Night sweats are no joke! And it’s time to take this reality out of the closet and own it. Just like our grandmother’s generation didn’t talk about periods, ours doesn’t want to admit to aging. But guess what? You can invest in all the expensive face creams and neck serums you want — at some point, you’re going to stop getting your period. Like I did. Which is normal. Because I’m 50.
But here’s a surprise: The night sweats still aren’t over. I remember my stepmother telling me that her mother, who passed away at 100, still got them as an octogenarian. I didn’t believe her then, but now I’m starting to worry. So I did some research and here’s what I learned:
HOT FLASH 101
According to the Mayo Clinic, hot flashes — or night sweats, which is what they’re called when they happen at night (duh, but I actually thought they were different things until I read that) — happen because your body’s estrogen levels are decreasing, making you more responsive to slight changes in body temperature. Basically, your body starts thinking you’re too hot, so it gives you a hot flash so you’ll sweat and cool down.
THE ALCOHOL CONNECTION
Mayo doesn’t mention this, but I’ve noticed that I get more hot flashes after drinking wine. A small shot of vodka or tequila — rocks, no mixer (stirred, not shaken) — will trigger a flash when I’m drinking it, but doesn’t seem to stay in my system as long as vino. Hm…
I’ve tried a whole bunch of different herbs — from black cohosh to dong quai — and nothing seems to make much of a difference, although evening primrose might help, ever so slightly? And of course I live in a weed-friendly state, so there’s that…
JUST LIKE MARILYN MONROE
I no longer sleep in clothes. I don’t care how temperature regulating silk and cotton are reported to be, in the middle of the night when you are lying in a pool of your own sweat you will want to burn your pajamas. Or t-shirt. Or even that teensy tiny little spaghetti strapped nightie. I want nothing on me but covers, so I can throw them the eff off.
OH MY GOD I APPRECIATE A/C.
So… What works for you? Please share your strategies in comments, below. Thanks!