Hot throughout the night or perhaps intermittently? Menopause is far from the only cause of waking up sweaty and throwing the blankets off. Often this is not a main symptom that new clients come in to have addressed but it is circled on the intake form. When I see this, I use it as a major clue as to which body systems are out of balance.
Naturopathic Physicians pride themselves for paying attention to details. First office visits usually are about 1 hour and go through all body systems and medical histories. Night sweats point to hormonal imbalances that could be associated with estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, insulin and even thyroid.
For example, if a 25 year old male has insomnia and tendencies for anxiety or worry, my first inclination is to explore other symptoms related to cortisol (our stress hormone). Stressful life situations, fatigue, intense exercising, hangry if hasn’t eaten recently, carbohydrate/sugar/salt cravings and even hair loss or acne are signs that also indicate cortisol imbalance. Salivary testing of cortisol levels throughout the day can confirm either excess production or low levels of cortisol which guide treatment options.
One of my favorite cortisol-lowering supplement uses herbal medicine with constituents from magnolia trees. This beautiful tree blooms in early spring with huge pink flowers all over Vancouver, but it is the bark that has been shown to decrease cortisol production. Cortisol levels must be just right for sleeping restfully – even very low levels can cause insomnia. Supplementing just before bed in individuals that test high in the evening can make all the difference with night sweats and sleep disruption/insomnia. If you are experiencing night sweats and have not brought it up yet, please let your Naturopathic Physician know so that you can work towards restful sleeps.