This article was written by Dr Jana Pittman for the launch of ModiCool™ Sleepwear.
Night sweats… oh gosh have I been plagued with them. For me, it has mostly been during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The hormone shifts have left me slipping around beneath my sheets, my heart racing, all hot and heavy, and not for a good reason! The daily washing of bed sheets, the sleepless nights and feeling parched in the morning really plays havoc with your mood and well-being.
So, when do night sweats occur?
Things like where we live, our weight and the environment we live in, may all contribute to night sweating. Hot days, humid nights, spicy meals, and exercise later in the evening can keep your core temperature higher causing your body to activate its own internal cooling system… sweat!
We have sweat glands all over our body, but certain areas contain more, like our armpits and feet which is why those areas get extra clammy. It is predominately water that comes out onto your skin and as it evaporates has a cooling effect on your body.
What might surprise you is that it is not just during menopause that people are plagued with night sweats, although this is a very common symptom of that time. Any shift in your hormones or internal thermal regulation can cause fluctuating increases in your body temperature. Pregnancy, post-partum, and ovulation have all been linked!
Why do they happen?
Well like with menopause, there seems to be a link between a drop in estrogen and these nightly bothersome unwanted body bathes. While the science is still evolving, it appears there is a link between estrogen and the hypothalamus, the part of our brain that is involved with thermoregulation (heat regulatory centre).
During your menstrual cycle, just after ovulation and at the end of your cycle right before your period comes, the estrogen levels are at their lowest, so this might be when you experience night sweats. During pregnancy, night sweats are more common in the first trimester and after 30 weeks. After you have your baby, many women report a block of nights where their body sweats profusely but often after that, they feel better, again it’s mostly hormonally driven.
What about ways to reduce my sweating?
Light-fitting, loose and comfortable nightwear is key! Good antiperspirants help and cold cool night cloths next to the bed can help if you are struggling to sleep. Hence the ModiCool™ Sleep Set and Pillowcase are a perfect addition to your bedroom. It helps regulate body temperature, cooling the skin before you sweat, and absorbing any that sneaks through. A room fan, open windows, or air conditioning plus light bedding helps too. If you can pinpoint it to something like menopause, go and see your GP or a gynaecologist who can look at both non-hormonal and hormonal options to suit you. It is also really important to leave some water next to the bed as your body can easily become dehydrated!
What about other more serious causes?
Well, night sweats or any excessive sweating can also be from other causes. Some of which warrant a trip to your doctor. Several medications have been linked to night sweats like some anti-depressants and anti-hypertensives. We also know that your body will sweat if there is an infection (bacterial or viral) and it can be associated with more chronic health conditions like an overactive thyroid. We also know it can be associated with some cancers.
So, if you are worried and you can’t find a cause I strongly encourage you to pop over to your local doctor to rule out any more serious concerns.
Ready for a cooler night's sleep? Check out our new limited edition sleepwear range today.