Beating the Heat: Handling Hot Flashes in the Summer
Hot flashes during menopause are when your body suddenly – and temporarily – reaches a fever heat. You may find yourself breaking into a sweat, dizzy, light-headed, and unable to cool down. Hot flashes can be more intense in the summer when high temperatures and humidity can intensify your feelings of internal heat.
Fortunately, this isn’t the first time hot flashes have hit in the summer and we have generations of data – plus some cool modern tech – that can help you more comfortably handle summertime hot flashes.
Beating the Heat This Summer with Hot Flashes
Meditate Through Your Hot Flashes
Hot flashes often come with an anxiety reaction or panic under the sudden oppressive heat. However, getting excited only increases your body temperature. Instead, perfect the ability to remain zen during a hot flash. Consider mindfulness and meditation when you feel your temperature rising. It may help to “think cool thoughts” or simply think no thoughts at all as the hot flash passes over you like fast-moving weather.
Dress in Light, Comfortable Layers
Anyone who deals with regular temperature changes, internal or external, learns to wear layers. For summertime hot flashes, wear a lightweight tanktop and breathable pants, then layer more complete shirts and wraps until you can be comfortable normally in the AC and then suddenly help yourself cool off by efficiently removing your overshirt and accessories. When the hot flash is done, the right layers help you quickly regain comfort and composure.
Keep a Personal Desk Fan
Keep a fan nearby. In a business or home office, you can often place a small fan under, beside, or on your desk to provide direct cooling when you need it. Many women going through menopause have also discovered the value of a handheld fan kept in a drawer or purse. Get the kind with a water reservoir and misting for added on-demand cooling.
Walk Barefoot on Cold Tile
Need to cool down fast? Slip off your shoes and walk on the nearest air-conditioned tile floor. You can drain heat from your body through the bottoms of your feet with a cool walk. If you’re in the right place, you might consider dipping you’re bare feet into a cool summertime pool, pond, or even running cold water over your feet in the tub.
If your backyard or corporate lawn is shady, a cool walk on the shaded patio or soft grass might do the trick.
Hone Your Summer Sleep Environment
Hot flashes at night can be the most challenging, as nobody likes night sweats. So prepare your sleep environment. Get breathable, cooling, and moisture-wicking sheets. Consider a fast-drying mattress cover if you regularly wake up soaked. Place a fan in your room to keep your sleep environment breezy, with the added bonus of white noise, and use a dehumidifier if you live in a humid summer region.
From there, try to get the same amount of sleep at the same times every day and improve your sleep quality in little ways to reduce the risk of hot flashes.
Regular Exercise in Cooling Ways
Regular exercise can also help regulate your body, though you may not feel like it in the summer heat. Compromise with cooling ways to work out. Find a pool where you can swim weekly, or an air conditioner vent that creates the perfect refrigerated place for your yoga mat. In the right environment, you can splash cold water regularly to keep cool while maintaining your desired workout rate.
Jump In the Shower Often
Speaking of cool water, those working at home can step in and out of the shower with each hot flash. Set the water to summer-cool or lukewarm and quickly cool. Choose a wardrobe you can remove and put on quickly and keep your towel hang-drying nearby. One of the luxuries of working at home is that a 5-10 minute shower is very efficient if you would already lose that time to the distraction of overheating.
Avoid Spicy Foods and Hot Drinks
You can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes by avoiding certain things in the summer. Spicy foods tend to raise the body temperature while caffeine increases the speed of your body’s functions. Alcohol can negatively influence hot flashes, and hot drinks may become unpleasant during this time.
Wear Off-the-Neck Hairstyles
The back of your neck is a crucial place to trap or release heat, which is why we wear scarves in the winter. You can do the opposite by pulling your hair off the back of your neck for summertime hairstyles. If you like your hair down, try an elastic headband that pulls your hair just a half-inch up off the base of your head to create a channel of cooling airflow.
Drape a Cold Towel Around Your Neck
You can also cool your neck directly with a chilled towel. Damp a towel or take a gel neck pillow and put it in the freezer for 5-20 minutes. When it’s cool or cold, drape it over the back of your neck during a hot flash. You can keep gel neck pillows in the fridge for quick hot flash cool-offs.
If you are experiencing hot flashes in the summer, it doesn’t have to be devastating. There are plenty of ways to keep cool, reduce the rate and intensity of hot flashes, and quickly cool off when a flash gets too hot.
June 17, 2022