If you’re having hot flashes at night, it’s likely that you are also missing out on quality sleep. Not getting a good night’s rest can put a damper on your enthusiasm for life and can make you downright miserable. Not to mention that hot flashes just suck.
First, I’ll share what I did for instant relief that allowed me to start sleeping peacefully again, sweat-free, and then I’ll dive a bit deeper into some ideas to lessen the severity of symptoms.
As always, check with your healthcare provider before making any lifestyle changes to manage symptoms of menopause.
How to Eliminate Hot Flashes During Sleep (Night Sweats)
Hot flashes are a vasomotor symptom. Vasomotor refers to actions upon a blood vessel. Vasomotor instability is an imbalance between the hypothalamus and ovaries. Once you begin ovulating, eggs are released each month. After you release the last, you enter menopause.
Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), or hot flashes and night sweats, are often considered the cardinal symptoms of menopause.
For night sweats or hot flashes while you are sleeping there is one solution that rises above the rest. It helped me from the very first night I used it. I’m still using this method to get a good night’s sleep nearly two years later. In addition, my mom and several friends tried my suggestion and everyone reports the same success.
So what did we do?
You might have guessed already, but dropping your body temperature while you sleep is a natural and easy treatment option for eliminating night sweats.
I had already tried reducing the thermostat in my home, but it wasn’t enough, plus everyone else complained of being cold. Since I didn’t want everyone to be miserable, and because it wasn’t actually doing the job, I started looking for an alternative way to keep cool.
That’s when I found a hydroponic mattress pad that would allow me to cool the temperature in my bed to a delicious 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Problem solved.
Banish Night Sweats
I first started experiencing night sweats and hot flashes around age forty-five. Thankfully, I learned to manage them quickly. I cherish my sleep above all else, so waking because of being too hot is out of the question.
The best solution I found for combating night sweats, was using a hydroponic mattress pad to keep cool at night. Once I added this to my mattress, I slept through the night without waking up to throw off the covers or turn on a fan.
Even though I’d have hot flashes at night, I still wanted to get into a warm, cozy bed when I first got sleepy. I have found that turning the temperature on my mattress pad up thirty minutes before I go to bed works for crawling into a warm bed. Then, as soon as I am ready to fall asleep, I turn the temperature down to 55 degrees. This has worked perfectly for helping my body get the deep sleep it needs and banished night sweats.
At 50, most of the common symptoms of perimenopause have passed, although I still have not hit full menopause.
Menopausal symptoms are manageable with a bit of ingenuity, I have found. Naturally, I wanted to find the healthiest way to deal with all the symptoms I experienced.
Use a Hydroponic Mattress Pad to Keep Your Cool
Sleeping on a chilipad has changed my life! Just like that, I was back to sleeping through the night, waking up rested (and not drenched in sweat!)
So what is a hydroponic mattress pad?
Looking at the system on my bed, you’d think it was an ordinary mattress pad. However, the difference is that coiled up and down the length of the pad, sandwiched between material, are tubes in which cooled water runs.
How I use the mattress pad, is simple. Before I go to sleep, I turn the temperature down to about 62-65 degrees. All night long, I sleep comfortably, never overheating or sweating.
In the winter, when it’s cold outside, I may turn the temperature on the unit up to warm my bed before I climb in, but I always turn the temperature down before I fall asleep. Your body automatically drops in temperature while sleeping and it is a signal for you to enter deep sleep. The restorative type of sleep, the one in which your body does the important work of detoxification.
So What You’re Saying is Stay in Bed all Day?
Of course, this solution is perfect for getting better sleep and alleviating hot flashes at night, but what do I do to help reduce hot flashes during the day? Surprisingly, getting better sleep and staying cool at night seems to have reduced my daytime occurrences.
My functional medicine practitioner has helped me immensely by suggesting the right foods, supplements, and testing my hormones to see where things are. Here’s some information that will help you evaluate your treatment of hot flashes.
Women’s Health During Midlife
Menopause is a given and can occur anytime during the late forties or early fifties. Hot flashes can occur as early as your early forties even if you are still having your menstrual cycle. This period of time can be a bit confusing, especially if you don’t know what to expect.
Complicating matters is that what you hear from other women who have gone through menopause may vary greatly from your own experience. So what is menopause?
Menopause technically lasts only one day. That is the first day after you’ve gone for one year without a period. Although, perimenopause can last between two and eight years, with the average landing around 4 years. (1)
Perimenopause can have a negative impact the quality of life, so it’s important to have a plan that will help you feel and look your best. Take care of your health to lessen these symptoms. Make sure you:
- have proper blood tests done
- go to a naturopath for advice
- do your own research!
One connection that I’ve found is interesting is between these symptoms and the adrenals.
The Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue and Hot Flashes
Some women experience adrenal fatigue. Actually, it is quite common and once the adrenals become exhausted they are hard to repair. Some doctors don’t even believe worn-out adrenals exist, in the mistaken belief that they either work or they don’t.
Have adrenal fatigue makes you feel utterly exhausted and your body feels like it’s aging in hyperspeed. Getting anything done is more work than if you had healthy adrenals.
The adrenal gland produces hormones in smaller amounts and is the backup to the ovaries. Therefore a weakness in the adrenal glands can also cause the menopause symptoms to appear.
This is where the interesting connection came in for me. I found this out because during my forties I had adrenal fatigue and my cortisol levels dropped to almost nonexistent. I had been diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal exhaustion. As I learned to treat my adrenal fatigue, my hot flashes began to disappear.
Lesson learned! Support your adrenal gland and you will have fewer and less severe hot flashes.
Adrenal Fatigue may cause some or all of these symptoms:
- Asthma, allergies or respiratory complaints
- Cravings for salt or salty foods
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Dry skin, dry scalp
- Extreme tiredness an hour after exercise
- Fatigue that lasts all day
- Frequent urination
- Inability to handle stress
- Joint pain
- Lines in your fingertips
- Loss of muscle tone
- Low blood pressure
- A drop in blood sugar
- Low sex drive
- Lower back pain
- Numbness in your fingers / Poor circulation
- Thyroid disease
- Weight gain (and inability to lose weight despite reasonable efforts)
Perimenopause and Hot Flashes
There’s enough going on in your forties, but here comes perimenopause just adding more to your plate. During this time, it’s important to practice self-care and I don’t mean going to the spa – I’m talking about avoiding bad stress and using good stress.
Depending on the severity of hot flashes you may need to work on eliminating them from various angles.
Bad Stress That Can Make Perminopause Worse
- working too hard
- staying up all night
- eating foods that are bad for you (processed foods, junk food, fast food)
- drinking too much alcohol
- eating sugar
- Bluelight late at night
Good Stress that Can Help with Perimenopause
- cold shower
- infrared sauna
- intermittent fasting (not with adrenal fatigue though!)
- exercise (yoga, tai chi, as well as weight-bearing exercises)
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many women hear and read a lot about estrogen levels, so they may be mainly focused on those, but without enough progesterone, you may experience a lot of uncomfortable symptoms.
During menopause, you have a severe drop of progesterone in relation to estrogen. This is why it helps to have your hormone levels checked. Progesterone is needed to produce some of the other hormones like cortisol, estrogen, as it’s a pre-hormone.
In addition, progesterone helps the adrenal gland produce an anti-stress hormone. Lack of progesterone causes extra weight, bad memory, insomnia, decreased libido, and irritability The hormone progesterone has a calming effect, so it can help you to sleep better, especially when taken at night.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is sometimes used to reduce symptoms. Your gynecologist may prescribe bio-identical hormones or other hormone therapy, make sure you ask when and how to take it. Sometimes estrogen is combined with Hyaluronic Acid to improve atrophic vaginitis. (Painful sex, dryness.)
There are man delivery methods including pellets injected into the body, capsules, creams, troches, etc. So if one method doesn’t work, ask to change it up.
HRT can bypass some symptoms of menopause temporarily, although it’s always better to treat the problem, not just the symptoms. HRT can come with side effects that can be as unpleasant as the symptoms. Ask questions, ask if there are alternatives you can turn to as an effective treatment
If you’ve had a hysterectomy, you may already be using low-dose hormones to replace what your body can’t make. Without some estrogen, you could be at risk for osteoporosis later in life.
How to Stop Hot Flashes without HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
Women have turned to Hormone Replacement Therapy for years to alleviate the symptoms of perimenopause. Whether synthetic or bio-identical, it is your health, so make an informed decision. Postmenopausal women who use hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) containing oestrogen alone are at increased risk of endometrial cancer.
Because of the increased risk of breast cancer with estrogen-only hormone therapy, some women choose to avoid using HRT.
Foods that Help with Menopause or other Hormonal Issues
- Flaxseed – bind to xenoestrogens (in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics) and eliminate them gives bulk and lubrication to the gut and it’s an excellent food for breast health as well
- Collagen or Bone Broth – Helps with dry skin which is a symptom of low levels of certain hormones, improves joint health, improves connective tissue. Collagen and bone broth helps to support healthy bones, skin, hair, and nails.
- Fermented foods – Drinking kefir, eating yogurt and other fermented dairy and vegetables help balance hormones. Raw sheep or goat cheese are a good source of probiotics. Sauerkraut, kimchi, naturally fermented pickles, and other vegetables. Miso, natto, tempeh in smaller amounts can be helpful. They also are so good for gut health as well.
- Sprouts – Broccoli sprouts and clover sprouts help block environmental estrogen blockers. They contribute to reducing menopausal symptoms.
- Medicinal Mushrooms – Reishi and Cordyceps are excellent choices for hormonal Boosts your internal energy I added this in the “food” section, but I take them in a supplement form. Especially good for energizing your body
How to Stop Hot Flashes Naturally
Hot flashes don’t just occur at night! Beyond night sweats, you may experience hot flashes during the day, especially after eating spicy foods or drinking a hot beverage.
- Caffeine can also trigger hot flashes. (Hasn’t made me give up coffee though.)
- Spicy foods may trigger hot flashes, therefore avoiding overly spicy foods can help.
- Alcohol can cause some women to experience more hot flashes (I’m fine skipping it!)
- Practice self-care (get exercise, good sleep, supplement what your body needs)
- Lower blood pressure with diet and exercise and proper sleep hygiene.
- Deep breathing exercises can help. Try two 15 minute practice sessions of paced breathing. If you’re not sure how, search YouTube for instructional videos.
- Stress reduction techniques such as massage, biofeedback, meditation or yoga.
Other tips for stopping hot flashes fast
I’ve tried to stick to natural methods and found that by practicing some relaxation techniques, drinking plenty of water, and adding some superfoods to my diet, I was able to control them.
Some quick relief tips for hot flashes:
- Using an ice pack (or several)
- Drinking iced beverages (preferably not sugary ones though!)
- A drop of peppermint essential oil in with your lotion – only a drop!
Stop hot flashes fast
Proceed with caution! I do not say this lightly because essential oils are powerful. One time, after a taekwondo class where the instructor made us do sets of burpees, I was particularly hot. A cold shower definitely helped me to cool down, but then I decided to take it a step further! My plan was to head off any sore muscles before they started.
Y’all, I took a tube of Deep Blue from Doterra and I rubbed it all over my legs, arms, back, and abdomen. Within minutes I was freezing cold. I was cold in a way that couldn’t be cured haha. This lasted for a few hours, to the point where I got in my bed and turned the temperature up as high as it would go on my chiliPAD. I piled on several blankets and could not get warm!
Eventually, of course, the sensation went away and I’ve never overdosed on Deep Blue again. However, I did learn a neat little trick. I mix a small amount of deep blue with a plain lotion or coconut oil to get a milder cooling effect that will stop hot flashes fast.
Again, I do not recommend applying a large amount of Deep Blue to your body at one time. This goes for overusing any and all essential oils! That can be very dangerous. Oils are plant medicine and should be used with extreme caution.
What are other symptoms of Menopause
Weight gain is another complaint women have during menopause. Following a Ketogenic diet has helped me
- blood clots
- women’s health
- vaginal dryness
- Mood swings are another symptom you may notice during pre-menopause or perimenopause
Alternative therapies for menopause
Prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies can be useful, but can also come with side effects. Antidepressants such as Paxil or Wellbutrin are often prescribed during menopause before alternative therapies are tried.
You may consider asking your health care provider what natural or alternative therapies they recommend for your specific symptoms.
Here are some common therapies a functional medicine doctor or holistic healthcare provider may recommend:
- acupuncture – ” Acupuncture for menopausal symptoms is a realistic option for women who cannot, or do not wish to use [HRT…and is] linked to reductions in hot flushes, sweating, mood swings, sleep disturbance, skin and hair problems.” (2)
- black cohosh (tea or supplements) can help to balance your mood and reduce hot flashes
- digestive enzymes can help your body assimilate nutrients from your food, particularly if you have gas and bloating
- Dong Quai – used a lot in TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) helps balance hormone levels, improves the libido, brings energy to the body
- Wild Yam – commonly used to relieve hot flashes.
- Red Clover – has blood-thinning properties and is thought to reduce symptoms due to isoflavones.
- Vitex – a powerful botanical that has been shown to raise progesterone levels so it helps to reduce hot flashes
- Licorice is another herb that is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Keep in mind the FDA does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products, so it is best to ask the company for proof that the product is non-GMO, organic, processed with high heat, quality controlled, come with a guarantee, or have any published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Common Supplements Recommended to Balance Hormones and Age Well
Women experience different menopause symptoms so do some research and find what works for you. Your hormone levels, whether or not you still have your menstrual period, and your overall wellness are all factors at play.
Work with someone who has experience in women’s health and can help you come up with a personalized treatment plan.
- ashwagandha root powder for adrenal health
- probiotic and prebiotic (slippery elm bark is an excellent prebiotic, yogurt is full of probiotics) – repair gut through everyday foods and what you eat
- maca root – makes a difference in your hormones (I took half a teaspoon every day for 2 weeks on and then took 2 weeks off – it’s important not to take too much and to have a break from it sometimes. So what I did was to take a break on days 1-14, then used it on days 15-28, which helped to reduce hot flashes.)
- Vitamin D with K2 if you are deficient you may experience mood swings, or even be on antidepressants, most of us need more,
- spirulina blue-green algae give you energy, balances hormones it has protein, and – try making moon milk with it!
- Vitamin E – In a double-blind study, vitamin E was found to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. (3)
- Magnesium – most people are deficient, in particular women – a deficiency can cause us to be tired and also causes insomnia. Use topically and orally. Magnesium oil rubbed on the feet. Magnesium body butter, soaking feet in magnesium flakes, mix magnesium oil with essential oil
- Wild Yam extract seems to improve the symptoms of low-progesterone – it doesn’t contain the hormone but it somehow mimics the effect of wild yam and it’s better to apply it to a fattier area of the body so it is absorbed a bit more
- Boron a mineral that helps build bone and is good for balancing hormones.
- Powdered Collagen two scoops in my coffee every day to help with bones, skin, hair, and nails
- Glucosamine, MSM, is great for joints and keeps cartilage healthy
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Evening Primrose oil, EPA/Borage oil
- Rhodiola – adaptogen that helps adrenals
- Panax Ginseng (or Korean Ginseng) – reduces severity and frequency
- vitamin b 12 helps with falling and staying asleep – a deficiency can leave you feeling fatigued but not able to sleep.
If you struggle with weight loss, hot flashes at night, or any combination of the symptoms above, have your hormones checked and work on getting them in proper balance. Read the book The Women’s Guide to Hormonal Harmony, and get yourself a chilipad!
National Institutes for Health Paramsothy, Pangaja et al. “Duration of the menopausal transition is longer in women with young age at onset: the multiethnic Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.” Menopause (New York, N.Y.) vol. 24,2 (2017): 142-149. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000736 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5266650/
Research: Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study) DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023637
Journal: BMJ Open
Ziaei S, Kazemnejad A, Zareai M. The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2007;64(4):204-7. doi: 10.1159/000106491. Epub 2007 Jul 30. PMID: 17664882.
menopause.org and The North American Menopause Society