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What’s the Skinny on Moisture-Wicking Fabrics?

Hot flashes can wreak havoc on a woman’s sleeping schedule. Whether a side effect of medications, menopause, or another physical condition, night sweats can not only prevent one from resting soundly through the night, but also cause significant discomfort, bouts of insomnia, and even depression. To alleviate this situation, those suffering from night sweats may try a variety of strategies such as lowering the room temperature or avoiding trigger foods before going to bed. However, the types of clothing a woman wears can also lessen the suffering experienced from hot flashes at night.

HFN 100 MoistureWickingFabrics F40650085A number of moisture-wicking fabrics can remove the sweat that normally gets trapped in clothing and lessen the discomfort felt by many women. Many sportswear manufacturers produce exercise clothing from these materials, and women can also find a selection of nightwear made from wicking fabric. Yet how exactly do these fabrics work, and how does each brand differ from one another? Most importantly, which ones are the most effective in helping hot flash sufferers?

How Do They Work?
The general idea behind moisture-wicking fabrics is that they can move moisture from the part of the material directly touching a person’s skin to the exterior where it can then evaporate into the atmosphere. Moreover, these wicking fabrics are manufactured to have breathability, which means that air is allowed to circulate through the material. This can further aid hot flash sufferers by letting heat that might otherwise get trapped between the skin and clothing escape through the fabric. Fiber materials can also be treated with water repellant to induce the evaporation process. Whereas moisture would otherwise absorb into uncoated clothing, it will instead bead up on the treated fabric and be allowed to evaporate more quickly.

Multi-Use Products
Because most physical activities can produce a great deal of moisture, many clothing brands that utilize any of these moisture-wicking fabrics are geared toward the athlete or outdoor enthusiast. Yet wicking fabrics can be used in any environment or situation. Office professionals can even use them to ensure that they will always look their best no matter how stressful their work may become. For example, J.C. Penney’s offers its line of Xersion™ active wear, which includes some attractive tank tops that can double as tops with skirts, suits, or pants.  Additionally, women experiencing night sweats can take advantage of this wicking technology to ease the unpleasant sensation of heat and sweat on the skin by seeking out sleepwear designed for menopause.

Many manufacturers have moisture-wicking fabrics available for consumers, all of which work in slightly different ways and were not all developed with hot flashes in mind. As its name implies, Coolmax® fabrics are designed to cool the body. Conversely, Polartec® clothing keeps its customers warm. Gore-Tex® materials are made to repel moisture and are primarily for use outdoors. However, all these products achieve their intended effect by allowing air circulation through the fabric. Intera® is yet another wicking fabric and can be found in nightwear made by Wicking J. Sleepwear, which the Good Housekeeping Institute rated favorably.

Something New
Several lines of nightwear promote their products to women with night sweats, including such brands as Cool-Jams, MenopauseNights, DriNights®, and Coolfemme™. There is a product designed, however, with a different mode of managing your night perspiration. A new sleepwear line, Dry Babe®, created specifically for women suffering from night sweats, both absorbs moisture and moves it away from the skin to increase cooling and comfort. According to the company’s information, while other sleepwear brands may use synthetic materials such as polyester in their products, which can then trap heat next to the body, the original Dry Babe chemise is made of 100% natural cotton. The “Sweet Dreams” collection is made of 80% cotton and 20% polyester for stretch and comfort. While some other wicking fabrics may eventually get soaked, say during heavy exercise, Dry Babe creators claim that their product absorbs moisture, keeping it away from your skin, even under the covers, and can be washed many times over without losing its features.

In one online article about nightwear for women with night sweats, the author tested four brands of sleepwear and had this to say.

If you are dealing with hot flashes on a regular basis and are tired of the hot and sweaty side effects, add some moisture-wicking clothing to your wardrobe. They may not only help you say cool and dry, but also help you fight through one of the worst and most common symptoms of menopause. ♀

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