By request, this week we’re talking about menopause-related night sweats. The request I had was this:
Q: I don’t want to take pills or do hormone stuff but I can’t sleep, I toss and turn and wake up sweating. What can I try?
I did some digging and this is what I found.
1) Avoid stimulants. That’s anything with caffeine, such as sodas, coffee (ahem) or teas. But stimulants can also be white sugar, alcohol and acidic foods such as pickle
s and tomatoes.
2) Avoid hot foods. This may seem intuitive, but avoid eating or drinking hot foods in the hours before bed (or if you have daytime hot flashes, avoid hot stuff all the time). Also beware of anything spicy.
3) Related to #2, avoid hot stuff. I’m talking about intense exercise, hot showers or baths, romps with your loved one, stress and unresolved anger. We forget that emotions have a great effect on our bodies and minds, so an
y heated emotions (anger, lust, greed, fear, etc) can heat the body from the inside out, making it hard to cool down. You could also try keeping your home at a lower temperature (I even have night sweats in that house!)
4) Move. Exercise is great for the body, especially to ensure fluids are moving about the body. While exercise is good, be careful of too much sweating, as this could increase your core temperature. Play around with how exercise helps or hinders your night sweats. You could try exercising in the morning rather than evening, or toning it down a bit.
5) Chill out! (Pun intended). Many believe night sweats to be a byproduct of stress. I would probably include this in any article, but taking time each day to meditate, do mindful yoga, deep breathing, guided imagery or other mind-pacifying activities could help learn to control stress and keep an even keel. Even if you don’t think you’re stressed, you most likely are. It’s the culture we live in.
6) Add flax to your diet. One study found 40 grams per day to be the recommended serving size. The study had successful results. I recommend buying the whole seeds and a small coffee grinder and grind the seeds. However, this isn’t practical for many so buying a pure oil extract or pre-ground flax seeds are good options too. Any natural health store would have flax seeds. I know what you’re going to ask: What do I do with it? Flax seeds are tasteless (I think) so sprinkle some over oatmeal, into shakes, or you could do whole seeds on salads. You can really put it on anything.
Herbal or Natural Remedies:
1) Black cohash. I have seen this mentioned in many places and apparently, clinical trials have found it to be helpful in treatment hot flashes, night sweats and symptoms that accompany menopause.
2) Acupuncture. I believe acupuncture is good for just about everything. It won’t hurt you, so it’s worth a shot.
3) Sage. I knew of the cleansing power of sage, but never heard of it for menopausal symptoms. It appeared in several places and one anecodatal piece said sage was all the woman needed and it only took a week for her to feel better. She took a capsule once daily. Again, a health food store would carry this.
4) Vitamin E. Studies recommend between 50 and 500 IU taken daily (one study had good results off of 400 IU). You can find capsules at probably any pharmacy or health store since Vitamin E is a common vitamin. Studies found Vitamin E to be helpful against hot flashes.
5) Apple cider vinegar. Seriously what doesn’t this stuff do! Go to your health food store again to get this stuff, rather than the typical supermarket stuff. You want organic and make sure it’s unfiltered or unprocessed. It will probably be cloudy in the jar – don’t worry, that’s normal. It looks like 2 tablespoons in the morning and at night are the recommended dosage. Again, this stuff won’t hurt you (unless you’re allergic to apple or can’t handle fermented stuff) so try it and see. You will probably not like the taste, so you can “chase” it with food or drink lots of water to dilute it.
There you have it. Six lifestyle things to consider and five different natural options, one requiring a practitioner and four simple supplements/vitamins to add to your daily routine. This is a new topic for me so I’m interested in hearing what has worked for others. Do not feel shame about your night sweats, let’s talk about it!