Do you regularly wake up drenched in sweat, night clothes soaked through, stuck to your sheets? Menopause related night sweats are a really unfortunate side effect, affecting 70% of women - but the good news is that there's much you can do to alleviate night sweats by choosing the right bedding and nightwear. Stylist and dressmaker Gilly Woo explains...
Didn't imagine a stylist writing about night sweats? Well, we know a thing two about fabric and homewares too, and in this article I'm going to explain how the bedlinen and pajamas you choose can help keep you cool and dry throughout the night so you can wake feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
For night clothes choose lightweight, comfortable, sweat-wicking fabrics that dry quickly such as bamboo jersey.
After the menopause night sweats come the chills…
Natural fibers can feel nice against the skin but fabrics made of silk and cotton can hold moisture and make you feel wetter longer so they may be best avoided. The same applies with sheets and pillow cases, a poly cotton blend will dry quicker but some people find they prefer the feel of 100% cotton so it's worth experimenting to see what you feel most comfortable in. Bamboo is the exception to the rule - it's natural, breathable and dries quickly.
Whatever fabric you choose for your bed sheets make sure it's lightweight and doesn't have too tight a weave. If possible hold it up to the light, the more light that passes through the fabric the more breathable it is.
Comfy support for women with curves
If you are blessed with an ample bosom you will probably find that under boob and cleavage sweat is a problem at night and might feel more comfortable with a little support.
Wear a top with secret support
A lot of shops make nightwear with a hidden elastic bandeau panel to offer light support while you sleep and help wick sweat away from your skin.
Try a Tata towel
Alternatively try a sleep bra or a Tata Towel. A Tata Towel is a towelling garment you wear around your neck which cups both boobs in soft, moisture absorbing fabric without the restriction of a proper camisole top or bra.
Sleep wear is such a personal thing…
You may be happiest sleeping naked as the day you were born (which is great for letting your skin breathe!) or in full on pajamas.
If you do wear clothes to bed then try putting them in a zip-lock bag and laying them in the freezer for an hour or so before bed, you could also do this with a top sheet, pillow case, or even just some light cotton socks to lower your body temperature a little when you first get into bed.
Lifestyle tips for chilled out nights
Put it on ice
While you're there at the freezer make some ice. Take a glass of water to bed with you with lots of ice in it. When you wake in the night the water will still be cool and refreshing if you're experiencing a hot flash - if you have an insulated 'keep cool' water bottle or cup, better yet
Be your own #1 fan
Keep a cooling sleep fan or an air conditioning unit by your bed, a paper or fabric fan may be best if you share your bed with a partner as it's silent, but little electric ones are greats too. It's actually more effective to try to avoid wiping away the sweat and to gently waft cool air over your body instead, sweat is your bodies natural cooling system and wiping it away will only lead to more being produced.
Lose the duvet!
Try sleeping under a top sheet, with a light blanket on top if you are initially cold. If you wake if the night, wafting the layers will trap cool air and help dry the sweat. If you share your bed with a partner who prefers a duvet you could keep a sarong by your bed.
If you wake in the night sweating under your half of the duvet kick it off and grab your sarong, by wafting it around a little you can also use it in place of a fan to help air get to your body and cool you down. Sarongs are usually made from quick drying lightweight, breathable materials too so it's a perfect thing to drape over you whilst still letting cool air get to your skin. Another option is to opt for two separate duvets of different tog weights, so your partner can snuggle under a winter weight if you need to keep the windows open!
Keep a cool pack under your pillow so you can turn it in the night and get that dreamy 'cool side' feeling on steroids! I've also heard great things about these Huggee cooling pillows from friends who find night sweats a problem, though haven't tried one personally. These are much nicer than the gel packs that you can put on your pillow, which quickly feel clammy and unpleasant, and are very bad for your skin. Imagine damp, clammy plastic on your face all night... not recommended!
Try a cooling mattress topper
There are lots on the market, so do some research and read some reviews to see which one is best for you. When choosing a mattress or pillows avoid memory foam which can trap body heat, and opt for latex instead which is natural and breathable and will do a better job of distributing heat and helping you stay cool.
About Gilly Woo
Gilly Woo - known to her family as Gill Cockwell - began her sewing career at the tender age of six and was sketching designs and fashioning garments by the time she was ten. Since 2000, she has built a brand synonymous with quality, individuality and style - though most of all, she helps women find and express their most confident, fabulous selves. From dresses cut to dazzle for brides who use wheelchairs to red carpet looks featured in magazines and worn to The National TV Awards Gill's portfolio is as diverse as the people she's worked with. She's an experienced stylist on magazine photo shoots and catwalk shows, has taught hundreds of people to sew, and has even stepped back in time on UK TV…