If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat then you’ve probably already Googled “What causes night sweats?”. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Night sweats are a common problem that affect many people, and they can be caused by a variety of factors.
In this post, we’ll explore what causes night sweats, from medical conditions to lifestyle and environmental factors. So, settle down and let’s dive in!
What Causes Night Sweats?
Night sweats, also known as sleep hyperhidrosis, is a common problem that affects many people. It can be an uncomfortable and disruptive experience, often causing sleep disturbances and fatigue, leaving you feeling less than your best self the next day.
Night sweats can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, but they can also be caused by factors such as medications, lifestyle, and environment.
Main Causes of Night Sweats
One of the most common causes of night sweats is medical conditions. Several medical conditions can cause night sweats, including:
- Menopause: Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause. During menopause, estrogen levels in the body decrease, causing hot flashes and night sweats.
- Infections: Certain infections, such as tuberculosis, endocarditis, and HIV/AIDS, can cause night sweats.
- Cancer: Night sweats are a common symptom of some types of cancer, such as lymphoma.
- Hormonal disorders: Hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, and carcinoid syndrome can cause night sweats.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts during sleep, causing snoring and gasping for air. It can also cause night sweats.
- Neurological conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as autonomic neuropathy, can cause night sweats.
Certain medications can cause night sweats as a side effect. These include:
- Antidepressants: Some antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can cause night sweats.
- Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy used to treat breast cancer or menopause can cause night sweats.
- Hypoglycemic agents: Certain medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin and sulfonylureas, can cause night sweats.
- Steroids: Steroids such as prednisone can cause night sweats as a side effect.
Lifestyle factors can contribute to night sweats, such as:
- Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol can cause night sweats as it increases body temperature and can cause dehydration.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods can cause night sweats as they can increase body temperature.
- Stress: Stress can cause night sweats as it can increase cortisol levels in the body.
- Obesity: Obesity can cause night sweats as excess body fat can cause increased body temperature.
Some environmental factors that can cause night sweats include:
- High room temperature: Sleeping in a room that is too warm can cause night sweats.
- Bedding: Sleeping on bedding that does not allow for proper ventilation can cause night sweats. Adding thermoregulating material, such as a silk pillowcase, can make all the difference.
- Humidity: High humidity can cause night sweats as it can make it difficult for the body to regulate temperature.
How Do I Stop Night Sweats?
There are several ways to stop night sweats, or at the very least reduce their intensity and frequency and improve your quality of sleep.
Keep your bedroom cool
One of the simplest ways to reduce night sweats is to keep your bedroom cool. Aim for a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 and 19.5 degrees Celsius). You can use a fan or air conditioning to help circulate air and if possible keep your window cracked open.
Use breathable bedding
Breathable bedding made from natural fibres like cotton or bamboo can help regulate your body temperature and prevent night sweats. Silk is a great thermoregulator, helping you stay cool in summer and warm in winter. It also wicks moisture away from the skin so you don’t feel quite as drenched. Avoid synthetic fabrics, which can trap heat and moisture.
Dehydration can contribute to night sweats, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Aim for at least eight glasses of water a day, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
Practice good sleep hygiene
Establishing good sleep habits, what we call good sleep hygiene, can help reduce stress and improve sleep quality, which in turn reduces night sweats. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, avoid electronics before bed, and create a calming bedtime routine.
Consider hormone therapy
If your night sweats are due to menopause or other hormonal imbalances, hormone therapy may be an option. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy and whether it’s appropriate for you.
Address underlying medical conditions
If your night sweats are caused by an underlying medical condition then treating the condition may help reduce or eliminate night sweats. Talk to your doctor about appropriate treatment options.
Try relaxation techniques
Stress can contribute to night sweats, so finding ways to relax can help reduce symptoms. Try deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
Coping With Night Sweats
Living with night sweats can be a challenging experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Night sweats are a common problem that affects many people, and there are several strategies and treatments for night sweats that you can try to help manage symptoms and improve your sleep quality.
Keeping your bedroom cool, using breathable bedding, staying hydrated, practising good sleep hygiene, considering hormone therapy, addressing underlying medical conditions, and trying relaxation techniques can reduce or eliminate night sweats and help you get a better night’s sleep.
It’s important to talk to your doctor to find the best treatment options for you and to remember that with patience and persistence, you can learn to live with night sweats. Hopefully, as you start to experience them less your sleep quality will increase and this, in turn, will help lessen them more.