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Essential Oils For Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
Anything that disturbs your sleep can be an absolute nightmare and have a wide range of unpleasant knock-on effects that lead to other health problems. A lack of sleep will lead to headaches, poor concentration, bad moods and slow healing among other things. Sleep is one of your body’s very most important functions so you need to do everything you can to ensure you get enough of it!
But when you have a problem like hot flashes, this can become incredibly difficult. Normally, hot flashes are associated with the menopause and are the result of hormonal changes – though there are other causes that can lead to this issue. Either way, if you experience flashes, then you’ll probably find yourself waking in the middle of the night feeling extremely hot, clammy and sweaty. You may be hydrated and you’ll probably find yourself disturbing your partner. In some cases, this can even put a strain on your relationship!
Here’s the bad news: there is unfortunately no ‘cure’ for the menopause. If you are suffering with the menopause, then your body is going through a permanent change and the symptoms won’t pass until the process is complete.
But the good news is that there are things you can do to make the symptoms a little more tolerable and to help yourself get better sleep in particular. Read on and we’ll look at some of these methods and in particular how you can use essential oils to get a better night’s sleep.
Can Essential Oils Really Help With the Menopause?
When researching the use of essential oils for hot flashes and night sweats, it’s very important that you put on your ‘cynical hat’. Essential oils have strong backing from a number of rigorous scientific studies demonstrating their ability to impact on the sympathetic nervous system and to trigger a number of other physiological and psychological changes in the body.
But while this is true, they certainly can’t cure every ailment under the sun. What’s more is that there are a lot of resources on the web that just don’t understand how essential oils work or what they’re capable of.
For instance, one source claims that ‘lemon oil helps the body clear out energy’. This is a complete ‘nothing’ statement. It’s not ‘wrong’ because it doesn’t mean anything in the first place! Be very careful when taking this kind of advice.
While there’s a lot of nonsense out there on the web though, there’s also a lot of good advice. We’re interested in what works so let’s take a look at some of those methods here…
How to Use Essential Oils to Prevent Night Sweats
Take a Warm Bath With Peppermint Oil
One strategy you can use to get some relief from hot flashes is to take a nice long bath with peppermint oil. The bath itself is already going to be very useful for improving your body temperature throughout the night: your body will fight to cool you down after the bath and that will ensure you stay cooler through the night and are better able to regulate your temperature.
At the same time though, you can also benefit from the use of peppermint oil (add about 10 drops to a full bath) as this will help you to cool your body in the short term. Peppermint oil contains l-menthol and you’ll likely familiar with the cooling effect this can have on the body. Eucalyptus is another good one for this.
Apply Some Eucalyptus Oil to the Temples/Forehead
Another strategy is to benefit from that cooling effect throughout the night. While you can’t really cover your whole body in cooling oils and go to sleep that way (you’d be very slick and your partner would not thank you), rubbing a little just into your temples or forehead can make you feel a lot cooler and prevent headaches associated with hot flashes. Keep some by your bed and just apply it when you wake up to get some immediate relief. The effect of massaging into the temples (gently) or into the forehead can also be very soporific.
Note that this is a strong essential oil that can aggravate the skin. Thus it is necessary to mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil first.
Inhale Some Clary Sage Oil to Fix Your Hormones
Clary sage oil is one of the essential oils that is most commonly recommended for treating a range of ‘women’s problems’ including PMS and menopause. It is even believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac and to encourage labor in pregnant women.
And it turns out that it might just be able to do all those things, with some solid science behind the idea. Clary sage oil contains a large number of different esters and is thought to be able to stimulate the release of oxytocin, testosterone and other sex/relationship hormones.
Many women claim that this can be helpful for reducing menstrual cramps as well as night sweats. Give it a try by adding about 10 drops to a bath tub full of water. There is certainly nothing to lose by giving it a go!
Drink a Lemon Oil Beverage to Sleep More Deeply
Another option is to use lemon oil. Lemon oil boosts the immune system by delivering vitamin C when consumed (though no more than something like orange juice) and it also provides the body with a little mood boost by increasing serotonin. That’s no coincidence – vitamin C stimulates the production of serotonin!
So if you’re looking for a warm drink that you can enjoy before bed, then consider adding a couple of drops of lemon oil to a mug full of hot water as directed by the packaging. A warm beverage is something many people find highly relaxing and this on its own is always going to be useful for helping you to sleep better.
What’s more though, is that the production of serotonin also increases the production of melatonin. That’s because the brain converts serotonin into melatonin, using it as a building block. This is why after we’ve eaten (triggering lots of feel good hormone), we often feel incredibly sleepy and need to go and kick back on the couch! This means you’re more likely to drift off to sleep a bit more heavily and to then wake up in a better mood – both very handy things when you’re struggling with the menopause. And it means you might not be woken when you get a bit hot.
Valerian Root Oil
Valerian root oil is a particularly effective essential oil when it comes to enhancing sleep. This can be inhaled, or it can be applied to the body and absorbed through the skin.
The main benefit of valerian root is that it increases the production of GABA. This is the same substance that anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medications) promote. The reason for this is that GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that it suppresses the firing of neurons in the brain and thereby stops your thoughts from keeping you awake. It also helps to relax the smooth muscle tissue and in short helps you drift off into a much deeper sleep. In fact, it’s even used by bodybuilders who value its ability to help them fall into a deep sleep during which they’ll build more muscle mass!
Many people associate lavender with sleep and will try to increase the scent of lavender in the room by burning the oil or using products scented with lavender.The reason for this? Simple: it’s relaxing. If you find yourself waking up anxious in the night and sweating, then try adding a few drops of lavender to a tissue and keeping it under your pillow. The scent will make it a lot easier for you to get back to sleep, thereby helping you to avoid the sweats from damaging your rest too much.
As an added bonus, using lavender oil in this way will mean you gradually come to associate that scent with sleep more and more. This is incredibly valuable because it will eventually mean that the smell alone prepares your body for bed and causes it to release lots of sleep-related hormones.
Finally, eucalyptus oil has the benefit of being a vasodilator. This means it can widen the blood vessels thereby helping the blood to flow around the body with less work by the heart. This will reduce your body temperature slightly which means you’re just that bit less likely to wake up feeling boiling hot!