Hot Flashes Happen. Here’s Why + Doctor-Approved Tips for Cooling Off

Hot Flashes Happen. Here’s Why + Doctor-Approved Tips for Cooling Off

Have you ever felt a heat wave spread through your face, chest, and neck? Suddenly your cheeks are red and your upper lip is sweating. You scan the room for the nearest fan, or run to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face. 

As you seek relief, you might be wondering what’s happening with your body. If you’re a woman over the age of 40, you’re likely having a hot flash. 

Hot flashes, also known as vasomotor symptoms, are an uncomfortable and often inconvenient experience that can come with aging. Specifically, they’re a common component of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. It’s thought around 75% of all women in these life stages get hot flashes.1 And as we discovered in our own Women’s Health Survey conducted during the development of our her life STAGES™ line, out of all the symptoms you go through, hot flashes are a top concern, one for which you need and want support.

What are hot flashes? Why do hot flashes happen? And what can we do to make them more comfortable? Hot flashes have been misunderstood for too long. We’re here to share the good and the bad, even the downright sweltering, facts about hot flashes so you can own your stage.

What Are Hot Flashes & What Causes Them?

As women age, hormone levels fluctuate. Starting in perimenopause and extending through postmenopause, decreased estrogen levels can cause your hypothalamus to become more sensitive to slight changes in your body’s temperature.2  

In fact, the hypothalamus acts as a thermostat, and a hot flash is actually your body’s attempt to cool you down. If the hypothalamus thinks your body is too warm, it will kick off a chain of events to lower your temperature. This collection of changes includes a sudden feeling of warmth in the chest, neck, and face; often a rapid heartbeat; and a chilled feeling as the hot flash recedes.3 Technically, you may be cooler after the hot flash is over, but the experience can be harrowing. This is especially true when you’re asleep; read more about night sweats below.

Certain environments can trigger or worsen hot flashes, like summer heat and humidity. Being in bright sunlight and moving from air conditioning to outdoor temperatures can sort of overwhelm the hypothalamus and cause a hot flash when you least expect it. Warm pajamas and bedding can produce a similar effect at night. Other lifestyle triggers include alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. So definitely think twice before going out for boozy drinks in the blazing sun. Keep reading for more tips to help ease hot flashes.

Night Sweats vs. Hot Flashes

The difference between hot flashes and night sweats might seem as simple as the time of day, but newer thinking suggests they are distinctly different. A hot flash can occur at any time and may or may not include sweating, whereas night sweats only occur during the evening and sleep and are defined by significant amounts of sweat. Research suggests many women find night sweats more bothersome.4  

That’s because not only are night sweats uncomfortable, they can cause significant difficulty sleeping, leaving you depleted and exhausted the next morning. Sometimes the sweating is so intense you have to change your sheets or immediately take a cold shower when you wake up. While night sweats are a normal part of aging, it’s important to take them seriously so you can rest easy.

Common triggers include spicy foods or hot drinks before bed, an overheated bedroom, too many blankets, and exercising before bedtime. Of course, there may not be a particular trigger for your night sweats. Either way, keeping your bedroom cool, wearing lightweight cotton pajamas, putting a cold pack under your pillow, and adding supplements can help ease them.

Will I Definitely Get Hot Flashes? How Long Do They Last?

It’s not a given that you’ll experience hot flashes in perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause. If roughly 75% of women experience them, that means 25% don’t. What’s more, they can vary in intensity from person to person. Some women may only ever have one hot flash, while they can be a regular occurance for others. Research suggests that women who don’t experience them may simply have a greater tolerance for changes in their body’s core temperature.5  

Most hot flashes only last about 1-5 minutes, though that can feel like eternity when you’re searching for relief.6 You may experience hot flashes and night sweats for 7-10 years or more, or again only have them a handful of times.7  

It’s Getting Hot in Here: Let’s Talk Openly About Menopause

Hot flashes and menopause have been taboo topics for generations, and we’re proud to help break the silence about these natural, normal hormonal milestones women move through as they age. You deserve accurate information about hot flashes and all the phases of menopause from compassionate medical professionals—and you deserve efficacious support you can count on. 

That’s why we turned to Dr. Pam Peeke to help formulate our her life STAGES line and to get advice on how to ease night sweats and hot flashes. She’s a clinical investigator, researcher, and an expert in women's health care who has practiced medicine for over 30 years, and has helped countless women navigate these life stages. 

“Early on in my career, menopause was never talked about,” says Dr. Peeke. “There was so much mystery that surrounded women's health for so many decades. I said to myself, why not change that up? Thankfully, things are shifting. And I’m glad to see women now standing up and saying, ‘We need to talk about what we require as we go through everything from menstruation to postmenopause.’”

As part of those conversations, Dr. Peeke likes to point out that menopausal women have lots to look forward to. For instance, she stresses that hot flashes lessen over time. “A woman gradually adapts to her new normal of energy, and she begins to create a new lifestyle that optimizes her health post menopause. You start a brand new chapter in your wellness.”

How to Ease Hot Flashes & Night Sweats: Advice From a Doctor

While you’re waiting for menopausal symptoms to cease, Dr. Peeke emphasizes there is a lot you can do to help yourself find comfort while you navigate your now. Here are some of her top tips for easing hot flashes and night sweats:

  • Dress in layers that you can remove when you feel a hot flash approaching.
  • The moment you feel one coming on, take several slow, deep breaths and try to relax. 
  • Drink a glass of cold water and sit calmly until it passes.
  • To manage night sweats, keep your bedroom cool at night and put a fan and cold drink by your bedside.
  • Use cotton pajamas and bed linens.
  • Take a cool shower before and/or after sleeping.
  • Eat small, frequent meals. The heat generated by digesting a large meal can sometimes bring on a hot flash.
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.
  • Exercise during the cooler hours of the day.
  • Try herbal supplements for support.

Herbs for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Women have been using herbs to manage hot flashes for hundreds of years, and modern science backs up their effectiveness. Herbs like licorice and red clover, along with nutrients such as soy and vitamin E, have been known to help reduce hot flashes.* 

We’re going to focus on three of the most researched, efficacious herbs for hot flash support: vitex, saffron, and black cohosh—all of which are found in our her life STAGES menopausal formulas. 

Black Cohosh 

Black cohosh is a perennial plant native to North America and a member of the buttercup family. Its historical names include snakeroot, rattleweed, and black bugbane.8 It’s a powerful herb for hot flash support that has a growing body of clinical research to support its effectiveness.*

For example, in a landmark study of 80 menopausal women, those who consumed black cohosh had an 84% decrease in hot flash symptoms.9 Another study of 122 menopausal women who were given 42 mg daily of black cohosh in capsule form found that black cohosh significantly decreased climacteric symptoms in women with moderate menopausal symptoms. In fact, their hot flash score decreased by 53%.10

All of this is why Dr. Peeke and our expert team of formulators included black cohosh as a primary ingredient in our STAGES Perimenopause and STAGES Menopause formulas. Both are specially designed to provide support during perimenopausal and menopausal hot flashes and night sweats, as well as to help promote sound sleep and support overall mood.* The menopause formula also includes ingredients to help support weight loss and overall body composition.*

These formulas also include other potent herbs for hot flash support (see below) plus essential minerals for blood glucose and thyroid support.* 

Vitex (aka Chasteberry) 

Vitex, also known as chasteberry, contains phytoestrogens, natural substances that may help ease hot flashes. Although scientists don’t know exactly how vitex works, research suggests that chasteberry reduces the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats and may also help improve mood.11  

A 2016 study with 60 postmenopausal women showed that vitex had a positive influence in reducing hot flashes.12 In a 2019 randomized controlled double-blind clinical trial with 52 women, the group taking 60 mg of vitex daily experienced fewer hot flashes than those taking a placebo.13  

In light of this research, Dr. Peeke added vitex to our two-time award-winning STAGES Perimenopause formula. In addition to offering hot flash and night sweat plus sleep and mood support, this product is also expertly crafted to continue supporting a healthy cycle, including to help ease the breast tenderness that can come with PMS and menstruation.


Saffron (also known as Crocus sativus L.) is a spice that originated in Asia. It has a long history as a healing plant as well as a culinary staple.14  

Yet the patented saffron in our formulas is considerably more high-tech. This Spanish saffron extract is backed by more than nine clinical studies and proven to support menopause, mood, sleep, and mental outlook.*

For example, a double-blind placebo-controlled study found that participants who took 14 mg tablets of these proprietary supplements twice each day for 28 days experienced significant sleep quality improvements. Another study looked at menopause in particular and found that 12 weeks of these supplements at the same dosage resulted in improvement in many of the psychological aspects of menopause.15

For those reasons and more, this potent saffron extract is an active ingredient in all of our her life STAGES formulas, including PMS & Menstrual, Perimenopause, Menopause, and Postmenopause. In our Postmenopause formula, it is combined with orange extract and resveratrol for powerful support for lingering hot flashes and night sweats, overall mood and sleep, and weight loss and cognitive support.

All STAGES supplements, including the Libido formula—which can be taken in combination with any of the above products—are made without soy or hormones and are vegan and gluten-free.

Shop the full her life STAGES line of supplements 

Hot Flash Relief? We’ve Got You Covered

Hot flashes are a common and natural part of aging, and you have the power to manage them. Lifestyle changes and supplements let you take control of your hot flashes so you can Live Brighter each and every day. 

Embrace the stage of life you’re in and prepare yourself for your body’s evolution with Solaray her life STAGES supplements. Whether you’re showing your body some love during perimenopause, navigating the many changes of menopause, or easing into your wisest years during postmenopause, STAGES has your back every step of the way.

“Women need all of the information we can get,” reminds Dr. Peeke, “so we can feel our best and feel empowered and in control of our own health care and wellness destiny.”




“Why Hot Flashes Occur and How to Treat Them.” Cedars-Sinai,treatment%20that%20works%20for%20everyone.

“Hot Flashes” Mayo Clinic.

“Hot Flashes” Mayo Clinic.

“Night Sweats Versus Hot Flashes”  The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

“Why Some Women Get Hot Flashes, Others Don't.” Harvard Women's Health Watch,research%20shows%20that%20women%20who%20have%20hot.

6 “Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Concise Review” Journal of Midlife Health. 2019 Jan-Mar; 10(1): 6–13.

“Hot Flashes—How Long??” Journal of Midlife Health 2018 Apr-Jun; 9(2): 53–54.

8 “Black Cohosh: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals” National Institutes of Health

9 Stoll W. Phytopharmacon influences atrophic vaginal epithelium: double blind study—cimicifuga vs estrogenic substances. Therapeuticon 1987;1:23-31.

10 Frei-Kleiner, S., Schaffner, W., Rahlfs, V.W., Bodmer, C.H. and Birkhäuser, M., 2005. Cimicifuga racemosa dried ethanolic extract in menopausal disorders: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas, 51(4), pp.397-404.

11 “What Is Chasteberry, and What Can It Do?” Cleveland Clinic

12 Zahra Abbaspoor et al., "Effect of Vitex agnus-castus on Menopausal Early Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo – Controlled Study,” British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research, January 2011.

13 Rozita Naseri et al., "Comparison of Vitex agnus-castus Extracts with Placebo in Reducing Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized Double-Blind Study,” Korean Journal of Family Medicine, November 2019.

14 “How Saffron Could Benefit Your Health” Cleveland Clinic 

15 Based on clinical studies on affron® Saffron by Pharmactive Biotech Products; see for more information.



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