Tips on how to sleep with hot flashes can be used for hot days too.
What triggers hot flashes?
Most people think that hot flashes only happen to those experiencing menopause, but that’s not the only reason hot flashes happen.
The sweats come on suddenly, which causes a feeling of being warm, sometimes going red in the face. They start when the blood vessels near the skin surface begin to widen to cool down, but as a result of doing so, they make our bodies break out into a sweat.
When they happen at night while you’re trying to sleep, they are called night sweats. They wake you up and make it difficult to get a good rest for the next day.
There are also other risk factors involved, such as:
- Disease/Illness – can happen to men or women, take, for instance, I have something called neuroendocrine tumors which secretes a hormone into my body which causes me to have hot flashes
- Obesity – being overweight is also another reason people experience hot flashes
- Menopause – mainly affects women from their 40s up to about the age of 60
- Anxiety – this can affect anyone. People who experience anxiety are prone to sweat breakouts. Why? Because anxiety causes their heart rate to go up, which then triggers the sweat response.
What are the complications of experiencing hot flashes at night?
Sometimes night sweats can cause chronic insomnia. Hot flashes are even linked to increased risk of heart disease as well as bone loss.
Because I experienced them so often due to cancer/menopause, I’ve had to find ways to overcome them because I have young children at home. No matter what or how I feel, I still have to get up the next day and act like nothing is wrong.
Most of these tips I’ve tried at home, and to the degree, they all work. Sometimes you will have to visit your Doctor.
Avoid Spicy Food
Growing up in an Indian family, I love eating spicy food. But boy, do I pay for it when I go to bed.
Heck, even ground black peppers bring on the sweats at night.
Spicy food usually involves peppers that have a chemical called capsaicin that triggers our nerves, which makes our body feel warmer. The only way the body can cool down is when it sweats.
Food-related sweating is not only embarrassing, but it can also be comfortable when trying to get a good night to sleep, especially if your experiencing menopause or even perimenopause or any other types of hot flashes.
Keep Your Room Well Ventilated
The hot, stuffy room will make it impossible to sleep. Especially if your suffering night sweats. What I find bothers me the most when my room hasn’t been adequately ventilated is I get an itch all over my body.
Other times I can even experience headaches or tiredness. Your room is supposed to be the most relaxing place for you. It’s your sanctuary where you can go and rest.
Ideally, you want to have a room that will enhance a more cooling temperature rather than bringing in heat.
There are 3 benefits you gain from having a well-ventilated room, and they are:
- Regulating air –means you can have control of the airflow that comes into your room
- Impurity control – means you will be able to expel pollutants, bacteria, moistures as well as smelly body orders coming from outside.
- Lower temperature – usually our rooms are a confined space, but by having a ventilated room you instantly feel more comfortable – making sleep that much easier
While there is no denying that fresh air is essential to our living. But people who experience hot flashes clearly need to have their room filled with ventilated air. Air that is ventilated poorly, unfortunately, does nothing for us. It exacerbates our symptoms to a much higher degree.
Turn On Your Fan
Of course, this one is just a given. If you have a fan and turn it on, you’re doing yourself no favors when the fan just sits there.
Even though the fan does not make the room cooler, by moving air over your skin, it helps lower the temperature of your body.
Having a good quality fan can make all the difference in how the airflow cools you down. Modern fans are quite well designed; their aerodynamics have improved significantly from before.
The best thing that I find is creating a crosswind. This works really well when the sunsets. This is perfect because this is around the time when we start preparing for bed anyways.
What you will need are two standard fans. You will need to open one of your windows in your room. In front of the open window, you place one fan facing out of the window. The second fan needs to face inwards in front of the same open window.
So what you’re mostly doing is pushing hot air out while pulling in the fresh air — an impressive one-two punch to keep your body cool.
Have a Cold Shower
When we’re sweaty, not only is it uncomfortable, but we feel sticky as well. Our bodies are continually striving to maintain temperature.
To maintain the temperature, we perspire. Sadly some people may be undergoing medical conditions, which means they will sweat more than usual, which creates that uncomfortable sticky feeling. This then hinders our sleep, which then creates the anxiety.
Are you someone who deals with anxious thoughts? If so, then read my post on how to sleep better when you have anxiety.
Our body has sensors that monitor the core body temperature. From a physiological view, core temperature is precisely what our body tries to regulate.
A cold shower may provide that regulation of temperature that we need when trying to sleep at night.
Use the Old Icebox Trick
The old icebox trick has been used for many years. The nice thing about it is that it is still in use now, and it still works.
You’ll need to use the standard fan which you can have sitting on a desktop. In front of the fan place a bucket full of ice.
By turning your fan on it will hit the bucketful of ice which will then bring a cool breeze to you. You can even place a wet washcloth over the fan, which will mostly do the same thing.
This won’t be very pretty, but it will help you stay cool. But remember to keep one window open so hot air can escape.
Unplug All Unnecessary Electronics
Did you know that electronics when plugged in create heat?
I especially like to go on my iPad at night, but the plug usually heats up as it’s charging my iPad.
This heat gets distributed into the room; thus, my room gets warmer.
What I do these days is I unplug all unnecessary electronics, which means charging my iPad before going to bed. This way, I don’t have to have it plugged in while I’m browsing the Internet.
Many of us have our laptops, radios, phone chargers, and whatever other gadgets we use daily, plugged in. Most times, these gadgets are in our rooms.
Can you imagine all the heat that gets created when they are all plugged in?
Even when a wire is plugged into the wall, and is charging nothing -means no electronic is attached- heat is still being released.
Unplug those wires if they are not in use.
Wear Loose Clothing to Bed
Having loose, comfortable clothing is the best thing you can do for yourself. There are some people who like to sleep in the nude. Become one of those if you have to.
Whatever makes you comfortable, choose that option!
By wearing loose, comfortable clothing, you allow a breeze to get in to touch your body gently. By allowing the breeze to touch your body, you maintain a pleasantly cool temperature.
In fact, skintight clothing can sometimes even hinder your health. By wearing constricting clothing, you prevent circulation from taking place. These types of clothing can also make it harder to breathe.
- Tank tops
- Booty shorts
- Spandex negligee
While some may enjoy the look and feel of these items, you’re actually posing a health risk to yourself.
Our skin needs to breathe, especially if night sweats are happening. Preventing our skin from breathing means we prevent the sweat from escaping. By preventing the sweat from escaping our body temperature remains high.
Wearing binding clothing has also been linked to the prevention of melatonin, a critical hormone which helps us to regulate our sleep cycles.
Do you need extra assistance with regulating your sleep cycle? Read my post on home remedies for a good night sleep, and you may even find more help their when suffering night sweats.
Buy Bed Cooling Sheets
Considering that the ideal situation is to have a nice cool room, you may be interested in our post about the best sheets for people who sweat.
These sheets can help the sweatiest sleeper wake up feeling refreshed. They are made of breathable, natural fibers, help prevent perspiration as well as use fabrics which move sweat away from your body as it produces it.
This will help you to stay dry throughout the night. Waking up constantly throughout the night can throw off a healthy sleep cycle, which will end up messing with your overall healthy living.
My final thoughts on how to sleep with hot flashes
As I stated above, hot flashes are not only limited to women who are experiencing menopause or perimenopause; they also affect people who are experiencing illness/disease or other unknown conditions.
When heat affects us at night, it can be the most disturbing thing — especially considering that we need to sleep in a very cool environment.
Sometimes our body doesn’t even want to cooperate with the cool climate. That’s the reason why we physically have to create our own cool environment.
Getting a good night’s sleep affects everything we do.
Let me know in the comments below how you stop yourself from overheating at night.
Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name.
One of my main issues is sleeping, so I’m always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I’m more than happy to share them with you.
My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed.
The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.