Menopause matters – night sweats

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The right bedding can go a long way towards helping with night sweats. Bamboo bedlinen

As anyone knows who’s had them, night sweats are very disagreeable. Hot flushes during the day are bad enough, but waking up soaking wet, red hot and then freezing cold, and lying in wet bedding is thoroughly miserable. 

My night sweats, which had previously been no more than an inconvenience, reached epic proportions recently. I haven’t slept well for several years now but when my customary 3-4 hours a night dropped to 1-2 hours a night, I began to turn into a walking zombie, and when, on two consecutive nights I had to get up to allow my soaking wet sheets to dry, I began to feel something approaching despair.

What to do? The borage oil seemed no longer to kill the hot flushes, though it lessened their intensity, and the black cohosh that I added to the mix about six weeks ago seemed to have made no difference. I already own wicking nightwear, and this dries quickly on my body, but when my sheets became too wet to sleep in it became obvious that we’d have to invest in some wicking bedding too.

Wicking fabrics can be made from high-tech microfibres – my original nightwear from Cool Sleepwear was of this ilk – but there are also natural fibres that fit the bill, including silk, wool and bamboo. 

In short order, we bought a wool mattress topper, wool duvet and wool-stuffed pillows from DAPW – the Duvet And Pillow Warehouse. The duvet is 4.5 tog for summer, but it comes in all weights, including a two-season version that clips together, and the company also does a range of feather and silk-stuffed duvets.

Dormy blanket

They arrived very quickly by courier and proved straight away to be brilliant. Although I still woke up damp, I was no longer soaking, and the DH also found the topper much more comfortable to sleep on than our memory foam, which he has always found hot and sticky. 

The pillows are wonderfully cuddly and soft, though unfortunately I need an ergonomic pillow for sleeping, so I only use the wool pillow for reading in bed. The DH, however, has jettisoned his old memory foam pillow in favour of the new wool one.

striped blanket

That done, I then searched for bamboo sheeting. Normally this is very expensive, but I found much more moderately priced linen from Luxury Bamboo Linen, based in Ireland. This is a 50-50 bamboo and cotton mix but claims to offer all the wicking quality required from 100 per cent bamboo, and comes in white or cream (more of a buttermilk colour) with wooden buttons. 

We ordered a kingsize set (duvet cover, fitted sheet and pillowcases) and when they arrived they proved to be extremely smooth and cool on the skin – they feel like Egyptian cotton – and the combination of that with the wool bedding has given me back a fantastically better – and dry – night.

Watch out for the sizing on this bedlinen if you order, as it’s very generous. I had to get Kingsize not Queensize to get the right width, but I’ll have to take the duvet cover in at the edges and top, as it’s very big. For now, however, I’ve buttoned it to our iron bedstead and we are using it like a double sheet under the wool duvet, which is in an Egyptian cotton cover.  

cellular blanket

The night sweats have been exacerbated by summer temperatures, of course, but the winter will be upon us before we know it, so I also decided on some wool blankets. These are meant to be better than duvets during menopause, as you can tailor the temperature more readily. New wool blankets are expensive, but in a local brocante, I found a gorgeous vintage blanket in eau-de-nil, lilac and yellow check, along with a pink paisley vintage eiderdown that had been refilled with new wool, so I bought those, along with vintage wool blankets from the UK in lilac merino, cream with blue stripes and a pale blue cellular weave (pictured). 

Triolinum

Finally, I high-tailed it to the chemist and asked for help before heading to my doctor and screaming for hormones. The pharmacist gave me Triolinum Jour Nuit, which is based on linseed. The day capsule contains linseed, heather (for irritability), calcium and Vitamin D, while the night capsule contains linseed, heather, lemon balm to aid sleep, melon extract to fight cell ageing, calclum and Vitamin D.

About 12 days after starting the course, my hot flushes and night sweats have once again disappeared. Long may that continue.

None of this comes particularly cheap, of course. We’ve spent, I reckon, £450 on the new bedding alone. But it’s a price I’m willing and able to pay right now for a good night’s sleep.  

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