Updated: Nov 3, 2019
When I’m not making menopause cream for mum I’m also an accredited Reflexologist with an MSc in Psychology. In all three fields I’ve quickly found that night-sweats/lack of sleep is one of the most common issues faced by menopausal, and perimenopausal, women. It’s something that’s completely overlooked in day to day life and somewhat overshadowed by all the focus on hot flushes.
Whilst there are no ‘cures’ as such, I wanted to do a blog post that hopefully pulls together a few little Psychology tricks and some holistic therapies, as well as explain how we considered the power of a good night’s sleep when developing and trialling menomagic. All are designed to offer some coping mechanisms for night-sweats and sleepless nights in general.
If you’re reading this you’ll know only too well how night-sweats and sleeplessness can affect you well into daylight hours – concentration shot to pieces, lethargy, anxiety as night-time returns, depressive symptoms – the list goes on. Once awakened by a night-sweat, it can be so difficult to return back to sleep. So, what causes them and what strategies can you use to help reduce them and help improve your return to sleep?
First off, night-sweats and hot flushes are caused by several things: primarily, drops in oestrogen levels cause the body to attempt to self-regulate to try to elevate oestrogen, confusing the hypothalamus (a part of the brain that helps regulate body temperature). The body’s thermostat becomes faulty and, during sleep, the sudden increase in temperature (when you’re already warm under the sheets) prompts a night-sweat as blood vessels start to dilate to release heat, which triggers sweat glands to start secreting water. Night-sweats don’t just make you feel uncomfortable, they are almost always accompanied by a sense of anxiety – another reason why it is then so hard to get back to sleep.
What can be done?
Anxiety/Breathing - Breathing techniques can really help with reducing anxiety before bed and helping you return to sleep if you are woken. It’s something that I often discuss with my Reflexology clients and something I practice myself if I’m struggling to sleep or nervous about what the day ahead holds. A great yoga breathing technique is known as 4-7-8 breathing, where you place the tip of your tongue up towards the front of your mouth (against your top row of teeth). Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this a few times, and it helps to alter the level of oxygen in your body, making you feel much more relaxed and more likely to fall back to sleep.
Patterns - Are you awakening from a hot sweat at a similar time each night? This may mean that a part of your body is also out of balance and complicating things further. A common time to wake up is between 1am and 3am, when the liver is rebalancing, according to the Chinese Clock. This would then mean that you need to do things to help rebalance the liver and enable it to function more efficiently. To do this, you might look at your diet, or visit your local complementary therapist (Reflexologist, Acupuncturist, etc) to help your body naturally rebalance the liver. Here is a link to the Chinese Clock for more information.
Exercise – Without doubt, exercise is also an important strategy to try to reduce the likelihood of experiencing night-sweats in the first place. Something as simple as taking a brisk, 20 minutes’ walk each day or engaging in Pilates or Yoga, could really make a difference to your hormone levels. Research has shown that women who participated in regular physical activity reported fewer, and less severe, night sweats.
Menomagic™/Essential oils - Finally, when I developed the Menomagic™ range I specifically wanted to incorporate relaxing oils into the blends to combat sleepless nights. Lavender is the ‘go-to’ essential oil to aid sleep and with good reason – several studies have shown its beneficial effects and for me it was a bit of a no brainer to include it in our Cooling Cream and 'Sound Asleep' Pillow Spray. Both these products also include Rose Geranium and, whilst this oil’s main purpose in our Cooling Cream is to uplift and tackle low moods, it does also have known relaxing properties. Applying our Cooling Cream to your wrists, feet and/or pulse points before going to sleep can be useful to help you deeply relax before bedtime. Leave it close to hand and use it alongside some or all the techniques above (as well as your own coping mechanisms) to help you get to sleep – and stay asleep! Our PIllow Spray is also effective at promoting sleep. Simply spray a fine mist over bedding and/or pillows immediately before bed. You can also use our Pillow Spray as a room spray to ease anxiety during the day.
I'll finish on a lovely testimonial this week which I’ve included in full here. It’s always so encouraging to receive great feedback;
“Hi Steven, I was told about your menomagic cream. I'm very much into holistic healing. Used it for the first-time last night when I first went to bed. I felt instantly a calmness and a relaxed feeling, I went off straight away, unfortunately I woke up at 4.15am which is always happening I felt a hot-flush coming on so at about 40% of its intensity I applied more cream and within seconds it stopped the hot flush and I eventually nodded back off to sleep. Looking forward to using this again tonight but had to let you know my feedback asap. Again, many thanks, L”
If you've already purchased menomagic we'd love to hear how you got on. If you haven't purchased yet and you're interested please have a look at our shop here where you can find more details about our current offer price. Either way, we'd love to hear from you!