It’s one thing to be in the comfort of your own bed and wake up in a pool of sweat and another to be somewhere else. Many of us are traveling for celebrations and family reunions this holiday season, and it got me thinking about how to best to prepare for this especially if you normally struggle with night sweats.
One thing we can all agree upon is that night sweats aren’t fun. They can be a minor annoyance by disturbing your sleep or a major hassle if you have woken in a pool of sweat and not only have to change your clothes but the entire bedding as well.
Personally, night sweats were a bigger issue for me in the past, these days I know my trigger - alcohol. Some days I can enjoy a drink and not be bothered and on other occasions it gets me. In my case, it is a choice. I can say no to a drink and have a much greater chance of a great night's sleep but I can also choose to have that drink and I go to bed with the expectation of trouble and I can prepare for it. I know some of you will have also discovered your triggers and you have the same decision to make while the rest of you struggle not knowing why. Night sweats
Let’s start with the bedroom or whatever space you will be sleeping in. If you can control the temperature of the room you are at an advantage. If there isn’t an air-conditioner or a fan, can you open a window? You might need to pack a handheld fan and leave it by your bed. Most women who experience night sweats prefer to sleep in a cooler room and add blankets to their bed for warmth. Multiple thinner blankets are more helpful than one big thick quilt.
There are many different cooling mattress options like Chili sleep or eight sleep but these aren’t that easy to transport around, especially if you have limited luggage. It might be worth considering a Cool flash pad. These portable pads might be a better option and they come in 2 different sizes.
Can you pack some aromatherapy? There are a few different menopause blends out there or you may consider clary sage, lavender, sage, rosemary, or thyme. You probably won’t have a diffuser while away but you can consider adding a few drops to a bath or to a ball roller and your moisturising cream.
What are you wearing to bed? Nightwear should be lightweight, loose-fitting and quick-drying. Did you know there is night sweat-specific pajamas? Cool-jams and Dagsmejan are 2 such examples. A final note on nightwear is to rethink your underwear. Don’t laugh but I know a few women who wear bras to bed, seriously please don’t do this. It's not good from a heat perspective or for the health of your breasts.
Looking at beverages alcohol isn’t the only common triggering drink, so is coffee. Actually, some women struggle with any hot beverages. As I mentioned before that its a choice if you act on your triggers or not and for some of you this could be foods, not drinks. Common food triggers include spicy foods and sugary foods. Plus any individual food intolerances like gluten or dairy.
When bedtime rolls around don’t rush into bed. Think about how you can set yourself up for success. Some women find a warm shower or Epson salt bath a nice way to start this process. You may like a warm cup of sage tea. Sage is the specific herb for excessive perspiration.
A nighttime stretching routine can help. One nice stretch involves laying down on the floor, putting your legs up against the wall, arms stretched out wide, taking a few deep breaths, and relaxing on the floor. You can stay here for as little or as long as you like.
Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and breathwork are also good options. These can also be useful if you wake up during the night to help get you back to sleep.
During the night think cold and dark. If you are staying in a hotel room there are generally so many distracting lights. It’s worth covering up as many of these as possible. I know people who take black stickers with them to cover them up.
In the morning grab your journal out and consider how you went. Some women are surprised to find they slept better away from home. If this is you brainstorm why this might be. What’s triggering you at home? Maybe you have water damage or mould in your bedroom triggering the sweats. Pets, Dust, dust mites, or other allergens could be another problem. EMF, radiation, and dirty electricity are other possibilities.
There are things you can do during the day to help reduce your risk of night sweats in the evening. The first is daytime exercise, get up, go outside, see the sights, and exercise earlier. Avoid any strenuous exercise at the end of the day. While you are outside, take your shoes off and ground yourself. If this is a new idea you might like to read about the health benefits of earthing. But a quick explanation is to walk around barefoot for at least 30 minutes. It can be on the grass, the sand, or the dirty. It’s all about the direct contact with the earth that is important.
Last but not least don't forget to pack any prescribed medication and supplements. Going away doesn’t mean having a break from these. I can’t tell you the number of women I have consulted with who have come home from holidays worse than before they went as they forgot to pack these essentials.
Another essential is your CPAC machine if you need one. Sleep apnea is a major cause of nighttime sweating and disturbed sleep. If you have never tested for this and your family or friends complain of your snoring while away I highly recommend you get tested as soon as your get home. Unfortunately, sleep apnea is commonly diagnosed in women around midlife and if this is you, getting the right treatment can be life-changing. No more night sweats, better sleep, and more energy.