The Night Sweats of Perimenopause

Night sweats can be caused by medication, an infection, or an underlying disease but they are particularly related to perimenopause when it occurs in conjunction with the other signs such as infrequent periods, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and insomnia.

This happens when estrogen and progesterone wax and wane to gradually disappear. Some theories vary and there is a need for more research but it’s been proven that estrogen is responsible for helping to regulate your body temperature by dispersing heat. Progesterone does the opposite, it keeps and hangs onto warmth.

So as estrogen decreases it’s not around to do its job in preserving a cool carcass. And if progesterone is left on it’s own it’s going to add kindling to a nice, slow burn.

No one has ever reported that their night sweats are enjoyable. It’s as horrible as having a strenuous nightmare or being jolted awake by a noisy neighbor.

Identification of This Brute

If you’re suddenly stirred and feeling your heart is racing, your body is a summertime inferno drenching you in a downpour of a heatwave, soaking you and your bed sheets, it’s probably night sweats.

These nocturnal hot flashes are not predictable and can be a complete surprise. Once this occurs a few times, the anxiety for it to happen again and again could be contributing to additional insomnia.

The Hydration Factor

Approximately 60% of the human body is water so just like a post-workout routine, if you’ve had an involuntary sweat session you should rehydrate as much as possible.

In fact, some women find that drinking cold water before going to bed helps to mitigate some of the intensity that can happen.

What Can You Do to Help Alleviate Night Sweats?

  1. Consume foods that contain phytoestrogens which are the plant form of estrogen.

These have been found to closely resemble the estrogen that your body makes on its own so it’s easily absorbed and highly adaptive.

While phytoestrogens can be found in herbs, vegetables, fruit, beans, bread, grains, and even coffee; the most potent source comes from soybeans which are also rich in antioxidants and they are a complete protein.  Here are some types that you might want to try:

Tofu

Is extremely mild with almost no flavor so the key is to incorporate spices and/or marinades. With 10g of protein it can be a meat replacement for a main dish or a snack. It can be consumed raw, baked, or fried and is both low in sodium, calories, and fat.

It’s also fairly inexpensive in comparison to other animal meats so you could save money by substituting this for a meatless option.

Tempeh

Different from tofu in that it’s made with fermented soybeans and combined with either a bean or rice which gives it a grainier texture and a nutty flavor. It is higher in carbs, fat, and calories than tofu though.

Whole Soybeans (aka Edamame)

You don’t have to naw on a pod, this sushi restaurant staple can be found in the frozen food section already shelled for you. Just follow the cooking instructions and they can easily be a snack, a side dish, or add them to a salad. They are high in protein and fiber too.

Miso

A fermented soybean paste that is most popular as a soup but it can be used as a marinade, dressing, or sauce as well. It can be high in sodium though so be sure to check the label or look for a reduced sodium version.

Soy milk

Adding this to your morning coffee may not make a huge difference. But using it for smoothies, cereal, sauces, or purchase it as yogurt can get you to an ample dose. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated so taking it on the go is no cumbersome.

If you have an allergy to soy products, you still have options. These items are also a type of phytoestrogen:

If you have a restrictive diet you can also try these medicinal herbs:

  • Red clover
  • Black cohosh
  • Hops
  • Licorice
  • Turmeric
  1. Minimize spicy foods especially at night. 
  1. Avoid alcohol.
  1. Cut down on caffeine.

This stimulant stays in your system 3-5 hours after it’s consumed so consider reducing the amount and limiting it to the mornings only. A regular nap can boost your afternoon slump instead.

  1. Keep your bedroom dark and around 65 degrees.

If your partner is freezing, consider using a fan or a cooling pillow. If you find the heaviness of a duvet or comforter to be soothing, then consider investing in a weighted blanket but make sure that too will not trap heat.

  1. Do not wear tight, constrictive clothing.

Any garments should be light and loose and breathable fabrics are best.

  1. Quit smoking.
  1. Workout daily but not too close to bedtime. 

Exercise still plays a crucial role as it will keep you at a healthy weight and it aids in falling and staying asleep.

  1. Reduce stress as much as possible.

If you’re still hot-headed and stewing about your morning meeting try a restorative yoga class or a guided meditation. Your temper has a direct influence on triggering a flare-up.

  1. Take a cool shower before bed.
Do not take a hot bath or drink hot beverages. If you’re taking an herbal tea to help you snooze, let it cool to room temperature before consuming.