Common Causes of Night Sweats

Sweating in your sleep is a common condition that affects many folks of all ages. Sometimes referred to as hyperhydrosis or night sweats, it can disrupt your sleep leaving you feeling literally drained the next morning. The sweating can cause you to wake during the night with a clammy feeling of either being too cold or too hot. On top of that, most sufferers find that their bed sheets and nightclothes have become somewhat damp.

What Causes Night Sweats

Although not harmful, night sweats are normally indicative of some other underlying condition. There are countless causes of this condition with one of the most common being in menopausal women. Indeed, most women going through menopause will experience some form of sweating in their sleep. However, hormonal changes in men, sometimes referred to as the male menopause or andropause, can also be a cause of night sweats

While not a sleep disorder in its own right, night sweating can be caused by other sleep related conditions such as sleep apnea. This occurs when sufferers experience recurrent pauses of breath during the course of a night's sleep. Folks who suffer from sleep apnea will experience pauses in breathing that can last anywhere from ten to thirty seconds. Because of the frequent disruptions in sleep caused by this sleep disorder, night sweats may also result as a by-product of sleep apnea. If you notice that you are waking up at night, sweaty and out of breath, you could well be suffering from sleep apnea. To get a proper diagnosis, it is advisable to consult with your doctor.

Any illnesses or conditions that produces a chill or fever can also be the cause of sweating in you sleep. Immune-suppressing diseases such as HIV, AIDS, Hodgkin's disease, and tuberculosis can result in severe disruptions of sleep, and even frequent night sweats. Women who have undergone chemotherapy are also particularly vulnerable since the treatment robs the body of estrogen causing the signs of menopause to emerge. This in turn may result in hot flashes, insomnia, and of course, night sweats.

Some other possible causes may include

  • Anaemia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Head or brain injury
  • Hyperthyroidism - Overproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland
  • Migraines
  • Strokes
  • Any fever causing condition

Certain anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications, as well as some birth control pills, can also cause night sweats.

Treatment for Night Sweats

As you can see, there are any number of underlying conditions that can cause you to sweat profusely while you are sleeping. The best way to take control of the problem is to try and determine what is causing them.

If the cause is not immediately evident, try writing down anything you might consider to be triggering your bouts of night sweating. Ask your doctor for a complete health evaluation to find out if there are any underlying conditions that you may not be aware of. If you can get to the bottom of what is causing your night sweats, you may be able to eliminate or at least reduce their frequency.

Hyperhydrosis Symptoms

Primary hyperhydrosis is a rare disorder that causes very heavy night and daytime sweating and can severely impact a persons quality of life. Although very rare, you may want to be tested for this condition.

Relief from Night Sweats

Certain lifestyle changes can help provide relief for night sweats -

  • Practice excellent sleep hygiene
  • Retire to bed at the same time every night
  • Get at least eight hours of sleep
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before bedtime
  • Spicy foods have been linked to the occurrence of night sweats, so abstain from eating hard to digest foods near bedtime.

You may also benefit from keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature, or sleeping with the window open to increase air circulation. Some folks swear by taking a cold shower right before bedtime. If night sweats do strike in the middle of the night, have a cool glass of water or juice to re-hydrate. In severe cases, you may also want to take a bath, and then change your bedding and sleeping clothes.