Excessive Sweating While Sleeping

Have you ever awakened and found yourself drenched from excessive sweating while sleeping? While this is not an uncommon occurrence, when it recurs night after night, there may be cause for concern. If you, or someone you know, frequently experience excessive sweating while sleeping, it’s important that you learn more about the causes of this uncomfortable condition. In this guide we’ll cover the following topics: the different types of night sweats, some possible causes, and when to consult with a physician. By the end of this article you’ll be better prepared to cope with the situation.

Types of Sweating While Sleeping

Night sweats, or hyperhidrosis, are categorized into two different types, primary and secondary. Secondary hyperhidrosis is a symptom of some other cause.



Primary hyperhidrosis happens by itself without any other underlying cause. It’s important to determine which type of excessive sweating while sleeping you are experiencing, since some causes are not serious, while others are actually very serious.

The amount of perspiring that occurs during the night may be labeled as mild, moderate or severe, depending on whether bedding needs to be changed, or if bathing is required.

Causes of Excessive Sweating While Sleeping

There are a number of reasons why you might sweat excessively at night. There are a few environmental reasons, such as having too many blankets, or an extremely hot room. These reason are easy to fix by simply changing the sleep environment.

There are also a number of hormonal reasons that might be the underlying cause. Some hormonal reasons that are considered to be less serious and likely to resolve on their own include pregnancy or recently having given birth, and menopause night sweats. The hormone changes that occur at these times can frequently be the cause of night sweats. In the case of pregnancy, this should resolve itself within about 2 to 4 weeks time. In the case of menopause, since it is a more lengthy process, it might be necessary to take other steps or even consider medication to get relief from the symptoms.

However, there are also a number of more serious underlying conditions that need to be diagnosed by a doctor. Some of these conditions include:

  • Head injuries or strokes
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism
  • Migraines
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Heartburn or Esophageal Reflux

To read more about causes of excessive sweating while sleeping in children, read my article on Night Sweats in Children.

When It’s Time to See A Doctor

Typically, if you are a person with primary hyperhidrosis, you will have had symptoms that started in childhood or early adolescence, and then increasingly became worse as you got older. There are a variety of medical treatments including surgery options that you may want to explore with your physician.

It’s never a bad idea to see a doctor if you are concerned that you might be experiencing significant sleep hyperhidrosis. In the secondary cases, if you are unable to determine any sleep environmental cause, for example if it’s not due to pregnancy or menopause, you’ll definitely want to seek medical advice.

Now that you know a little more about some of the possible causes of excessive sweating while sleeping, be sure to consult with your physician as needed. You’ll be able to rest easier once you’ve taken steps to find the cause in your own situation.