Now why am I sweating at night?
Hey new moms! I hope motherhood is treating you well. But if you’re struggling…that’s ok too, that’s probably why you found us and our Sleep Tips page. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I’ve now witnessed the births of 11 of my closest nieces, nephews, God babies, and bestie kiddos. And it’s been a joy to watch my friends go through this miraculous stage of life (except for the sweaty/leaky parts). 😉 If I’ve learned one thing – new mom night sweats are incredibly common!
And an added disclaimer when I say “witnessed” above, I don’t mean IN the delivery room – that’s where you’d find my Mom, a Labor & Delivery nurse for over 30 years! That’s also why I’ve always been so informed about hormones, pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, and menopause all these years. Yep, I knew about the birds and the bees long before my friends even knew what a French Kiss was…and let me tell you, it didn’t make me any more *popular*.
So, why take “new mom advice” from me? Because sweat is my business.
I’ve suffered from night sweats my entire life; last night was a bad one, in fact. Mine come, usually announced, but typically from common sources: hormones and stress. I’m not the type of person who gets stressed out during the day, but boy when I let my body rest and nod off into dream land, that’s when my brain finally feels like it can shout from the rooftops, “Man, today was tough! It’s my turn to freak out.” If you believe that stress is to blame for your night sweats, read more in depth here on one of the blogs I wrote a few years ago.
Now, onto new mom night sweats and hormones. It’s highly likely that if you suffered from night sweats or hot flashes during your menstrual cycles when you were younger, you likely experienced them during your early pregnancy (first trimester) and the third trimester (around week 30), too. Pregnancy night sweats and hot flashes are a result of pronounced hormonal changes, with dramatic increases in both estrogen and progesterone. These hormones, as you know, “work” in the hypothalamus, which controls your daily physiological cycles, appetite, sexual arousal, emotional responses, and most importantly, your body temperature.
There are plenty of articles that discuss why you’re sweating during your pregnancy, but what about after? New mom (or postpartum) night sweats are a whole new ballgame and one that’s not discussed outside of the scientific community very well.
New Mom Night Sweats Explained
Hormonal fluctuations are mainly to blame for your new mom night sweats, and much like my night sweats, they typically come in unannounced and like a freight train. Inexplicable crying, increased sentimentality, feeling frazzled, erratic anger, and….an internal thermostat that you “just can’t control” are all common during hormonal flushing. “Flushing” refers to your body’s release of the hormones which affect blood flow, and these can cause reddening and blotching of the face, neck, chest, and upper torso.
Now onto some of the more interesting new mom night sweats and hot flash indicators:
- Ethnicity (African-American women report higher instances of hot flashes)
- Employment status
- Depressive symptoms
- Pre-pregnancy BMI (body mass index)
- Alcohol/tobacco use
In one of the more recent study’s , elevated depressive symptoms were the most consistent predictors of hot flashes and increased sweat production in both pregnancy and after delivery. Depressive symptoms may predispose a woman to reporting hot flashes via changes in central neuroendocrine function (nerve cells that make hormones), and elevated propensity to report physical symptoms (rapid heart rate, increased sweating, tightening in chest), and, in this case, sleep disturbances. These sleep disturbances are precisely why topics like new mom night sweats and hot flashes are important to us at Wicked Sheets. We exist to help you sleep cool and dry.
Sleep tips to help you cope with new mom night sweats tonight:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
- Keep a fan next to your side of the bed.
- Keep a glass of water next to your bed, in an insulated cup if you can.
- Invest in breathable, loose-fitting pajamas; nothing constricting or with a lot of elastic.
- Minimize layers on your bed (think mattress pads, if you must) and avoid the 3 F’s: feathers, fleece, & fur.
- Choose moisture-wicking, quick dry bedding to minimize interruptions due to we bedding
*For more on breast feeding and night sweats, follow this link to one of our most popular blogs where CEO Alli took a body of scientific research and explained it in layman’s terms. Night sweats can be bad enough to deal with, Wicked Sheets’ mission is to provide products and support that provide the comfort we all need to get the rest we deserve.