Sleepless In Menopause. That’s the story of many menopausal women, night after night (courtesy night sweats and hot flashes). All this, however, can change, and there are many natural remedies are available.
You can start with changing your pillow. Special pillows for night sweats are available, and the best ones keep you cool even during the worst hot flash episodes.
Read on to know how choosing a best pillow for night sweats can help you sleep better and our review of top 5 such pillows.
Quick Picks: Reviews of Good Pillows for Night Sweats
Where to Buy
Night Sweats: What & Why
Night sweats are uncomfortable and can sweep away sleep. Best described as a momentary sensation of heat accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating, night sweats can last up to 30 seconds to several minutes.
If you’ve never had a night sweat (lucky you!), you might confuse them with normal sweating. The central difference between the two is that while normal sweating is related to an overheated environment, night sweats are not.
The former happens when you wear too many bedclothes or the bedroom is excessively warm.
You can get instant relief by removing extra bedclothes or lowering the bedroom temperature. This, however, is not so in the case of night sweats. They occur because of certain things going in the body, like hormonal changes during menopause in women. Sure, if the room is hot, night sweats will be worse, but they will still occur, though sweating might be less, if the room’s temperature is lowered.
Women usually experience night sweats during menopause and perimenopause. Men also experience their share of sweaty nights during the male menopause, referred by many as androgen decline. Other causes include Idiopathic hyperhidrosis (a condition in which the body sweats excessively without any identifiable medical cause), infections, medications, and cancers.
How to Beat Night Sweats Naturally with Pillows
Being too hot in night can make it difficult to initiate sleep and stay in it. Help, however, is available in many forms, one of which goes by the name of hot flash cooling pillow.
Such pillows can keep you cool and dry under the head, helping you gently fall into a peaceful, undisturbed slumber. There are different types night sweats pillows. Some common types are briefly described ahead.
Keep in mind that some pillows can be refrigerated.
You have two options in this category. Pillow mats, which can be used with or without refrigeration, and wrap-around-the-neck pillows, which can be used only after refrigeration.
The wrap-around pillows provide instant relief, but they usually don’t last all night. Most such pillows provide maximum cold for only half an hour, after which the coolness declines gradually (but they remain effective for a few hours).
You might want to buy a pair to ensure one hot flash cooling pillow is available all the time. One big advantage is that you can use them during the day as well, even while doing daily activities. To get relief, all you got to do is wrap them around the neck to kick away the hot flash.
When buying a wrap-around pillow, consider the following three things: the duration of time for which the pillow remains cold enough to be effective, the weight (the lighter the weight, the more easily you’ll be able to wear it around the neck), and the outer material (opt for something that is soft to touch).
For pillow mats, too, you need to consider the above points, though you don’t need to worry about weight as all mats are lightweight.
Try combo pillows.
Usually makers offer a combination of memory foam and gel, with one side being foam and the other a gel layer. Gel particles improve the breathability and wick away moisture, keeping you cool and dry under the head.
The time duration for which the gel side remains cool is something you must check when buying this kind of pillow. The other thing is the comfort factor, for you might not like to use a pillow that keeps you cool but is uncomfortable to sleep upon.
Water pillows may also be a good option.
They are cooler than many other pillow types, but come with a few drawbacks: they are heavy, noisy, and costly.
What Other Things Can Help You
Apart from using a cooler pillow, the things listed below will help you prevent or reduce the intensity of hot flashes.
- Avoid the triggers. Know triggers of hot flashes include caffeine, cigarette smoke, stress, alcohol, and spicy foods.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Wear light layers of clothes like cotton. Also exercise daily. Cycling, dancing, swimming, and walking are all good choices.
- Practice deep, slow abdominal breathing (6 to 8 breaths in one minute) for 15 minutes in morning and evening each as well as at the onset of a hot flash.
- Consider consuming soya protein (40 to 60 mg) daily. Soya products might help reduce hot flushes. Opt for natural soya products rather than supplements.
Review of 5 of the Best Pillows for Night Sweats
Where to Buy
SeasonSense Molded Memory Foam Gel Pillow
For sweaty nights, use the cooling gel side. Some gel pillows don’t actually keep the head and neck cool; they only prevent heat build-up. Lying on this pillow, however, I could feel the coolness coming from it. You might want to try it out if you hot flashes trouble you.
The COOLMAX cover is another positive. It improves breathability of the pillow and effectively wicks away the moisture, helping you stay dry and cool under the head and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
The memory foam side is medium firm. It provides good support to the neck and the head.
When not bothered by hot flashes or in cold weather, or even otherwise if you want, you can enjoy the comfort and softness of down alternative.
The pillow is machine washable as well as hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. Asthma sufferers can use with without a worry.
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow
This pillow keeps you comfortable under the head. While you won’t feel any coolness coming from it, it certainly doesn’t get warm like many other pillows. It worked for me and am sure will do form most sleepers.
It uses a 100% cotton cover (300 thread count) which is comfortable. It also improves breathability of the pillow.
The Sleep Better pillow is firm, so it won’t sink when you lay your head over it. It also provides good support to the neck and head. It has a good thickness to it. However, if you’ve a small neck, you might find it little too thick.
Side sleepers with a big frame may find the pillow a tad small. For me, however, it is big enough and I am a side sleeper (but, then, I don’t have a big frame, either).
This pillow is made in the USA. If you prefer products made in the country (like I do), you’ve another reason to consider it.
Gel'O Cool Pillow Mat
Without refrigeration, the pillow mat stays cool enough to make you comfortable. Those who like it really cold can use it after putting it into the refrigerator for a few minutes.
The mat is adequately big and wide, so size will not be a problem for most, if not all, users. It is also thing enough and not stiff, so you can use it with all types of pillows. However, restless sleepers might not like it tends to shift or slip a little. Use some Velcro if this bothers you.
Unlike some other mats, this one doesn’t use water. So you don’t have to worry about crackling plastic or leaking with this one.
I found that the pillow remained cool sufficiently long. However, some users may find otherwise. It all depends how “hot head” you are. My hot flashes are not severe, so I could use one for a few hours. But even then one pillow doesn’t suffice for the whole night.
All in all, this is an effective cool pillow mat. You might want to check it out if hot flashes are keeping you away from sleep.
Sleep Innovations Queen Size Reversible Gel Memory Foam Pillow
The gel memory foam side is the one you would want to use on those sweaty nights. Thanks to gel portion, the side keeps you cool. The coolness is evenly spread, which is a good thing for side sleepers who keep changing sides frequently in sleep.
The gel memory foam side is medium-firm. It contours to your head and neck nicely and relieves unwanted pressure points.
The other side uses SureTemp memory foam. It has a medium-soft feel to it, which those used to soft pillows might find very useful. I like firm pillows, and so didn’t use this side much.
The pillow is hypoallergenic. If you have asthma or are someone who is allergic, you can safely use this pillow.
The Sleep Innovations Pillow is made in America. This is one additional reason why I like it more than some other pillows. If you like products that are made at home and are looking for a 2-in-1 pillow, you might want to consider this pillow.
Outlast Temperature Regulating Fiber Filled Bed Pillow
This pillow is not very soft, nor is it very firm. It is comfortable and good support. Both back sleepers and side sleepers can use it.
It is very breathable, so good for people who sweat more than normal. I found the pillow did get a little warm under the head but not so much that I would feel uncomfortable. However, I sweat profusely. Those who sweat less might find that it does cool the head.
The fabric has a cooling effect which you feel immediately when you lie on the pillow (why doesn’t it last all night; that would’ve been just wonderful!). The cotton cover is very comfortable and improves airflow.
It’s been a few weeks since I purchased it, and the pillow is holding well. There’s no sagging in middle.
There’s no mention in the product description about it being hypoallergenic. Asthma sufferers might want to drop a line to the manufacturer before buying it.