Why Do We Get Night Sweats?

Dr. Dan JensenSigns & Symptoms, Sleep

Why Do We Get Night Sweats?
Dr. Dan Jensen

Have you ever woken up in the night covered in sweat? What causes these night sweats, and does it affect the quality of your sleep? Sleep is one of the most important things your body needs to stay healthy, give you energy, and strengthen your immune system, warding of diseases and illnesses. If you’re not sleeping properly, you should be doing everything in your power to get a good sleep, and if you have night sweats and wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, finding and eliminating the cause could lead to far better sleep.

What Are Night Sweats?

Sleep hyperhidrosis, or night sweats, involves periods of heavy perspiration during the night. This can occur once or several times in the night, and leave you and your sheets covered in sweat. Night sweats are distinctly different from waking up sweaty in the middle of the night because you wore pajamas that were too thick for the season, or put an extra blanket on the bed. Night sweats aren’t related to the temperature of the room or what you’re wearing, and are often related to some underlying health condition.

What Causes Night Sweats?

Night sweats can be caused by several different factors. One of the most common causes of night sweats are an illness or infection that includes a fever. Fevers are common cause of night sweats, and both bacterial and viral infections can lead to night sweats.

Certain medications can also cause night sweats. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are known to cause night sweats among patients. Over the counter drugs that could lead to night sweats include aspirin or acetaminophen.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances are another cause of night sweats, and hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, and carcinoid syndrome are all associated with night sweats. Hormone imbalances can cause night sweats because the hypothalamus isn’t functioning well. This part of the brain is responsible for releasing and directing hormones, but it’s also responsible for temperature regulation. When your hormones are imbalanced and your hypothalamus is affected, it’s no wonder you struggle to maintain a consistent body temperature, and may experience night sweats.

For women going through menopause, night sweats are extremely common. As estrogen levels decrease it creates a hormonal imbalance, leading to both night sweats in bed and hot flashes during the day.

Preventing Night Sweats

If you’ve been experiencing night sweats, visit your doctor to look for signs of a medical cause for your temperature imbalances. Regulating the temperature in your room can also help decrease your experience of night sweats, make you wake up less often, and get better sleep. Keep the bedroom window open for some fresh air, or run the fan or air conditioner. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 to 67 degrees, so keep it cool, and snuggle up under soft, smooth sheets.

Sleep Hygiene

Have you been struggling to sleep at night? Are you worried you may not have good sleep hygiene, or that your habits around sleep are making it difficult for you to rest? Along with maintaining a cooler temperature in your room, we recommend keeping your bedroom reserved for sleeping. This will help create strong associations in your brain between your room and sleep. Don’t watch TV in your room, use your phone, or do all your evening activities sitting up in bed. Take your other activities to the living room, and reinforce that your room is for sleeping. When you go to bed, you’ll already be primed to fall asleep, and your brain will start to relax. Avoid drinking alcohol before bed. It might help you fall asleep faster, but drinking in the evening will lead to worse sleep, and you’ll have a restless night, wake up more often, and be more likely to wake up from night sweats.

Sound Sleep Medical

Ready to learn how to develop better sleep habits, minimize night sweats, or treat a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea that is keeping you awake at night? Visit us at Sound Seep Medical where our team of sleep specialists will help you find solutions in your unique situation, and provide the help you need to get a great night’s sleep each and every night.