- New research shows that menopausal night sweats are linked to difficulties in thinking and paying attention
- Night sweats may result in sleep disruptions that significantly lower the quality of our slumber
- Avoiding triggers such as caffeine and alcohol, reducing stress, and adjusting hormone levels with natural balancing progesterone crème may reduce or eliminate night sweats
Night sweats Can Affect Mental Acuity
One of the many less-than-pleasant aspects of going through menopause is developing night sweats. No one finds it even remotely enjoyable to wake up from sleep to find you have drenched your pajama top in sweat. It can disrupt your sleep for a few moments or even longer if you are so uncomfortable that you need to get up and change almost nightly. And unfortunately, the consequences might be far worse than that, as new research suggests that experiencing night sweats can affect mental acuity.
The study, which was conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that having night sweats during menopause is associated with longer periods of sleep (not as good as you might think) and impairments to thinking abilities.1”Menopausal Night Sweats Linked With Cognitive Dysfunction.” North American Menopause Society. 24 September 2019. Accessed 2 October 2019. http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/cognitive-dysfunction-from-night-sweats-final.pdf. These results are based on an investigation that included subjects who had a history of breast cancer, but the aim was to explore how night sweats might affect the total duration of time spent sleeping.
Not only did the data collected on women experiencing night sweats show that they typically required more sleep at night, but it also uncovered the surprising fact that as sleep duration increased, the women were more likely to have problems with executive function skills such as their ability to maintain attention and manage time. Interestingly, though, the night sweats and length of sleep time were not found to be related to memory difficulties, as has been seen in previous research on daytime hot flashes.
Why Would Greater Sleep Duration Be Bad for Our Cognitive Performance?
Because of the limited scope of the subject pool for this experiment, we cannot rule out the possibility that night sweats mainly have this mental effect on women who have undergone breast cancer. But it is certainly possible that if the study was replicated with a larger group of menopausal women who had not had breast cancer similar findings would occur. It is well known that to get a good night’s sleep, we need not only an adequate duration but also a good quality of sleep without a lot of disruptions. In other words, sleeping longer, in this case, may not be indicative of getting more rest but, rather, taking longer to get less rest.
When we do not get sufficient quality of sleep due to frequent waking, we can experience problems in memory and concentration. Connections between areas of the prefrontal cortex of the brain are affected when our sleep is repeatedly disturbed, as likely happens when we are having night sweats.
Preventing Night Sweats and Potential Cognitive Difficulties
As many as 80 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women are estimated to experience night sweats or hot flashes at some point, so there are potentially millions who may be impacted by cognitive difficulties during the day as a result. An obvious first line of defense against night sweats is to keep your bedroom cool and only use the lightest of blankets. Getting uncomfortably warm may set off night sweats or make them worse.
Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages in the evening can also be a trigger in some people. Avoid both of these and see whether you experience a decrease in the occurrence of night sweats. Stress may contribute to night sweats, too, so incorporate a little stress relief into your bedtime routine, in the form of a meditation session, warm bath, or gentle massage from your significant other. And get to the root of the problem, which is your hormones, by supplementing with a natural progesterone crème to balance your hormones.
|↑1||”Menopausal Night Sweats Linked With Cognitive Dysfunction.” North American Menopause Society. 24 September 2019. Accessed 2 October 2019. http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/cognitive-dysfunction-from-night-sweats-final.pdf. These results are based on an investigation that included subjects who had a history of breast cancer, but the aim was to explore how night sweats might affect the total duration of time spent sleeping.|