Bedding to help those with menopausal symptoms
The menopause (sometimes known as The Change) is usually diagnosed by a medical doctor after 12 months of amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is simply the absence of menstruation/periods. There could be a number of causes of amenorrhea in women, but usually in mature women it is because of the onset of the menopause.
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51 according to the NHS. If a woman is experiencing the absence of periods and is not of menopausal age, there could be other reasons and it is advisable to discuss these with a doctor.
During the menopause physiological changes take place which lead to hormone changes. These hormone changes differ between individuals going through the menopause. As a result of the hormone changes within the body, a wide range of symptoms can occur. Common symptoms include:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
- difficulty sleeping
- low mood or anxiety
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- problems with memory and concentration
One of the common symptoms women report when they are going through the menopause is night sweats. To try to cool down, menopausal women may remove sheets, duvets or clothing as this can be a way to try to keep cool during the night. Further tips to help with night sweats are:
- Wear loose light clothing
- Keep the bedroom cool at night, try using a bedside fan
- Increase levels of exercise
- Reduce stress levels
- Avoid potential triggers, such as spicy food, caffeine, smoking and alcohol
- Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water
A variety of products that claim to help ease the symptom of night sweats are available on the market. These products have their own research to suggest that they draw the heat away from the body when it starts to heat up which can help to prevent or control sweating. These products include complete bedding sets that claim to optimise body temperature. Certain materials may be best to avoid during this time period such as soft surface memory foams, due to their ability to envelope the body and reduce how well heat escapes away from your skin. Also synthetic fibers do not breathe as well as natural cottons, bamboos, and wools, so look for a mattress that provides breathable fiber materials. Cooling bedsheets made from natural fibers are the best types of sheets to use when you are experiencing night sweats. You may also wish to consider having a lower thread count bedsheet since high thread count sheets are woven more tightly together, making them less breathable. There are also cooling bedsheets available made specifically for hot flushes and night sweat symptoms.
There is limited evidence available, other than information from bedding manufacturers’ websites to support the use of specialist bedding as an effective intervention for night time sweats during the menopause, but some women have reported benefits of using special bedding as part of the overall management of menopausal symptoms.
Sources used in writing this article are available on request
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Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 19 July 2018
Next review: 19 July 2021