You don’t have to suffer. There’s a lot you can do.
Women in my private practice as a psychologist sometimes talk about experiencing hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause. Their collective wisdom has led to the creation of these 27 tips to help you better manage hot flashes.
Experiment with these 27 tips and find the ones that work for you
The tips are listed under seven different headings, which include diet, your environment, clothing, physical activity, stress management, sleep, and medication.
Please feel free to experiment with some or all of these 27 tips as you work to better manage your own hot flashes.
Change your diet
- Avoid spicy foods
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid sugar
- Avoid white flour, which turns to sugar
- Avoid processed foods
Alter your environment
- Reduce the temperature setting on the thermostat in your home or office during the day
- At night, drop the temperature setting on the thermostat in your bedroom
Adjust your hygiene habits
- Don’t take hot baths, especially before bedtime. If you feel the need to soak in a hot tub, drop your body temperature immediately afterwards by taking a cold shower.
- Don’t sit in a hot tub. If you must, drop your body temperature by taking a cold shower afterwards.
Be strategic with your clothing
- Wear layered clothing during the day so you will be able to remove a scarf, sweater or jacket as you heat up.
- Avoid wearing synthetic fibres as much as possible during the day because these hold body heat more than natural fibres.
- Wear only natural fibres to bed.
Increase your physical activity
- Increase your overall fitness level because being fitter can have a huge, positive impact on hot flashes.
- Look for a correlation between whether exercising during the day impacts the intensity of hot flashes at night.
Improve your stress management
- Reduce your stress at work because stress during the day will increase the intensity and severity of hot flashes at night.
- Reduce your anxiety outside of work for the same reason.
- Deep breathe. Research shows that deep breathing during a hot flash can reduce the severity and duration of a hot flash by as much as 80 percent.
Adjust your sleep habits
- Flip your pillow over during the night to get the cold side as often as required.
- Place a towel over your pillow so you can get more air circulation between the pillow’s surface and your head.
- Layer your bedding so you can strip off as many covers as you need, as required.
- Get a king size bed so you can sleep without touching your partner when you need to, and without disrupting their sleep.
- Install a ceiling fan over your bed and turn it on when a night sweat hits. This can reduce your wake time tremendously.
- Install air conditioning in your bedroom if a ceiling fan proves to not be enough.
- Get out of bed if you can’t cool down using the suggestions already listed. Getting out of bed can dramatically reduce the duration of a hot flash, which will allow you to fall asleep that much faster.
- While you are out of bed, have a drink of water. This can reduce the duration of a hot flash as well.
Be aware of medication
- You can take to your physician about completing a medication trial. For example, a couple of my clients have told me that taking a low dose of an antidepressant has helped them to reduce the intensity and duration of their hot flashes.
— Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta