Even though night sweats in women are relatively common, once women reach a certain age they hope to be over this uncomfortable symptom. But night sweats in women over 60 aren’t uncommon in women who are experiencing a late menopause. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the more common causes of night sweats in women over 60, how it can impact your sleep and we’ll give you a few things to try to reduce your discomfort.
Primary Causes of Night Sweats In Women Over 60
You’ll discover several causes of night sweats in women over 60:
- Menopause, even for women who believe they are past menopause.
- Environmental factors, such as sleeping a room that is too warm or using too many blankets.
- Low blood sugar
- Infections such as tuberculosis or AIDS
- Cancers, particularly lymphoma
- Neurological disorders
Night sweats in women over 60 can be related to medical conditions or it can also simply be a result of lifestyle and sleeping environment. For many women who experience menopause later in life, menopause is the primary cause. Symptoms deriving from menopause, such as low estrogen symptoms, can occur long after menopause.
I encourage you to read my night sweats in women under 30 and night sweats in women under 40 articles as well. By doing so, you may be better equipped to isolate the causes for your particular case of sweating at night.
Menopause Night Sweats
Bouts of night sweating are like hot flashes that occur during the night when you are trying to sleep. Sweating at night can begin 10 years before menopause and can continue for several years afterward. Fortunately, as you get older, your chance of experiencing sleep hyperhidrosis decreases. Studies have shown that only 10% of women over 64 suffer from night sweating.
For most women transitioning into menopause, sudden bouts of excessive sweating is caused by hormonal changes. As estrogen levels drop off, it impacts the hypothalamus which is responsible for the regulation of body temperature. Read my comprehensive essay on night sweating as it relates to menopause here: Menopause Night Sweats
Sleep Disorders Resulting From Sweating At Night
One of the worst things about sweating while sleeping is the way it can disrupt normal sleeping patterns. Sleep is crucial to good health and when you have disrupted sleep or do not get enough sleep your general level of health begins to suffer. Many people who suffer from sweating while sleeping also experience:
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased stress or reduced capacity to handle stress
- Constant fatigue and exhaustion
If sweating at night is causing a major disruption in your sleeping patterns, be sure to see your physician. Together you can develop a plan for reducing the severity of your night sweats symptoms. Make a note of any bed time habits that may be triggering the sweating at night and note any other possible symptoms you may be having so you can talk to your doctor about them.
If sleep hyperhidrosis is keeping you from getting adequate sleep at night, there are a number of things you can try. You may find that one of these tips is enough to help you get better quality sleep, or you may need to combine a few of them. Give your body some time to adjust to any chances — don’t expect one night with new sheets to tell you if things have improved.
- Use natural fibers for bedclothes and pajamas. Synthetic materials such as polyester don’t breath and they trap your body heat. Instead, opt for sheets and pj’s made from cotton or linen.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercising daily can improve your sleep patterns making you less likely to wake during a night sweat episode, but don’t exercise to close to bed time as this can increase bouts of night sweats.
- Reduce stress and anxiety. Stress can be a trigger for anyone suffering from night sweats. Try to relax before bedtime. Drink herbal tea, listen to soothing music, read or journal to help with stress reduction.
Additionally, I’ve recently written guides for choosing a good cooling mattress pad and a good pair of wicking pajamas. I’ve grown particularly fond of the Cool-Jams Wicking Sleepwear; you can read more about this sleepwear on that page.
Night sweats can range from mild to severe. If you find that your cold night sweats significantly impact your ability to obtain quality rest, I encourage you to discuss your situation with your doctor. In addition to the tips we’ve provided you here, your physician may have other ideas to help reduce night sweats in women over 60 to help you enjoy a good, healthy night’s sleep again.