Night sweats are the result of changing hormone levels, and they can be experienced during pregnancy because of the numerous fluctuations that occur during this period.
What Causes Night Sweats?
The domino effect that leads to night sweats is triggered by an estrogen imbalance. Normally, estrogen collaborates with the temperature regulating portion of the brain known as the hypothalamus, however, when there isn't enough estrogen, the hypothalamus malfunctions and causes blood vessel enlargement. The consequence of this chain reaction is an unsolicited rise in body temperature and night sweats.
What Are Other Potential Causes of Night Sweats?
Because night sweats are most commonly associated with hormone fluctuations, they generally act as a telltale menopause symptom. However, the experience can also be triggered by excessive perspiration during sleep and during pregnancy. These include:
- Thyroid disease
- Excessive weight gain
- Genetic predisposition
How to Manage Night Sweats
One women's experience of night sweats can vary greatly from another's. Some may experience night sweats too infrequently to consider them a problem, while others might battle them nightly. Check out these tips on keeping cool at night:
Ditch the flannel nightwear and opt for breathable, loose fit cotton pajamas.
Consider using layered bedding instead of thick duvets, so that it's easier to adapt to changing body temperatures.
Air conditioning is an effective way of staying cool during the night. Consider investing in a small fan for your bedside table, or keep your windows open to ensure there's a source of constant ventilation.
Spicy foods and hot beverages raise core body temperature. To reduce the chance of night sweats, avoid spicy meals and hot drinks before bed.
Cool showers before bed can be a great way of reducing your body temperature.
Keep a glass of ice water by your bed.
Keep practicing breathing techniques to reduce the stress that night sweats can cause and help you drift back to sleep.
Do Night Sweats Continue After Pregnancy?
Unfortunately for some women, they can. Their relationship to changing hormones means that the experience might linger until harmony is restored. For some lucky mothers, though, night sweats cease abruptly after they give birth.
For more tips on night sweat treatments, check out the following link.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Night sweats. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- National Institute of Aging. (2015). Health and Aging. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause
- UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. (n.d.). Sleep and Women. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://sleepcenter.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=64