Although sweating while sleeping is largely the same as experiencing night sweats, I receive quite a few inquiries regarding this specific phenomenon so I will address it separately. If you find yourself sweating while sleeping often, try some of the treatment options listed in this article. If you continue to suffer from the sweating while asleep (or cold sweats while sleeping), it is important to identify the potential causes. I always urge people to consult their doctor if they have concerns about their health or if they don’t know what is causing the sweating at night.
Table of Contents:
- Excessive Sweating While Sleeping
- Environmental Treatments
- Natural Remedies
- Medical Causes for Night Sweating
Excessive sweating while sleeping is known clinically as sleep hyperhidrosis. The most common sweating while sleeping causes are often harmless, so don’t panic. Panic attacks while sleeping won’t help you curb your rising body temperature as you try to get a good night’s sleep.
Sweating at night often occurs because of hormonal reasons, such as sweating while sleeping after pregnancy, genetic reasons or simple environmental reasons. If your dad tends to sweat at night, even in good health, and you do too, you may simply have to learn to handle it as best as you can. Fortunately both genetic and environmental causes of sweating while sleeping can be treated much the same way. Whether the origin of your night sweats are serious or not, you should address this disruption of your sleep cycle; waking with damp sheets can affect your overall health and well being if you can’t get a good night’s rest.
First I want to encourage you to step back and really think about your sleep environment. There are four specific areas to address:
Set the Optimum Sleep Temperature to Stop Night Sweats
People prefer cooler temperatures when they’re sleeping. The ideal temperature for sleeping may vary depending on the individual, but generally the temperature in your bedroom should be between 66 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (which may cooler than you expected). Get a cheap room temperature gauge at your local department store or discount super store and determine the average temperature of your bedroom at night. If it is more than a couple degrees above the recommended sleep temperature, consider lowering the thermostat during the winter months and increasing the air conditioner during the summer months. See if you can integrate either a ceiling fan or a table fan into your room, but be careful not to let it push high velocity air right at you.
Room Air Circulation
Even beyond the air temperature, humans by default don’t usually like being in a room with dead air. By dead air I mean air which is entirely still. While it is also unhealthy to have too much of a breeze on you while you sleep, you might check the air movement. A lack of air movement may be associated with anxiety and overheating at night. Sometimes all you need to do is create a path for air to move. For example, open your bedroom door and your closet door. This might be just enough to encourage some kind of air flow through the air. Of course, a fan or an open window can provide common sense night sweats treatment and can help immensely.
Bedsheets for Night Sweating, Material and Weight
You’d be surprised how often I learn that people who are suffering from excessive sweating while sleeping use thick, heavy fabrics while they sleep. And because stylish blankets with shiny patterns are popular, people often cover themselves with blankets that don’t easily breathe (like polyester). So check the tags on those blankets and bed sheets. Ideally, you want light materials made from cotton or linen. Linen is ideal, but it can be expensive. A quality 100 percent cotton sheet will do fine as well. Note that this means it should be either 100 percent cotton or 100 percent linen… or a combination of just those two fabrics. If it has any polyester or satin in it, you want to remove it from your bedroom, unless it is a blend that was designed to wick moisture away from your body. Instead of relying on heavy sheets or blankets, rely on lighter materials and use layers.
Clothes or Pajamas for Night Sweating, Material and Weight
The same variables I described in regards to bed sheets and blankets go for sleep clothes or pajamas too. You want those pajamas to be made from light, breathable material. Again, linen is ideal, but cotton is great too. You can also find some great wicking pajamas these days. Those pajamas, which grew in popularity for their use by menopausal women, help to wick away moisture and heat. But they can be effective even if you don’t suffer from menopause night sweats. Update: See my new night sweats sleepwear article for specific suggestions on wicking pajamas.
Here are some simple, natural remedies for treating your night sweating. Please note that these are meant for people who are experiencing genetic or environmental night sweats. If you’re confident you’re experiencing unusually severe sweating while sleeping, I urge you to consult with your physician.
- Let’s start simple. Keep a cool glass of water near your bed while you sleep. Should you awaken, take a sip of the cool water.
- Keep a couple of ice cubes in that glass to make sure it is useful for this next tip: if you feel your temperature rising, place your wrists against the cool glass and hold them there for several seconds. As your blood flows through this junction, it will cool and then cool the rest of your body as it flows on. (This is a great trick to use anywhere and anytime, by the way.)
- Use specially designed bed devices to help you cool yourself. I suggest the chillow and if you really want to get elaborate, try the bedfan. These two devices provide an entirely natural and comfortable way to reduce your sleeping temperature in a safe and effective way. I usually only suggest them for more severe situations, but many people enjoy their benefits, even people who don’t specifically suffer from night sweats.
- This won’t help if you’re suffering from night sweats in men, but if you’re suffering from menopause, you might try taking black cohosh. This natural herbal remedy has helped many (though not all) women suffering from menopause hot flashes sweating.
- Try a small amount of tryptophan-heavy foods an hour before bed (peanut butter is tasty, easy and high in tryptophan).
- Try some relaxing herbal remedies, such as chamomile and valerian. You might also try melatonin, which helps your body reset its sleep cycle through a naturally-occurring hormone.
Try environmental changes and natural remedies before you consider more serious conditions. I say this because most cases of night sweats or cold sweats while sleeping aren’t serious, but when they are serious, they can be very serious. Here are some of the causes of sweating while sleeping with medical origins:
- Medication side-effects: Study enough labels and you’ll find that night sweating is one of the most common side-effects of potent prescription drugs. If you’re really experiencing a drenching night sweats, discuss your medications with your physician.
- Infections: Even minor infections and fevers can cause sweating while sleeping. However, you should also be on the lookout for more serious infections which may cause profuse night seats. These include tuberculosis, endocarditis (heart valve swelling), osteomyelitis (bone inflammation) and an AIDS infection from the HIV virus.
- Abscesses: You might think this should fit under infections, but a long list of seemingly simple abscesses can cause severe night sweating. This includes boils and even dental infections (yes, tooth decay can cause night sweats). Note that some of these, like appendicitis, can be very, very serious.
- Diabetes and Hypoglycemia: Individuals suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemia who are taking insulin or other medications to moderate their blood sugar may suffer from sweating while sleeping. Read more in my article on this: Night Sweats and Diabetes
- Hormonal Changes: As I mentioned earlier, women experiencing menopause or low estrogen symptoms often experience hot flashes at night. But that’s not the only time our body’s may experience radical shifts in body temperature. Men may experience a kind of andropause and it isn’t unusual for individuals to experience night sweats during adolescence or during pregnancy as well.
There are, of course, many other causes of excessive sweating while sleeping, but I think this is essay is getting long enough already. In another article I cover, more generally, the causes of excessive sweating. In this article I have covered most of the common causes and provided you with some common sense solutions. I sincerely hope my suggestions help you curb your sweat glands and get through the night cool and dry.