Oh Boy!! It’s pretty hot in the UK right now. I can’t recall such a long period of dry, hot weather for a long time.
It’s great when you’re on holiday and can sit back and chill with an ice cool drink in your hand, but it’s definitely not so much fun when you’re trying to get on with your day – stuck in an office with no air con feeling that awful, all enveloping surge of heat rising up from your toes.
When you feel it coming on your heart starts to sink. As if 30º heat isn’t enough without our own, in-built boiler firing up too.
Well, thankfully, there are some things that you can do to deal with the hot flushes as they arise, and also to make life a little more comfortable longer term too.
Here, I’ve put together a quick list of my 10 top tips to help you beat the heat and hopefully feel a bit more comfortable in the Summer heat.
STOP!!! TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Assuming it’s safe to do so, and you’re not driving or something equally requiring of your full attention…. stop what you’re doing for a moment, close your eyes and take a few long, deep breaths. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Do this as soon as you feel that first surge of heat beginning to take hold and keep doing it until the heat subsides.
Here, you’re giving the parasympathetic nervous system (that part of the nervous system that slows everything down and basically does the opposite of our flight or fight response) time to take over and tell your body everything is ok.
Don’t underestimate the effect of deep breathing to instantly manage an upcoming flush.
USE THE POWER OF VISUALISATION
The brain is very clever but we can also trick it pretty easily.
When you close your eyes and take those deep breaths above, you should try and visualise something cool and calming.
Maybe standing in the middle of an open field, arms outstretched with cool raindrops raining down on your body.
Or perhaps imagine yourself diving into a cool swimming pool, or riding the cable car in your favourite ski resort, or running into the cool ocean at the beach.
Whatever works for you is fine – just get the imagination working over time.
Trick your brain into believing it’s cool.
CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING CAREFULLY
Choosing fabrics made from natural, rather than man made, materials will help keep you cool.
Fabrics such as cotton, linen, bamboo (yes honestly!), calico and if you can manage to feel sexy in this heat, maybe try a bit of silk!
Some companies are even making pyjamas that wick away moisture, meaning you can get through the night sweats without having to get changed at 3 in the morning.
Check out this Daily Telegraph article all about hot flush-proof pyjamas here.
Once you’ve got the right fabrics, it’s time to think about a bit of forward planning. It’s all very well being prepared for the heat, but what about when that breeze picks up and the sun goes down a bit later in the day and suddenly we’re feeling the chills.
The answer is to wear a few light layers that are easy to take off and on (nothing worse that doing a Harry Houdini impersonation as you struggle out of that sweat top!).
Keep the clothes you choose loose and comfortable.
It’s all very well dressing to impress, but you won’t feel very impressive in the midst of a hot flush, that’s for sure.
Try loose, linen trousers and a light cotton top, light cotton weave cardigan and maybe a linen jacket.
If you really do need to smarten things up, check out this linen trousers and jacket combo from Marks and Spencer
INVEST IN COOL, COTTON SHEETS
If things are hotting up in the bedroom, you might want to invest in some cooling bed sheets.
In fact, there are a range of sheets available these days that not only keep you cool, but also wick moisture away from you.
Avoid man made materials, for the same reasons as above.
Using a flat sheet as a cover rather than a duvet will certainly help you stay cooler on hot summer nights.
Although high quality, high thread count sheets may sound ideal, in reality a looser weave that allows air flow is more comfortable.
Have a look out for bamboo sheets and linen, both of which are excellent choices.
TRY A MENOPAUSE FRIENDLY MATTRESS
Often as we get older we go for a memory foam mattress to aid with aches and pains, but if you’re suffering with night sweats and overheating at night then this may well not be your best choice.
Going for a mattress made with natural fibres will serve you better.
Hybrid coil and latex mattresses are a good choice during menopause and investing in a ‘sleep cool’ mattress topper might also help, without the need to buy a new mattress.
LIMIT STIMULANTS SUCH AS CAFFEINE
There seems to be some evidence, and certainly my own anecdotal experience, that drinking caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola, exacerbates hot flushes and night sweats.
Changes in oestrogen levels during peri-menopause can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature and as caffeine speeds up the metabolism, it also fires up the menopausal engine.
Coupled with the fact that the majority of our caffeine intake tends to come in the form of hot drinks, which will also raise the body temperature, it’s probably best to avoid them where possible.
If poor sleep is also a factor in your menopause, then avoiding caffeine will have a positive effect on the quality of your sleep too.
AND WHAT ABOUT ALCOHOL?
Sorry to tell you this, but there’s also some evidence to suggest that alcohol is another trigger when it comes to hot flushes.
Like caffeine, alcohol increases body temperature and causes ‘flushing’. We nearly all know someone who, whether menopausal or not, turns beetroot red after just a small glass of wine!
Reducing or eliminating alcohol during peri-menopause may help reduce the number and severity of hot flushes.
If you find you’re sensitive to caffeine and/or alcohol, best to just cut it out temporarily.
FIND YOUR INNER PEACE
We spoke earlier about deep breathing and visualisation as an instant relief for hot flushes, but longer term we want to be finding ways to reduce stress.
Unfortunately worrying about the embarrassing and distressing effects of hot flushes can lead to an increase in stress, which in turn releases stress hormones, in particular cortisol, into the bloodstream, which can actually trigger a hot flush.
So the more we worry and fret about the possibility of a hot flush coming on, the more likely we are to have one.
Using meditation and midfulness practices can be hugely beneficial in reducing the negative thoughts that can create chronic stress and bouts of anxiety.
Incorporating restorative exercise such as yoga can also help to create space to allow you to manage your feelings of overwhelm, worry and anxiety.
CONSIDER TAKING SUPPLEMENTS
There are a number of supplements that may help to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes.
B Vitamins, particularly B9 (folic acid) can be found in soy and soy products including tofu and soy dairy alternatives, however if you were to take a B Complex supplement it may help.
Omega 3, found in oily fish and fish oil supplements, is vital for cell health and has been shown to help reduce both the frequency and intensity of menopause symptoms, particularly hot flushes.
Fat is also essential for hormone production and balance, and it is this imbalance that occurs during per-menopause that creates the inability for the body to regulate its temperature effectively.
So there you go, a mix of short and longer term solutions to help you get through the hot weather as comfortably as possible.
You might also be interested in downloading a copy of my FREE e-book, Fifty, Fit and Fabulous, Midlife Mastery from the Inside Out, in which I offer some additional strategies to help you navigate this turbulent, but equally exciting, time in your life.
Simply click on the image below to get the ebook sent directly to your inbox.
Let me know how you get along with the tips above.
Love Bev x
Bev Thorogood is owner and founder of Floresco Health and Lifestyle Coaching (formerly Fitness and Fat Loss Coaching). She’s a PN1 Certified Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, a personal trainer, exercise instructor, wife, mum and Nan!
You know, you don’t have to suffer through menopause. I work with clients to help them make the health and lifestyle changes necessary to thrive, rather than simply survive, their menopause.
I’d love to invite you to book a FREE 50 minute menopause breakthrough call with me to see how I can help you to take full control of your menopause and get you back to feeling like you again.
You can book directly using the link below. You’ll be under no obligation and the call is absolutely free.
If you’re ready RIGHT NOW to take back control of your midlife, make that call xx