Night sweats are heinous enough in the summer months, but when you’re plagued with them in the fall and winter, it’s an unsexy situation that involves a whole other strategy. Whether they’re a side effect of your medication or a medical issue, cold-weather bedroom warm fronts can be managed with a little extra laundry and some intel.
Here, we caught up with NYC cosmetic dermatologist Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, to discuss everything from how often you should be washing your bed linens to the unlikely heat-emission item you probably have near your bed.
See your medical professional.
“If your room is comfortably cool, you are not wearing thick clothing, and are not covered by thick covers, it is possible that the night sweats are due to an underlying medical condition,” Shah explains. “Also if you’re experiencing other symptoms or the night sweats are persistent, it’s possibly due to a medical condition, hormonal changes, etc. That’s something you should have checked out by a doctor.”
Stick it in the freezer.
Your sheets and pillow case, that is. If you have room, Shah says that popping your bed linens in the freezer for a bit will help cool you down.
Take a cool shower.
Before bed, take a polar bear-style rinse before slipping into the sheets. If you’re pressed for time (or are a committed morning shower enthusiast), simply dip your feet in cold water before bed. Shah explains, “Feet and ankles have a lot of pulse points.”
Keep gadgets elsewhere.
“Don’t plug gadgets and other electronics next to where you sleep, as they emit heat,” says Shah. (We’re definitely guilty of this one.)
Apply cold compresses.
Shah recommends freezing a hot water bottle filled with water, and using it as an ice pack. “Apply cold compresses or ice packs to pulse points in the neck, elbows, wrists, ankles, and behind the knees,” she says.
Don light PJs.
Shah says to invest in some that are made of loose, lightweight cotton. “Pajamas allow air circulation and wick sweat away, whereas sleeping in the nude might actually make you hotter,” Shah says. Of course, some of this comes down to personal preference.
Wash your night clothes every one to four wears.
Shah notes that this depends on what you wear to sleep, as well as other factors, including how much you sweat, whether you shower before bed, and if they are otherwise soiled. She generally recommends throwing your pajamas in the wash every one to four wears.
Clean sheets and pillowcases weekly.
Shah says to launder these items once a week—and possibly more often if you sweat a lot. Pillow protectors and mattress covers can be washed once a month.
Launder your pillow itself.
Shah says to wash your pillows every three to six months. “If you sweat a lot at night, then you will probably want to wash them closer to every three months,” she says.