Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be highlighting 10 evening habits that could be making your night sweats worse.
One of the many things that I've learned over the years and years that I've been doing these videos and all the comments that women have been sending in is that sometimes, it's really simple things that we don't even think about that can make symptoms worse.
So, let's take a look at 10 really simple habits that you may be doing in the evening that could be making your night sweats worse:
1. Having a nightcap before bed or alcohol with your evening dinner
The problem with alcohol is that it revs up your nervous system and yes, very often, it helps you get off to sleep really easily but, after about three or four hours, alcohol creates chemicals in the brain that will wake you up really quickly. And that sudden wakening can either affect your nervous system, causing palpitations, which can then result in a night sweat, or it's just the shock of waking up that will produce the night sweat.
So, if you're having alcohol in the evening, don't have it just before bed. Don't have it on an empty stomach before your meal, and just really limit what you are drinking. The other thing is that sometimes it's the chemicals or the sweeteners and sugar in specific mixers that are revving up the nervous system, so if you are going to have alcohol, just make sure that it's really good quality.
2. Eating spicy food for dinner
Spicy foods are warming and stimulating, and they're going to rev up your nervous system. So, especially if you're eating these foods later in the evening, then as they are being digested, they may end up affecting your nervous system whilst you're asleep or trying to get to sleep, and this can trigger night sweats.
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3. Eating dinner later in the evening
So, this is a really late meal, maybe an hour or two before you go to bed. What happens here is your digestive system gets called into play just as you're trying to get off to sleep. The liver is also involved. And, again, the liver, when it's working, is an energiser, so that is possibly going to wake you up and may trigger a night sweat or two.
4. Going to bed hungry
This one is completely the opposite of number 3. I know: it sounds a bit mad, doesn't it? If you eat late on, it's going to trigger flushes and sweats, but if you go to bed hungry, that's going to trigger night sweats as well.
All that's happening here is if you're going to bed hungry, your blood sugar will dip in the middle of the night. This can often happen at about 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. That sudden dip in blood sugar will put your nervous system into a panic and that's going to cause the night sweats. And, very often, this one will be accompanied by palpitations as well.
So, one of the really important things here is to have a small snack before you go to bed. So, I'm not talking about anything big, but a protein and a fat snack can really help to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent night sweats.
So, you're looking at something maybe like an oat cake and nut butter. You might find some Greek yoghurt with some organic cocoa powder, or a few berries can be really good at keeping everything stable. Or if you have a little bit of a sweet tooth, I suggest having just two (no more) Medjool dates.
5. Having a bath or shower that's too hot before you go to bed
Now, a warm bath or shower can be really relaxing and can help you to sleep; but, if you have it too hot, and especially if you like to lie in a bath for about half an hour to relax, you're raising your core temperature, and that is quite possibly going to trigger hot flushes and sweats as you're trying to get off to sleep. So, make sure your water is not too hot if you are having a bath or shower before bed.
6. Wearing pyjamas made of synthetic materials
What kind of night clothes are you wearing? Are they made of man-made fibres? Because these tend to wrap round our body whilst we're sleeping, and if you start to get a little bit hot, it leaves no room for your skin to cool down.
If you're getting lots of night sweats, you're actually better sleeping with nothing on to allow your body to cool down much more easily. But if you feel that you need to wear something, make sure that it's natural fibre, such as cotton or bamboo. And bamboo is great because it actually helps to absorb sweat.
Remember too about your bed linen. Do you have artificial fibres in your duvet? Because they will really keep the heat in.
7. Going to bed dehydrated
This is another one that's going to rev up and cause panic in your nervous system and trigger night sweats. So, with this one, remember to have a little shot glass of warm water just before you jump into bed. This can help to prevent dehydration, but it's not going to put a lot of pressure on your bladder which is then going to wake you up in the middle of the night as well.
8. Doing intense exercise later in the evening
I know, for some people, the only time they can get to exercise is maybe 7, 8 or 9 o'clock at night. The problem here is although exercise is really good for you, all that activity late in the evening is going to rev up your nervous system, and that in itself can then result in night sweats or you waking up. Again, the body is just not calm enough to get a good night's sleep and that's going to result in your flushes and sweats too.
9. Watching or reading stimulating tv programs or books before going to bed
If you are watching or reading any horror movies, a horror book, thriller, or action movie before bed, you may be more prone to waking up with night sweats. This is because your nervous system very often can't differentiate between what's really happening to you and what you're perceiving through your eyes.
So that late-night film, or reading a book that's stimulating, will rev up your nervous system. And that, again, can trigger your night sweats and sometimes just stop you from getting off to sleep because your brain is in that mode of overactivity.
10. Not taking the time to relax and wind down in the evening
We're busy people and very often we are working into the evening, or if not with actual work, then we're maybe running round tidying up. We're doing housework. We're taking care of other members of the family. So, we can be going from activity to bed without any wind down at all.
So, your nervous system is all revved up and it's going to prevent you from sleeping well and also trigger night sweats.
For this one, give yourself at least half an hour to an hour to wind down. Don't have your TV, mobile phone, or tablet on, because the blue light from these devices can keep you awake.
Maybe do some deep breathing. And, again, if you are very anxious, if you've had a really, really stressful day, then consider doing 15 minutes of mindfulness or meditation before you go to bed. Very often, that can make all the difference, it calms the nervous system down, and you're less likely to get night sweats or flushes whilst you're trying to get to sleep.
What else can you do for night sweats?
You can try our licensed sage tablets, Menoforce. These are licensed for menopausal flushes and night sweats. If your night sweats are worse than your hot flushes, then I recommend taking these one-a-day tablets with your evening meal.
£15.99 (30 tablets) In Stock
So, hope this has been helpful to you. For any of you out there, any tips that you have found to be really, really helpful for your night sweats, please share them as always. I will certainly look forward to reading them.
And until then, I'll see you next time for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.