Sweating at night is uncomfortable and, when night sweats symptoms occur often enough, they may become troubling, both physically and psychologically. In this guide I’ll provide you with common night sweats symptoms and some guidelines to help you determine if your night sweats are the result of environmental causes or are possibly linked to a medical condition.
Medical Night Sweats Symptoms and Causes
While night sweats are sometimes caused by factors related to the sleep environment, there are some medical conditions that can cause sweating while sleeping as well. Be aware that most medical cases of sleep hyperhidrosis involve a complete drenching of the bedding and bed clothes, while night sweating caused by the sleep environment generally don’t cause severe perspiration.
Menopause is the most common cause of night sweats in women. Symptoms include hot flashes both while awake and while asleep. Menopause night sweats may be severe enough to drench sheets and bedclothes. When triggered by menopause, night sweating may also be accompanied by a feeling of anxiety and an increased heart rate.
Often but not always related to menopause is the phenomenon of low estrogen. Low estrogen symptoms may begin to occur far before menopause, as early as 15 years beforehand. However, other hormonal shifts may occur in both men and women that lead to low estrogen. Night sweats in women under 30 may occur as a result of puberty, pregnancy and extreme fitness regiments or extreme diet routines.
Night sweats in men can be caused by hormone imbalances. Typically imbalances in testosterone can cause sweating while sleeping, sometimes cold sweats as well.
While cancers can cause night sweating, they are likely present with other symptoms as well. Unexplained weight loss, fevers, fatigue as well as night sweat could be an indication of a much more serious condition. If you even remotely think cancer is a possibility, I urge you to discuss the matter with your doctor. You might also visit the American Cancer Society for more focused and specialized information on cancer.
If you’re diabetic and experience night time sweating, be sure to check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar drops at night, you may experience night sweating as a side effect. Low blood sugar is an indication that hypoglycemia is the cause.
If you experience sweating at night along with any kind of symptom of infection such as fever, fatigue, decreased appetite or a cough, be sure to seek medical attention.
Note that hypoglycemia and infections are the most common causes of night sweats in children.
Night Sweats Symptoms Triggered by Sleep Environment
In many cases, sweating while sleeping is caused by an individual’s sleep environment rather than by a medical condition. Here are some night sweat symptoms which usually indicate that your sleep environment is the problem:
- Mild sweating at night, where you perspire just enough to dampen hair, pajamas and possibly bedding but not enough to drench you bedding or night sweats sleepwear.
- Night sweating that occurs along with disturbing dreams.
- Night sweating that occurs in a room that is overheated or in a bed with an overly warm bed partner or heavy blankets.
To put it simply, these symptoms might collectively be called non-clinical sleep hyperhidrosis. You’re experiencing sweating at night, but you’re not really experiencing a serious, medical case of night sweats.
Delayed Night Sweats Symptoms
Some conditions have multiple components. If you experience sweating at night, and also have one of these symptoms during the day, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor as it could be an indication of a more serious condition.
- Back pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Swelling in the neck or under the arms
Night sweats can be a disturbing experience. Pay attention to any other changes in your health and body, both at night and during the day. If you rule out sleep environment causes and still experience night sweats symptoms, please consult your physician for advice and treatment options.