What Causes Night Sweats?

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Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself down. Sweating is good for you when you are being active, running to get a bus, or when it’s hot outside. However, sweating that happens while you’re sleeping is different.

Your body might be trying to tell you something is wrong if you experience night sweats. It is important to pay attention to it. Continue reading to understand the most typical sources of this awkward condition and how to address them.

What Are Night Sweats?

Night sweats, otherwise known as sleep hyperhidrosis, is an occurrence of excessive sweat during sleep that is not caused by an outside force (such as a malfunctioning air conditioner). It is important to note, however, that feeling slightly warm or damp does not equate to night sweats. Joseph Ojile, MD, the founder and CEO of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, Missouri, conveys that many people are coming in and discussing how they wake up soaking wet. They are required to wake up during the night and switch their wardrobe – sometimes even their bedsheets.

Night sweats are not an oddity and can occur in any gender. Research conducted at the University of Oklahoma discovered that 41 percent of individuals who visited their primary care physician reported having nocturnal sweating. Aside from the discomfort of it, night sweats can disturb your slumber, which can have unfavorable consequences for your well-being. If your sleep is interrupted, it can leave you feeling short-tempered, overwhelmed, and uneasy; and it can increase your chances of having higher blood pressure, heart ailments, and type 2 diabetes.

Night Sweats in Men

If you’re a male, the probable reasons behind your night sweats could be one of the things listed above. Despite this, the level of testosterone in some men may drop significantly at a certain stage in their lives, potentially increasing the risk of night sweats. No clear studies show what causes a decrease in testosterone to produce this result.

Night Sweats in Women

A lot of women grumble about having night sweats when they are on the brink of menopause, experience menopause, and are expecting a child. Here’s what might be behind the symptom during those times:

  • Perimenopause and menopause: For women who are approaching menopause (perimenopausal) or haven’t menstruated for a full year (menopausal), night sweats are essentially hot flashes that occur during sleep—and as many as 75 percent of women in these groups experience them. Experts don’t know exactly why hormone-induced hot flashes and night sweats happen, but it’s possible that a drop in estrogen causes the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls body temperature) to become hypersensitive.
  • Pregnancy: Up to a third of expecting moms report night sweats, and many complain of the condition during the postpartum period as well. The problem may be related to hormonal fluctuations—which can affect how the body regulates temperature—or sleep apnea. Sometimes pregnant women develop apnea due to weight gain, increases in metabolism, and the baby’s movement as it grows, Dr. Ojile says.

11 Reasons You Sweat So Much In Bed

1. Your room is just too damn hot.

What’s the temperature of your bedroom right now? According to W, temperatures outside of the range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit are likely too warm. Dr. Christopher Winter, a specialist in slumber and the author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Inadequate And How You Can Fix It.

Fabrics which allow less airflow (such as your flannel pajamas) can likewise add to the unpleasantness of excessive perspiration while you sleep. Cotton that is porous and allows air to pass through it is a more suitable choice for nightclothes and bed linen.

Being overly warm can prevent you from drifting off to sleep. In order to fall asleep, your body temperature should drop by one to two degrees from its usual state, which is not possible if the room you are in is too warm.

2. You have hyperhidrosis, an excessive sweating disorder.

It is confirmed by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) that excessive perspiration, even when asleep, is an actual phenomenon.

A major dissimilarity between hyperhidrosis and regular sweating is that hyperhidrosis often impacts particular areas of the body, such as the hands, feet, underarms, and head, as stated by the American Academy of Dermatology. Remember that this is an example of excessive perspiration – the American Academy of Dermatology points out that those with hyperhidrosis experience excessive perspiration that affects their day-to-day activities, such as opening doors or operating computers.

If you suspect that you have hyperhidrosis, it may be a good idea to converse with your dermatologist. They could offer you various deodorants, or another form of treatment, like Botox injections to obstruct the production of perspiration, as the AAD advises.

3. You’re having nightmares.

This is probably the simplest explanation for those sweats. Any activity that elicits the “fight-or-flight” reaction, which is characterized by an increased heart rate and the production of adrenaline, can result in perspiration. If you are frequently having nightmares, it is suggested that you speak to your physician to determine the source of the issue (usually stemming from stress).

4. Your body’s going through hormonal changes, like those related to menopause.

Women often find that changes in their estrogen levels can lead to night sweats. It is standard for patients dealing with menopause to tell their doctor about perspiring even while asleep because of the hot flashes commonly experienced during this period. However, there is a possibility of them happening at any time of the day.

Hormonal fluctuations that accompany pregnancy or menstruation can be a cause of night sweats. However, it is usually menopause that is the root cause of the sweat which lasts the longest and can be difficult to shake off. If it is impacting the way one is living or sleeping, it would be worthwhile to talk to a doctor about it. Excessive perspiration during menopause can be erratic, but speaking to your obstetrician or gynecologist about hormone replacement therapy might be able to assist in regulating your body heat.

5. You’re anxious.

One can bring the anxiousness from their day into their sleep and this can show up as heavy sweating. Dr. Caroline Cederquist, who is both a bariatric physician and nutrition and metabolism specialist, as well as being the creator of BistroMD, remarks that heightened perspiration can be a sign of nervousness due to the activation of the fight-or-flight reaction. When a person experiences stress, certain hormones are released which cause the person to use more energy and as a result, sweat is produced as a way of cooling down the body.

If you are having trouble calming down before bed and are feeling anxious, you can attempt to reduce your distress by participating in meditations before bed, restricting time on electronic devices, and providing yourself 30 minutes of relaxation time before lying down.

6. You’re exercising close to bedtime.

If you exercise before you go to sleep, it can boost your metabolic rate. This could lead to you feeling more comfortable in the evening, especially if you are someone who generally has difficulty keeping cool while sleeping.

Fit in your exercising regime a few hours before the time you intend to sleep.

7. You’re taking antidepressants.

Patients consuming anti-depressants may likely observe an intensification in night sweating, as a few forms of medicine could produce an adrenergic response, which is associated with adrenaline levels and can cause perspiration. It is possible to experience increased night sweats if you are using either venlafaxine (known as Effexor) or bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban, and Aplenzin).

But if you don’t wish to switch antidepressants, there is still hope; there are medications which physicians can provide to decrease the level of acute adrenergic production, which will not conflict with your mental health treatment.

8. Your body’s fighting off an infection, like tuberculosis.

Generally speaking, infection can result in a change in temperature due to the accompanying fever, thus leading to the common symptom of perspiration.

A not-so-frequent sickness that is linked to night sweats is tubercular, which can attack any part of the body but which is prominent for its effect on the respiratory system. Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, can be more susceptible to contracting tuberculosis. You might start perspiring while you are asleep before you begin to cough or notice something is off, so look for a physician immediately if the signs continue.

9. You have undiagnosed lymphoma.

According to the U.S., Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the immune system. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) can lead to a variety of indications such as fever, shedding pounds, and yes, sweatiness during the night. Fundamentally, your body perceives lymphoma as a foreign invader and increases its temperature in an attempt to eliminate it.

Although these types of heavy sweating episodes normally take place during the evening, according to the National Library of Medicine, it is possible to experience them during the day as well. If you notice any other symptoms, it is recommended that you see your doctor so that they can run tests to determine if the issue is due to this condition.

10. You’re experiencing hypoglycemia related to your diabetes medication.

Low blood sugar levels can lead to hypoglycemia, which can have signs such as dizziness, disorientation, and perspiring during sleep. When your blood sugar is lower than it should be, hormones like cortisol will work to keep the blood glucose at a normal level and maintain the functioning of your organs. As a result of this, the autonomic nervous system will then take over, responsible for controlling your glands.

That activation can cause profuse sweating. Every now and then, these sweats can appear abruptly alongside disarray, which may necessitate the need for glucose to be given via mouth or through a vein.

11. You have undiagnosed hyperthyroidism.

People who suffer from hyperthyroidism experience a thyroid that is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones compared to what the body actually needs. The thyroid hormone can collaborate with how the body employs energy, and some consequences of this consist of decreased muscle strength, shifts in moods, and difficulty dealing with heat.

If you have night sweats because of hyperthyroidism, they tend to occur regularly, not all of a sudden, and are likely to be accompanied by other indications of the illness.

How to Stop Night Sweats

If you tackle the root of the issue, you can diminish or terminate nocturnal perspiration. Certain problems can be solved with certain changes in your routine, but others may necessitate professional attention from a medical doctor.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

  • Adjust your room temperature: Night sweats aren’t caused by high temps, but sleeping in a hot space can exacerbate the problem. “Lowering the room temperature substantially may help suppress night sweats,” Dr. Ojile says. Turn your thermostat way down—into the low 60’s if necessary. And to increase your comfort when sweating does strike, wear pajamas made with moisture-wicking fabric to bed.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: People who are overweight are more apt to suffer from night sweats, likely because of sleep apnea. Research has shown that excess weight makes you significantly more likely to experience sleep apnea, but losing as little as 10 percent of your body weight can substantially help.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods: Especially in the evening, it’s smart to avoid foods and drinks that might trigger night sweats.
  • Try soy: Soy-based foods (like tofu and edamame) may help alleviate menopause symptoms. Research has found that women who take supplements containing soy isoflavones are less likely to experience night sweats. Always check with your doctor before trying any supplements.

Medical Treatments

  • Hormone therapy: If menopause-related hormonal changes are causing your night sweats, your doctor might recommend hormone therapy in the form of prescription estrogen and/or progesterone. Hormone therapy isn’t for everyone though, since it may have serious side effects such as an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots. Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons.
  • Gabapentin: Originally developed to control seizures, this prescription medication has also been shown to ease hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women. Gabapentin may be an effective option for women who’d prefer not to or can’t use hormone therapy due to pre-existing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
  • Acupuncture: Menopausal women who get acupuncture treatments have fewer and less intense hot flashes, according to a meta-analysis of several studies.
  • CPAP or a dental appliance: If your night sweats are caused by sleep apnea, a sleep specialist will likely recommend one of these two treatments. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) involves using a device that pushes air into the mouth and nose as you sleep to keep your airways open. A custom-made dental appliance holds the lower jaw forward, prompting tissue at the back of the throat to relax.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is a proven treatment for anxiety and panic disorder, so it may help improve night sweats caused by those conditions. Talk therapy can also decrease the distress of hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women.
  • Blood sugar management: If your night sweats are caused by nocturnal hypoglycemia, your doctor may adjust your medication regimen and/or have you check your blood sugar more often.

How to Cope If You Are Suffering from Night Sweats

Sleeping through the night can be disturbed by night sweats, which can detriment your feelings and well-being. It is essential to consult your healthcare provider if you develop this problem as it could be a result of a variety of reasons from hormonal alterations to possible medical issues. Once the cause of your night sweats has been established, there are usually ways to reduce or eradicate them.


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