Help for night sweats and insomnia

Night sweats and insomnia are common symptoms of menopause. A night sweat is the same as a hot flash but it occurs at night while you are sleeping. Often times, the sweating is more severe than a regular hot flash. Many women wake up in the middle of a night sweat to find their pajamas, sheets and pillow drenched with sweat.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) will help to lessen the symptoms of night sweats and sleep disturbances (insomnia). However, not every woman is a good candidate for HRT. As a result, it is important for you and your doctor to find alternative ways to manage night sweats and sleep disturbances. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and check with her prior to beginning alternative treatments.

Below are some tips that I got from Rhonda Cravey who writes at Bella Online – The Voice of Women, which is an excellent resource for women.

• Use cotton sheets on your bed. The cotton will allow air to flow around your skin better than other fabrics. Cotton will also effectively absorb the moisture from the night sweat.
• Turn the temperature down on your thermostat. The room you are sleeping in needs to remain at a cool temperature. (I keep my on cold – which is hard on the electric bill during summers in Texas)
• Layer the covers on your bed. Ideally, you should have a sheet, light blanket, and heavy blanket. You can remove and add the covers as needed.
• Wear lightweight, cool clothes when sleeping. Avoid flannel pajamas and long night gowns.
• Take a cool shower prior to going to bed.
• Don’t drink caffeinated beverages right before you go to bed. The caffeine will make it difficult for you to go to sleep and stay asleep.
• Avoid alcoholic drinks prior to bedtime. You may fall asleep quickly but the alcohol will make it difficult for you to stay asleep.
• Avoid eating immediately prior to going to bed.
• Avoid exercising right before you go to bed. Exercising will increase your metabolism making it difficult for you to go to sleep.
• Try some relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
• Create and follow a bedtime routine. You might try reading or writing in a journal.
• Follow a diet with adequate portions of protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables and grains.

Menopause occurs when the ovaries start making less of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. This will cause changes in the menstrual cycle as well as other physical changes. Normally, menopause is a gradual process that occurs over several years as your body adjusts to the changes of decreased hormones. However, some cancer treatments will cause a woman to go into sudden menopause. These treatments include surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation or certain kinds of chemotherapy which cause the ovaries to become non-functional.

Night sweats and insomnia are common symptoms of menopause, so just remember that this too will go away.