Welcome to Help For Night Sweats, a site dedicated to helping both women and men understand and combat night sweats. Women going through menopause aren’t the only ones who suffer from this uncomfortable condition. There are other causes, and night sweats in men is more common than many people realize.
My aim is to provide the most complete yet accessible resource on the web for identifying, understanding and treating night sweats. The big medical sites often cover this topic in either a sparse or inaccessible manner. I hope that won’t be the case with my site. I battled this for years, and after several medical doctor and therapist visits, I finally achieved my own effective treatment. Now I’ll do my best to help you get through the night more comfortably.
Before you develop your own treatment for night sweats, please understand the importance of an accurate diagnosis and never let the Internet replace a personal visit with a qualified medical professional.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Sleep Hyperhidrosis?
- What Causes Night Sweats?
- Night Sweats In Men
- Night Sweats In Women
- Night Sweats In Children
- Treatment Options
Night sweats occur when you experience soaking, severe sweating while asleep. True night sweating will usually soak your pajamas or sleepwear as well as your sheets and bedding and occurs regardless of the temperature in your bedroom. Although unpleasant, sweating at night is not uncommon and usually it is not a sign of a serious health problem.
Sweating is simply our body’s primary means of thermoregulation. Perspiration is a natural mechanism of our autonomic nervous system and, in many cases, even excessive perspiration derives from a perfectly natural trigger. You will discover a remarkable number of causes of this condition. Unfortunately, our hypothalamus — our brain’s internal thermostat — is quite susceptible to influence.
The clinical name for excessive sweating at night is sleep hyperhidrosis or nocturnal hyperhidrosis, but you simply know it as night sweats. While much of the emphasis is on menopausal night sweats or nighttime hot flashes, male night sweats or andropause night sweats are not uncommon and can be just as frustrating.
I discovered several things to help me, both in terms of diet and supplements as well as cool products to wear or to use, while I fought my sweating while sleeping. With this site, I want to share with you what really worked for me and hopefully save you some of the time and money I wasted.
Everyone is different, but I will try to elucidate the most common and most serious conditions that cause this type of sweating, including those beyond my own personal experience. What causes night sweats for one person may be very different for another person and sometimes the signs of serious illness manifest themselves differently in different people.
Keep in mind sometimes the cause is relatively simple. It can be related to diurnal variation, which is a natural change in body temperature during the day — a lower body temperature is common in the morning and in the evening a higher body temperature is common. This normal change can cause sweating, especially when combined with a warm room or using too many covers while sleeping.
Among the causes you should note and consider are the following:
- Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis, known as Nocturnal Hyperhidrosis when it occurs while sleeping.
- Diet and personal habits
- Certain foods and food allergies
- High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure and Heart Conditions
- Caffeine, Alcohol (especially Alcohol Withdrawal), Drugs and Smoking (Nicotine)
- Menopause and Andropause
- Diabetes Mellitus (Type I or Type II), Diabetes Insipidus and Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)
- Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)
- Arthritis, especially Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Sleep Apnea
- Infectious Diseases, including HIV and AIDS
- Stress and Anxiety
- Chronic Pain
- Psychological and Neurological Conditions (sometimes cause cold sweats)
- Neurologic conditions may cause severe night sweats, particularly Autonomic neuropathy, autonomic dysreflexia, and post-traumatic syringomyelia.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Heartburn or Barrett’s Esophagus
- Any Inflammation, but especially Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner heart valves)
- Over-the-counter medicines, especially antipyretic medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and aspirin.
- Prescription medications including antibiotics, mental health medications like Seroquel and other antidepressant medications, and corticosteroids.
- Uncommon but serious conditions, such as Cancer, especially Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s Disease or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma). In fact, one of the most common symptoms of lymphoma is severe night sweating.
For an expansion on the most common causes, see my guide: What Causes Night Sweats guide.
Women aren’t the only ones who experience hot flashes and sweating at night, so this site will also provide help for the sometimes mysterious night sweats men experience. Believe it or not, many doctors believe night sweats in men occur during a kind of andropause phase somewhat similar to the more publicized menopause experienced by women.
However, night sweating in men may occur in males of any age. Weight-lifting, weight loss, weight gain, stress, lifestyle habits and overall diet collectively create a wide range of circumstances for men to develop persistent sweating at night.
It is important to work with your doctor to disqualify any of the common causes before searching for a more serious medical cause. I’ve expanded on this topic with a full, dedicated article: Night Sweats in Men
The most obvious example of night sweats in women are the severe hot flashes suffered by women entering menopause or perimenopause. I know menopause nighttime hot flashes can be among the most futile conditions to combat. For more information and support on the menopausal transition, visit the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
The entire perimenopause phase may involve persevering hot flashes and perimenopause night sweats. However, one interesting note is that recent research indicated that women who experience more severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause are less likely to develop cancer later. So perhaps those beads of sweat on your brow late in the night are a blessing in disguise.
However night sweating in younger women may occur as a result of low estrogen symptoms. It also isn’t uncommon for adolescent girls to experience excessive sweating while their bodies go through dramatic hormonal changes. Rapid weight loss or weight gain may also cause dramatic hormonal fluctuations, which in turn may lead to sweating at night in women or girls of any age.
Pregnancy, of course, is another cause unique to women. Pregnancy puts stress on the entire female anatomy and it causes great fluctuations in hormone balance. Both pregnancy and the postnatal phase may create hormonal conditions ripe for hot flashes and severe sweating at night. Some research indicates that postpartum depression and postnatal hot flashes often occur together.
I know it isn’t easy, but the first thing you should do if you suspect your child is suffering from night sweating is not panic. As I alluded to earlier, a huge percentage of the population worries about severe sweating at night but a much smaller percentage is actually suffering from a serious condition or disease.
In most cases, night sweats in children occur when children go to bed after too much activity, they’re wearing pajamas too warm for the temperature in their room, or their blankets and sheets are too heavy and hot. In particular, it isn’t uncommon for kids wearing pajamas with feet (sometimes called footies) to experience a little bit of extra perspiration in their sleep. Most childhood night sweating is related to something innocent.
However, there can be legitimate serious concerns as well. If your child continues to experience excessive perspiration after he or she falls asleep or has cold sweats while sleeping despite a change of pajamas, room temperature and bedding, you should consult your pediatrician. While some of the conditions I noted in the section about night sweats causes may apply to children, there are a few that are more common in children.
The most common night sweats children suffer from occur as a result of a fever from an infection, with common culprits being bronchitis, strep (Streptococcal pharyngitis), a sinus infection or pneumonia. But there are a lot of other possible causes.
Learn more on this sensitive issue in my Night Sweats in Children guide. Regardless, you should always consult your primary care physician or pediatrician if you have any concerns. While it is my aim to help you, you should never diagnose your child based on information on the Internet. Always seek direct help from a medical professional.
While you will find a wide range of treatments these days, not all of them will work for everyone. The best place to start is with simple, safe and common sense solutions. For example, people typically prefer a cooler temperature for sleeping than they find comfortable while awake. If possible, try sleeping in slightly cooler temperature before you rush to conclusions about any underlying conditions. Increasing circulation in your bedroom with a fan or an open window may also help.
Along the same line of reasoning, try using lighter and more breathable materials for your sleepwear or pajamas and your sheets or blankets. I suggest a 100 percent cotton or linen for the material. You might even try a wicking pajama (Cool-Jams makes some great ones).
To supplement these common sense approaches, you might implement a bedfan or use a cooling pillow called a chillow. These safe, natural products have helped me a great deal. Running cool water over your wrists or keeping a cool cloth near the bed can also provide some relief and help cool you during the night.
If you would like to try supplements, or natural remedies for night sweats, women often use black cohosh or red clover for hot flashes. A niacin-free vitamin B complex (niacin can cause flushing, which in turn can trigger night sweat) or a magnesium supplement may also help. However, if your hot flashes or night sweats persist and your doctor has ruled out any underlying condition or disease, you might have to bring out the more aggressive remedies or therapies. Keep in mind these more aggressive therapies are often used to treat people suffering from idiopathic hyperhidrosis, a condition that results in excessive sweating for no apparent reason, even during the daytime.
These include using a strong antiperspirant, aluminum chloride hexahydrate. It requires a prescription and can be found under the brand name Drysol. It is basically a prescription-strength version of your common grocery store or drug store antiperspirant. It is very effective for underarm sweat (axillary hyperhidrosis) but it can cause dryness and irritation. Some researchers are also concerned about the long-term effects of bring too much aluminum into the bloodstream.
Iontophoresis is another method used to treat excessive sweating. It pushes a very light electrical charge across your skin to temporarily minimize your sweat ducts. This usually must be administered by a medical professional, although some home devices are available through a medical prescription.
Sometimes it isn’t about what you do, but what you don’t do. The kind of night sweats stress causes requires reducing anxiety while the kind of night sweats alcohol causes requires reducing alcoholic beverages in your diet.
For additional help and a more comprehensive discussion of treatments, please read my full article on the subject: Night Sweats Treatment
Whether you suffer from common menopause night sweats or male night sweats, I hope to provide some helpful, inexpensive techniques for you to try right away.
The night sweats men experience can be quite a bit different from the hot flashes and nights sweats experienced by women, so I’m sure this site will develop divergent areas.
Thank you for visiting Help For Night Sweats. I wish you a healthy and comfortable night’s sleep.