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15 Disturbing Things That Happen to Your Body When You’re Sleep-Deprived Slideshow

15 Disturbing Things That Happen to Your Body When You’re Sleep-Deprived Slideshow


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Functioning on just a few hours a night is seriously not OK

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15 Disturbing Things That Happen to Your Body When You’re Sleep-Deprived

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When life gets crazy and it’s time to cut things out, oftentimes the first thing to go is our sleep. College students never get enough rest, parents are always somehow sleep-deprived, and even young professionals are constantly pressured to achieve more with their free time and, as a consequence, sleep less.

The issue has rapidly worsened over the past couple generations. According to the American Psychological Association, “only 20 percent of adults say the quality of their sleep is very good or excellent.” That means one-fifth of Americans are satisfied with their sleep. That’s pretty dismal.

Our communal and chronic lack of sleep is actually quite new. In 1942, less than 8 percent of people reported scraping by on six or fewer hours of sleep a night. In 2017, however, nearly half of us do it. And for what? Are we accomplishing more, getting healthier, or advancing society by depriving ourselves of a basic human need? Not at all.

It’s likely the opposite — failing to get enough sleep doesn’t feel good, as you probably are aware. And there’s a reason it makes you feel so terrible. Sleep deprivation is really bad for you, especially when the lack becomes chronic and habitual, and has a lot of really frightening effects on our physical health.

You’re Unable to Smile as Often

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Not only do you feel miserable, but you look miserable, too. “When people get sleep-deprived, they don’t show positive emotion in their faces,” said David Dinges, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Even when sleep-deprived people said they were happy, they couldn’t express it naturally. And happiness really affects your health — so don’t even get us started on the scary outcomes of neglecting to smile.

You Fall Into ‘Microsleeps’ Throughout the Day

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Even after just one night of failing to get enough sleep, the body can start inducing “microsleeps,” short episodes where you fall asleep uncontrollably. The episodes usually last less than 30 seconds and can occur with eyes open — without you even being aware of the lapse. Though you do snap out of it and wake up again, another episode is likely within minutes.

During the microsleep, you’re essentially blind and completely immune to your surroundings. Kind of scary for a person getting behind the wheel, isn’t it?

You’re Stressed Out

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Not to stress you out, but if you’re not sleeping, your stress hormones are flying through the roof. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, have been associated with higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and damaging inflammation.

What’s worse is that the cortisol then prevents you from being able to fall asleep later — creating what the American Psychological Association called the “sleep-stress cycle.” That’s a downward spiral you do not want to have to crawl your way out of.

You Could Have Higher Blood Pressure

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You Dumb Down

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If you have a big exam in the morning, sleeping might be better for your grade than a few extra hours of studying. Pretty much all of your cognitive processes (i.e., the things that make your brain work) rely on adequate sleep. When you don’t get enough, it impairs your learning ability, reaction time, attention span, and even overall intelligence.

Your Sex Drive Diminishes

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If you’re trying to spice things up in bed, it’s possible the only thing you need to change is how many hours you’re sleeping in it. Dozens of studies have suggested that sleep-deprivation leads to a lowered libido and a lack of sexual drive. This is probably because of the serious lack of energy you experience when you haven’t slept enough — not to mention that your hormones are all out of whack. So if your partner’s griping, “I’m too tired,” you might want to just let them sleep.

You’re More Likely to Be Depressed

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Didn’t sleep enough last night? That’s depressing — literally. Depression and altered mood have been linked to a lack of sleep time and time again by saddening science. According to a study from the University of Pennsylvania, subjects who were limited to 4.5 hours of sleep each night for just one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When they started sleeping more again, they all reported a dramatic improvement in mood.

You’ll Get Intense Junk Food Cravings

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You Have Worse Judgement

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Ironically, most of this poor judgement ends up being about whether they need to be getting more sleep. “Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it,” sleep expert Phil Gehrman, Ph.D., told Web MD. “There’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.” Regardless of the perception that we’re doing fine without our nightly eight hours, studies show that the effects of sleep aggregate over time.

Your Immune System Gets Weaker

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If you’re wondering when your immune system has time to build up its ranks, here’s your answer — it’s while you’re sleeping. That’s when protective compounds like cytokines are produced; without sleep, your immune system weakens without the support it needs to ward off infection.

Exercise Is Less Effective

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Kids Could Experience Stunted Growth

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This must be why babies can sleep so much. According to studies, 70 percent of growth hormones are released during sleep. Failing to sleep enough can actually stunt your growth in the long run. Nap time is more important than you thought!

You’ll Become Forgetful

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Always forgetting where you left your keys? It could be a sign you need to get to bed earlier. Your memory depletes in tandem with the hours you spend sleeping each night. Your short-term memory gets worse because your attention span suffers. Your long-term memory gets worse because memories are solidified during hours spent unconscious. So in every way possible, it makes you forgetful.

Your Blood Sugar Goes Haywire

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A lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, and this is precisely why. When you don’t sleep, your insulin levels are thrown off. Your body becomes less effective at bringing your blood sugar down again after it spikes, and your fluctuating blood sugar makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep once you finally crawl under the covers — just like these 15 poor choices for a bedtime snack.


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


How to Find Relief for Hot Flashes at Night

You wake up in a pool of sweat, feeling like the heat somehow got cranked up to 100 degrees. Alas, the problem isn’t the furnace but your internal thermostat.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Welcome to the world of hot flashes.

“Not everyone experiences hot flashes during perimenopause, but they are very common,” says Women’s Health Specialist Holly Thacker, MD. As many as 3 in 4 women have hot flashes in the years leading up to their last period.

Hot flashes are uncomfortable any time of day, but they can be especially annoying at night when they mess with your sleep. “And disrupted sleep causes so many problems for women’s functioning,” Dr. Thacker adds.

Here’s how to survive these nocturnal trips to the tropics.

Understanding hot flashes

Surely you’re too young for hot flashes, right? (RIGHT?) Maybe not. Most women start having symptoms of perimenopause in their 40s. Those symptoms include irregular periods, vaginal dryness and yes, hot flashes.

Hot flashes feel like you’ve been swallowed by a wave of heat. You might sweat, turn red and feel your heart start to race. When they come at night, it’s common to wake up drenched in sweat. And when flashes finally subside, they’re often followed by chills.

Hot flashes might last only 5 minutes or so. But by then, you’re wide awake and super annoyed. For many women, hot flashes are a part of their lives for months or even years. That all adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats aren’t dangerous, and they don’t technically need to be treated. But if they’re interfering with your slumber or otherwise making you miserable, help is available.

“For many women, the best treatment is hormone replacement therapy,” says Dr. Thacker.

Hormone therapy can even out the hormonal ups and downs that are common during perimenopause, relieving hot flashes and other symptoms.

Many women are wary of hormone replacement, but it’s a safe and effective treatment, Dr. Thacker says, and its bad reputation is undeserved.

True, hormone replacement therapy isn’t recommended for some women, including those with certain kinds of cancers or those who have had blood clots, stroke or heart attack.

But for most healthy women, the treatment is a safe way to deal with the uncomfortable side effects of perimenopause, she says. “For most midlife women, hormone therapy will help them feel and function better.”

Remedies for hot flashes

If you can’t (or don’t want to) take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

  • Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
  • Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
  • Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
  • Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.

Many women turn to herbs and supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found little evidence that they’re effective, Dr. Thacker says.

Scientists are also testing a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, she adds. It’s a potentially exciting development, but one that’s not available just yet.

In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, and talk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage of life.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy


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