Updated November 5, 2019 Sweating while you sleep is unpleasant and makes it difficult to sleep well. Night sweats may seem innocuous, but when they happen night after night, you begin to feel the effects of losing much-needed sleep. And then there’s all the extra laundry from washing your bedding more frequently — who has the time? Body temperature fluctuates throughout the night for everyone. During some phases of sleep, the nervous system is activated, which leads to sweating. As morning approaches, our body temperatures naturally fall slightly. Some sweating is a normal part of our body’s circadian rhythm, but if it’s making it difficult to sleep comfortably, it’s time to take action. Your sleeping environment, medical conditions, and the medications you take may all cause you to sweat at night. The good news is many of these issues are easy to solve. Read on to find out why you sweat at night and how to sleep more comfortably. The Most Common Causes of Sweating at Night Everyone feels hot at night once in a while. It’s typical for heat to sometimes cause you to sweat in your sleep. True night sweats are different. They happen every night or almost every night. Your perspiration is so heavy it soaks through your clothes and bedding. Night sweats are a common symptom of a medical condition. Here are the potential causes of sweating at night. Your Sleeping Environment You may love turning the thermostat up and snuggling under a big comforter when you go to bed. This might feel good as you fall asleep, but then you wake up in the middle of the night covered in so much sweat your sheets are soaked. Your sleeping environment plays a big role in your overnight body temperature and how well you sleep. Sleepwear, bedding, mattress, and the temperature on the thermostat are all part of your sleeping environment. Medical Issues Night sweats are often a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you suffer from heavy nightly perspiration, have not been diagnosed with the below conditions, or have not yet seen a doctor for your night sweats, it’s important you do so. The Mayo Clinic has a lengthy list of medical conditions which cause night sweats. Some of the most common medical causes include: Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis: Nearly 3% of Americans suffer from hyperhidrosis. This condition causes excessive sweating throughout the day. Sweating can be even worse at night, especially if your sleeping environment is too warm. Viral or Bacterial Infection: When your night sweats start suddenly and are accompanied by other symptoms, they may be caused by a fever from a run-of-the-mill infection. It could also be a sign of a more serious infection like tuberculosis, endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valve), HIV, osteomyelitis (inflammation and infection within the bones), and abscesses. Hormone Disorders: Hyperthyroidism is the most common cause of hormonal night sweats. Pheochromocytoma, a hormonal disorder caused by an adrenal tumor, and carcinoid syndrome are two other potential causes. Sleep Apnea and Other Sleep Disorders: People with obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to suffer from night sweats than the general population. Researchers believe this is because blood pressure rises when the body senses it is oxygen-deprived. Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Anxiety has a profound impact on our bodies, keeping us in fight-or-flight mode all day long. One of the physical symptoms of anxiety is increased sweating, including at night. Hypoglycemia: Sweating is a common sign of low blood sugar. If you suffer from night sweats and other signs of hypoglycemia, like dizziness, trembling, and heart palpitations, consult with your physician. Menopause, Perimenopause, and Hormonal Fluctuations: We all know menopause and perimenopause cause hot flashes, but hot flashes can also occur during and after pregnancy. Sweating can occur throughout the day but worsen at night. Low Testosterone: For men, low levels of testosterone can cause night sweats. This is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as low energy and mood swings. Neurologic Conditions: Although uncommon, there are neurologic conditions that can increase sweating. Night sweats can be a symptom of stroke, autonomic neuropathy or dysreflexia, and post-traumatic syringomyelia. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: GERD and night sweats go hand-in-hand. This is because stomach acid can seep into the esophagus when the body is lying flat. As the acid irritates esophageal tissue, sweating occurs. Cancer: When accompanied by other symptoms, night sweats may be an early sign of certain types of cancers, like lymphoma. Dreams: Your dreams can cause you to sweat, particularly if they are stressful. If you suffer from recurring night terrors, you may frequently wake up sweating. Takayasu’s Arteritis: In this disorder, inflammation damages blood vessels. Fever and night sweats are two early warning signs in the first stage of the disease. Obesity: Fat adds insulation to the body, impacting its ability to regulate temperature. Obesity is also a risk factor for sleep apnea, another cause of night sweats. Medications When you take prescription medications, you might glance at the information sheet given to you by your pharmacist but then set it aside. If you have night sweats, check to see if they are a side effect of your medication. Many popular medications are common causes of night sweats. Some of these include: SSRI medications used to treat depression and anxiety Ibuprofen and aspirin Hormone therapy (also known as hormone replacement therapy) Migraine medications Diabetes medications like insulin Proton-pump inhibitors used to treat acid reflux Opioids Chemotherapy Solutions for Sweating During Sleep No matter what causes your sweating, these solutions can prevent or minimize night sweats. Improve Your Sleeping Environment The National Sleep Foundation suggests a room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for the best sleep. Turn the thermostat down for a few nights, and see if it makes a difference in your sleep. Increase air circulation in your bedroom by opening a window or turning on a fan. Your bedding may also cause you to overheat. Plush mattresses retain heat. When you sink into your bedding, you’re surrounded by this retained warmth. A cooling mattress topper can make your bed much more comfortable. Switch to light, breathable sheets. Make sure your sleepwear is made with fabric which allows airflow. Moisture-wicking material will also help you sleep better. It is also a good idea to buy a mattress protector to ensure sweat doesn’t stain your mattress. Cool Down If the tips above have not helped, try placing a cool pack under your pillow to keep your body temperature down overnight. When night sweats disrupt your sleep, compresses with ice packs or cold water can cool you down quickly. Some people who suffer from sweating at night keep a glass of ice water next to the bed to sip as needed. Practice Better Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene refers to the nightly habits that help you sleep well. This generally includes going to bed at the same time every day, keeping your room dark, and limiting screen time before you go to sleep. Regular exercise helps people sleep well, but working out too close to bedtime can cause night sweats. Gentle stretching, mindful breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation will help you rest better when your night sweats are caused by racing thoughts and anxiety. Don’t Eat Large Meals Before Bedtime You’ve probably heard eating late at night causes weight gain. This is a myth. But you still shouldn’t eat large meals close to bedtime. If you eat just before bedtime, your digestive system is still working hard after your head hits the pillow. Since you’re no longer upright, stomach acid can seep into your esophagus. When this happens on a regular basis, you can develop gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with GERD often experience night sweats. If you suffer from GERD (even if you don’t eat before bed) and night sweats, anti-reflux medications are a proven treatment for both. Sometimes even sleeping at an incline by elevating your mattress or using a wedge pillow can keep GERD symptoms in check. Avoid Spicy Dinners In addition to not eating before bedtime, avoid spicy foods at night. They cause flushing, which may lead to night sweats. Spicy food also causes heartburn and exacerbates GERD, another cause of sweating at night. Limit Caffeine Caffeine consumption has been linked to night sweats. This is because caffeine is a stimulant. It increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and activates sweat glands. Caffeine also makes it harder to fall and stay asleep at night, particularly if you are sensitive to it. Try to restrict caffeine to mornings and see if it helps you sleep more comfortably. See Your Doctor If you have a medical issue causing night sweats, it is important to address your condition with your doctor. This is especially true if you experience other symptoms such as unexplained weight loss. Your doctor will ask you about your current symptoms and collect a detailed medical history. They may also order tests to help identify the underlying cause of your sweating. Before your appointment, it will help to keep a sleep journal documenting your night sweats and other symptoms like fatigue. Track caffeine consumption and meal times. Write down when you exercise and when you go to bed each night. The more detail you include, the better. Resolving the root cause of your night sweats is the most effective treatment. There are times, however, when the medical issues in question cannot be easily fixed, even by a doctor. In these cases, try the tips above to mitigate your symptoms. Stop Sweating at Night and Start Sleeping Better Sweating while you sleep can impact your quality of life. When you are too hot to rest well, you feel tired during the day. Sleep deprivation leads to trouble concentrating, brain fog, and exhaustion. Some causes of night sweats are serious medical conditions like thyroid disorders, cancer, and tuberculosis. When sweating at night is caused by your sleep environment, the solution is often simple. Turning down your thermostat before bed can often remedy the problem. Cutting down on caffeine and meals before bedtime can also help with overheating. If night sweating is severe or caused by a medical condition, consult with your physician to find a solution. Comments Cancel replyLeave a Comment Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.