For some women in perimenopause or menopause, there are times when they feel like they are facing some formidable opponents that are working together. Among the over 85 symptoms that are associated with this time of hormonal fluctuations, three that are related and often appear together are night sweats, day sweats (hot flashes), and anxiety.
Night sweats and day sweats
Both night sweats and day sweats are vasomotor symptoms that are characterized by excessive sweating that starts at the face and moves on to the chest. They can first appear during perimenopause, but women more often experience them during menopause and postmenopause. Both occur when blood vessels near the skin’s surface expand, which can result in sweat dripping down your face and chest and chills at the same time.
Although night sweats are basically hot flashes that occur at night, one significant difference is that night sweats can have a big impact on sleep quality and quantity. Another difference is that you typically manage night sweats differently than you do day sweats.
Research indicates that women who are more often likely to experience night sweats and day sweats are those who are anxious, who smoke or used to smoke, are overweight, and are depressed. There’s also evidence that women who had their first hot flashes before menstruation ended tended to have both night sweats and day sweats for an average of nine to ten years.
What causes night sweats and day sweats?
A variety of factors can trigger these symptoms, including high temperatures, tight clothing, spicy foods, smoking, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and bending over. It can be helpful if you keep track of what you were doing or eating when day sweats occur so you can try to prevent them.
Anxiety, night sweats, and day sweats
What role does anxiety play in excessive sweating? Generally, experiencing hot flashes or feeling flushed is a common symptom of anxiety, panic, or stress. The body responds by releasing stress hormones, which in turn increase blood circulation and send blood to the muscles. The end result is feeling hot and sweaty.
However, it’s also possible for hot flashes to lead to feelings of anxiety and distress. Thus worrying about and anticipating hot flashes can make you feel more anxious and can become a vicious circle.
Anxiety is often accompanied by other symptoms. These may include feeling restless or edgy, an elevated heart rate, shallow or rapid breathing, muscle tension, inability to concentrate, and sleep disturbances.
How to manage anxiety, night sweats, and day sweats naturally
Managing anxiety and stress on a daily basis can go a long way toward helping with night sweats and day sweats. Find time each day to:
- Practice deep breathing, especially the 4-7-8 technique: Inhale through your nose to the count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7, and release through your mouth to a count of 8. This is a great exercise to do just about anywhere and any time of the day.
- Practice yoga. There are several poses that can help relieve anxiety, including hero pose, triangle pose, child’s pose, fish pose, and extended puppy pose.
- Engage in other stress-reducing activities. Listen to soothing music, meditate, get a massage, try guided visualization, practice tai chi, or do some sort of enjoyable exercise such as dancing.
- Squeeze a stress ball.
- Try journaling. Writing down your fears, anxieties, and other negative emotions can help you better cope with stress and achieve calm.
To help manage night sweats and day sweats:
- Layer your clothing.
- Keep cold water with you in a sustainable bottle at all times.
- For night sweats, dress in loose cotton clothing and choose cooling sheets or blankets that you can easily grab when you get cold.
- Keep a small portable fan with you during the day and on your nightstand at night.
- Trying black cohosh (Actaea racemosa). This herb has been shown to reduce hot flashes at doses of 20 to 40 milligrams of a standardized extract twice daily.
Nights sweats, day sweats, and anxiety are a triad of symptoms that often occur together in perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. You can take natural steps to relieve these symptoms.