8 Reasons Why Hot Flashes Are Worse At Night

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sleepless woman

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than overheating at night. Whether you’re just too hot or suffer from night sweats or hot flashes, the feeling can be unbearable. While the cause of hot flashes isn’t exactly known, many women suffer from them. Those with hypoglycemia, those who are overweight, and those who are going through menopause are all prone to hot flashes. Many people who suffer from hot flashes claim that they are worse at night. However, studies have shown that hot flashes aren’t actually worse at night- they just might feel worse. Having a hot flash during the day is uncomfortable, but it can be overwhelming to wake up in the middle of the night sweating and overheating. Here are a few reasons why this might be happening to you:

Body temperature

One of the most common reasons why hot flashes seem worse at night is because of our body temperature. Humans are endotherms- meaning we can regulate our own body temperatures- that doesn’t mean that our core temperature is consistent. In fact, our body temperature fluctuates constantly throughout the day. Most of us have our highest core temperature around 3pm. However, our body temperature tends to be much higher while we’re sleeping than when we’re awake. Our core body temperatures are an average of 1.3 degrees higher in the middle of the night than when we wake up.

Most people rarely notice this spike in body temperature while they’re asleep. However, if your body is very sensitive or if you’re prone to wearing warm pyjamas, it can be very disruptive. There are further links between sleep quality and body temperature. While you tend to get better rest when your body is warm, this is not the case if you are too hot. If your core temperature runs high on average, this may disrupt your sleep quality, which can result in a spike in body temperature. The hotter your body is, the more prone you are to hot flashes.

Estrogen

The majority of women who experience hot flashes are going through menopause. While everyone knows that this is a common menopausal symptom, few know why. The answer is simple: hormones. Our body’s core temperature, which is determined by the brain, is partially regulated by estrogen levels. When women are on their period, pregnant, or going through menopause, they tend to have much lower levels of estrogen in their bodies. When the brain doesn’t have enough estrogen, body temperature levels can rise quite high. This can then result in both hot flashes and night sweats. While you may experience these symptoms during the day, they can become more noticeable at night.

Blood glucose levels

If you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, you may be familiar with hot flashes. When blood sugar levels drop too low, a common symptom is an increase in body temperature. Understandably, this can result in hot flashes.

Insulin resistance

A common problem that both diabetic and overweight women face is insulin resistance. Studies have shown that those with higher serum glucose levels experience hot flashes more often. While it’s unclear why this is the case, the numbers don’t lie. There are many ways to improve insulin resistance, such as by eating healthier, exercising more, and taking medication.

Bedding material

There is a direct correlation between bedding material and overheating while sleeping. This is simply because some materials are more breathable than others. In fact, there are even some bedding materials that have cooling features in the design. The best materials to sleep on if you suffer from hot flashes are those made of natural fibers. Synthetic materials like polyester aren’t able to wick away moisture, which means that they can make you overheat easily. On the other hand, lightweight, breathable materials like cotton, linen, silk, and bamboo.

Sleepwear material

Just like bedding material, sleepwear material plays an important role in either bettering or worsening hot flashes. For example, if you wear polyester or polycotton pyjamas, you’re likely to get far too hot at night. As we know, the higher your body temperature, the higher risk you have of feeling extreme hot flashes. To prevent hot flashes, it’s crucial that you do all you can to regulate your body temperature. Start by switching all of your pyjamas, robes, and nightgowns to ones made of cotton, silk, or bamboo.

Stress

Did you know that your mood before bed can affect your hot flashes? When we’re stressed, our heart rate increases, which in turn raises our core body temperature. So if you’re someone who tends to overthink or stress at night before bed, this could contribute to your night-time hot flashes. Try to calm yourself down before bed by reading a relaxing book, lighting a lavender candle, or meditating.

No warning

For most, hot flashes aren’t actually worse at night- they just feel worse. This can be because when you have hot flashes while you’re sleeping, you have no warning! Those going through menopause likely experience hot flashes throughout the day. However, during the day, they can feel the hot flashes coming on and take preventative measures to keep them from worsening. While sleeping, this isn’t an option. Instead, women tend to wake up already sweating and overheating in the midst of a hot flash. Since there is no warning for these hot flashes, no preventative measures can be taken immediately before they happen. Instead, it’s important to take preventative measures before bed like sleeping in breathable fabrics, regulating blood glucose levels, and de-stressing.

There are many reasons why your hot flashes may feel worse at night. From stress to lower estrogen levels, the list is endless. If you do suffer from hot flashes, remember that you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 75% of women in perimenopause and menopause have frequent hot flashes. However, there are several ways to prevent or lessen the frequency of hot flashes at night. The best way is to switch all of your bedding and sleepwear to breathable, lightweight fabrics like bamboo and silk. In addition to keeping your room at a cool temperature and de-stressing before bed, this can make a world of difference.

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