Hot flashes and/or night sweats, medically referred to as vasomotor symptoms, are the most common and troubling feelings associated with menopause. There was a recent study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that reported that nighttime hot flashes can trigger mild depressive symptoms in women during menopause. Researchers gave women in the study a drug to chemically lower and mimic low estrogen levels during menopause. They found that disrupted sleep and the more times women were able to recall their nighttime hot flashes were associated with mild symptoms of depression.
Fortunately, there’s an array of natural remedies to address and help you cope with these hormonal and mood imbalances. I recommend these 5 natural remedies to lighten your mood, eliminate hot flashes, and help you sleep through the night.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- The most widely researched natural antidepressant effective for mild to moderate depression. The flower buds contain the active ingredients responsible for its effects on the brain. It works similar to anti-depressants where it's been linked to raising the "feel-good" or "happy" neurotransmitter, serotonin. St. John's wort interacts with many prescription medications so it best to discuss with your health care provider before you consider purchasing.
- As we age, our nighttime levels of melatonin fall. Your mental health is intricately tied to your circadian rhythm, your 24-hour internal light-dark cycle. Melatonin can regulate our mood by balancing the light and dark rhythm. This study showed that aging women treated with melatonin reported improvement of mood and a significant alleviation of depressive symptoms. Dosages up to 5 mg may be helpful for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with sleep disorders.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
- Omega-3s are essential to our health meaning it is required for our body functions. The body cannot make it so it must be supplied in our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids work to promote a healthy mood and reduce the number of hot flashes.
- Several studies have found that Vitamin D improves depressive symptoms in patients with significant depression. It helps produce your happy hormones (Adrenalin, Noradrenaline, and Dopamine) and help keep dopamine and serotonin levels high in the brain.
- The core of yoga practices is based on physical postures and relaxation breathing techniques. Hormonal changes that occur during menopause are thought to dysregulate the temperature control. Several studies have found that yoga reducing hot flashes.
Given the results of this study, it would be worthwhile to be screen for mood disturbances by your doctor if you are experiencing any changes in your body. Looking for a natural alternative, let’s talk about it.