You are battling hot flashes and night sweats and are looking for solutions but hoping to avoid taking conventional hormones. Your morning cup of coffee is followed by a hot flash so powerful, you feel like you need to get back in the shower and start the whole morning routine again. Your partner complains that you are keeping the house like an ice box and yet you wake up several times a night sweaty and uncomfortable. There are many simple choices you can make right now to cool off and start feeling better.
1. Optimize stress management. Have you ever noticed when you are angry or nervous, your hot flashes are worse? Stress hormones trigger hot flashes. Making some time for a simple breathing practice could be a great start. Check out apps like Headspace and Calm to get started. Another good place to begin would be a 2 min gratitude journal. Start your day reflecting on sources of gratitude and positively re-frame your mood.
2. Exercise is another powerful tool for stress management. Try a yoga class, go for a walk, learn to lift weights, or cool off in the pool. Many studios have intro sessions or beginner packs that allow you to try out new experiences without any commitments. Rather than making a lunch date with a friend, try out a new class together.
3. Limit caffeine. Just like stress, caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response. Try weaning down gradually and find some excellent tasting decaf from a local roaster. Check out some richly flavored herbal tea.
4. Limit sugar- when you have refined sugars, like fruit juice, sweetened drinks, breads or pastas, your blood sugar spikes and then crashes. This drop in blood sugar can bring on a hot flash. Healthier choices include seltzer, or herbal iced tea. Choose your carbs carefully and reach for whole food sources like sweet potatoes and quinoa that pack in the fiber to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster.
5. Limit alcohol. Many turn to a glass of wine at the end of the day to unwind. Unfortunately, both the alcohol and the sugar are a recipe for a hot flash and night sweats later on. Take a walk with a partner or friend to unwind, write in a journal, or read something for pleasure.
You don’t have to make every change at once. Pick one that feels the most achievable and make it fun. Find a new tea house to find herbal teas you have never discovered or check out a pole dancing class. Look for a trail nearby to hike this weekend. When you care for yourself, you will be calmer, happier and your whole family will benefit.