There are many different sleep problems that nobody talks about.
But a big problem for some sleepers — affecting around 3% of the population — is excessive sweating.
Known as “night sweats,” this problem causes the sufferer to sweat excessively during the night, often waking up to drenched bedsheets and pajamas. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable — not to mention, disruptive to your sleep.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 5 of the main causes of night sweats, and what you can do to tackle this condition.
Menopause is a very common cause of night sweats in women. The hormonal changes that the body goes through during menopause typically result in hot flashes and night sweats, causing discomfort and sleep disruption.
Other causes of night sweats that are related to hormonal imbalances are pregnancy and puberty.
Hypoglycemia — a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar — is another cause of night sweats.
Low blood sugar in the night can cause your body to produce excess adrenaline, which in turn makes you sweat intensely.
If you have diabetes, this may sound very familiar to you — diabetics often suffer from night sweats due to blood sugar drops.
Taking certain medications can result in excessive sweating at night. For example, night sweats are a common side effect of taking anti-depressants, with 8-22% of users experiencing them.
Other medications such as hormone-blocking drugs can also cause night sweats, as can diabetes medication like insulin.
Sometimes, night sweats can be a sign of something more serious.
Although rare, it may be an early symptom of cancer. In particular, leukemia and lymphoma are associated with episodes of increasing sweating at night.
Night sweats normally appear alongside other symptoms, so if you are noticing any weird changes in how you feel or other symptoms of leukemia, then get yourself checked out by a doctor.
Night sweats can also be a byproduct of infections. This may be down to your body trying to fight off the infection, as well as attempting to cool you down from any infection-related fevers you are experiencing.
The infection most commonly associated with night sweats is Tuberculosis (TB), but influenza, HIV and bacterial infections can also cause night sweats.
What You Can Do About Night Sweats?
The good news is, whatever the cause, there are practical steps you can take to tackle night sweats.
Here are some of the ways that you can make dealing with night sweats easier –
- Get a Fan – Keep it pointed at your bed in the night to keep your body temperature lower. You could also sleep with the window open, depending on if you live in a cool climate.
- Switch Your Bedding – Replacing bedding made from synthetic fabrics (which make you sweat more) with natural fiber fabrics such as cotton will make you more comfortable.
- Invest in Some Breathable Nightwear – Sweat proof undershirts help handle excessive sweating. This scientifically-developed t-shirt from women’s underwear brand Knix has been made to stop sweat and is comfortable and stretchy enough to wear at night.
- Avoid the Wrong Food and Drink – Eating spicy food like curries and chillis close to bedtime could raise your core temperature just before you head to bed, so stay away from these. The same applies to alcohol and caffeine, which can both raise your heart rate and elevate your internal temperature.
Night sweats can have a variety of different causes, so if you don’t know why you’re getting them, it’s worth checking in with a doctor. In the meantime, the practical tips above can help you to deal with night sweats and give you a better night’s sleep.