5 Tips for Dealing with Hot Flashes
Ever wonder why you get hot flashes when you go to bed or why they can get worse at night? This can be especially frustrating when it ruins your sleep in a matter of minutes. A weighted blanket, especially a chunky knit one with breathable fabric, might be exactly what you’re looking for!
You can curb frequent hot flashes by exercising, avoiding smoking, keeping a consistent nighttime routine and by being aware of your diet.
Try turning down the AC in the room to give you the best conditions to fall back to sleep
Using the right bedding is key to avoiding hot flashes. Wearing airy and loose clothing and using a breathable weighted blanket can help you find some peace of mind.
Did you know?
More than two-thirds of North American women who are heading into menopause have hot flashes.
Hot flashes affect more than 80% of menopausal women each year, and they aren’t the only ones. People in all situations can have their sleep ruined by sudden spells of flushed and sweaty skin. Fortunately, you can do something about it. Here are 5 tips for dealing with hot flashes.
1. Make Changes to your Diet
A good way to combat hot flashes is by making small changes to what you put in your body.
You’re probably thinking that you have to overhaul your diet when there’s no guarantee that it’ll make things better, but a completely different diet isn’t necessary. You only need to consider making a few small changes to find out what works for you.
Avoid Alcohol in the Evening
One of the reasons why our skin feels so flushed when experiencing hot flashes is because our blood vessels open up, creating a heating sensation. As a vasodilator, alcohol can have the same effect and can make hot flashes worse for those that already experience them.
Before you jump to any major conclusions, let’s save you some time to tell you that the small glass of wine with dinner won’t hurt, especially if it’s a few hours before bed. The general rule of thumb we’d recommend is that you shouldn’t go to bed tipsy. Not only will you feel hotter, but you’ll also face lower sleep quality and feel unrested when you wake up.
Consume Less Caffeine
Something else to consider limiting is caffeine. A Mayo Clinic study found “an association between caffeine intake and more bothersome hot flashes and night sweats in postmenopausal women.” It raises the heart rate, increasing blood flow and heat.
As with alcohol, caffeine is also famous for interrupting sleep, which can impact how night sweats affect you. We’re all built a little different, so play with your caffeine intake and see what works best.
Eat More Soy and Flaxseed
One of the causes of hot flashes as women move toward menopause is a lack of estrogen. As the body changes, estrogen levels start to fall and the body’s temperature regulation system transforms as a result. This is where soy and flaxseed come in.
Soy naturally contains a high amount of estrogen, and research shows that consuming more of it can help with hot flashes. Similarly, a 2016 research review found that flaxseed’s estrogen content may also help with the frequency and severity of those spells.
So bust out the tofu and flaxseed bread and chow down! Maybe not all at once, though…
2. Lower the Temperature of Your Room
Staple this one to your wall, because it’s not only important when dealing with hot flashes, but also for sleep in general.
For us humans, the ideal temperature for sleeping is around 60-70 degrees F. That’s where our bodies want to be from an evolutionary standpoint. It makes sense since nice, cool caves have been our homes for much of our existence.
Getting to those lower temperatures will give you the best chance of sleeping like a caveman – or cavewoman, if you will. It’s also how you can stop hot flashes fast when they happen.
To set yourself up for success, try turning your thermostat to a lower temperature or opening a window or two. Get a cool breeze flowing through the room and crank it up with a fan if you start to feel the heat. Or follow some of our alternative tips on how to stay cool at night.
Why are Hot Flashes Worse at Night?
Setting your room up to be cool in the evening is crucial for most people, as that’s often when hot flashes are most inconvenient. Particularly for menopausal women, changing hormone levels may be the little demon making hot flashes worse at night.
Lower estrogen makes heat regulation harder, and the body overreacts. For some, those flare-ups occur during the day, others at night.
What’s undeniable is that waking up to a hot flash will automatically make it seem worse because your sleep has just been interrupted. A hot, stuffy room won’t improve the situation, whether you’re going through menopause or simply have a hard time with heat.
3. Use Weighted Blankets for Hot Flashes
While blasting AC can help with the issue, it may not get to the root of the problems associated with hot flashes. To dig into that, you might be better off exploring other options.
Your stress levels and how prone to anxiety you are may be another factor leading to hot flashes. And for many of us, the middle of the night is when we dwell on problems the most.
In general, the less stress, the less likely you are to wake up with flushed skin. There are plenty of ways to relieve that tension, from exercise to meditation, and one thing that can help you deal with stress and anxiety, especially at night, is a weighted blanket.
How a Weighted Blanket Can Help with Hot Flashes
Also known as weighted anxiety blankets, weighted blankets have been used for decades as a therapeutic remedy in treating anxiety-inducing conditions like autism.
Bearaby’s weighted blankets provide a grounding effect through deep touch pressure (DTP), reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosting serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Getting these hormones at the right levels may lead to more peace of mind, something important for managing our body’s temperature.
As an added benefit, weighted blankets also aid in the release of melatonin and may help keep you asleep even when you’re struggling with hot flashes.
Why the Way the Blanket is Weighted Matters
All weighted blankets aren’t created equal. Some use plastic pellets that are not only bad for the environment, they can also make you hotter, which we can agree isn’t the best for avoiding hot flashes.
Weighted blankets like our cooling weighted blanket are made with a patented weighted yarn technique that uses fabric rather than plastic to weigh you down. That means that there are no pellets to move around and transport heat.
The weaving technique also creates pockets of open space for air to move through, allowing you to stay cool and stress-free through the night.
4. Sleep in the Right Fabric
No matter how much we hope and pray, hot flashes may still come when we lay down. If they do, you’ll want to make sure that you’re set up for the best odds of success.
If your blanket is suffocating and made with the wrong material it can end up leaving you in a pool of your own sweat. Before long you’ll find yourself kicking the sheets off, wishing that you had a more breathable option.
What Your Blanket Should be Made of
The ability to wick moisture is crucial for stopping hot flashes fast. It allows your body to go through the paces without worrying about having a wet blanket touching your skin when the heat is off.
Weighted blankets made from synthetic materials like polyester may wick moisture, but they don’t allow for airflow and also put stress on the environment. Bearaby’s Tree Napper uses natural eucalyptus fibers that get the job done while also being one of the most sustainable fabrics on earth. Most importantly, they’re machine washable, making it easy to get the sweat out.
What You Wear to Bed
Just as important as what you sleep under is what you sleep in. Make sure that what you wear to bed is light, loose, and layered.
Tight clothing will make it harder for your skin to breathe, making you hotter, so keep it loose. You’ll also want to avoid heavier material that can make you hotter. Finally, wear multiple layers so you can shed them if it gets hot.
5. Make Lifestyle Changes
The last, and maybe most important thing to change, is your lifestyle.
Removing harmful habits from your life and promoting healthy ones is always a good idea. It’s even more essential when trying to stop hot flashes that get worse at night.
A 2008 study done on women from 45 to 54 years old found that tobacco smoking increased the odds of experiencing hot flashes. Not only are the odds of experiencing one raised, but the actual effects seem to get worse, too.
If you’re a regular smoker who wants to keep a lid on hot flashes, it might be time to think about cutting the habit out.
Get Healthy Through Exercise
Like quitting smoking, there’s always a good reason to stay in shape. For those who get hot flashes at night, you can add one more to the list.
The National Institute on Aging states that those who stick to an exercise regimen and maintain a healthy body are less likely to experience hot flashes.
So get out for a run, walk, or even crawl! Whatever gets the blood pumping will help.
Change Your Night Time Routine
We’ve mentioned stress being a factor when it comes to the frequency of hot flashes, and another way to lower stress levels is to have a good night time routine.
After dinner, you should transition to relaxation mode with the goal of winding down toward bed time. This means warmer lighting, reading a good book, and avoiding screens at least an hour before your head hits the pillow. A little mindfulness can’t hurt either.
Hot flashes may come for us when we lay down, but we can make them easier to bear and hopefully even keep them at bay. Try some of the tips in this blog a try and you may be able to beat the heat that’s keeping you up.