the next morning; not to mention the effects of a hangover as the liver has to work overtime. Your body is already coping with a lot and this becomes yet another thing that it has to deal with.
Roll with it
My night sweats subsided after I started taking HRT but it didn’t mark the end. Last year alone, I had at least 3 spates of 4 or 5 days where I had non-stop night sweats. The most important thing for me was having a positive attitude. If you’re struggling with night sweats, try not to get angry or annoyed or in a tizz. I have a tattoo on my chest with my favourite quote: “This too shall pass”. Like everything else, the less you worry or think about something the less it will affect you. Staying positive and remembering that it wasn’t going to last forever really helped me.