Why Do I Sweat in My Sleep? Causes, Fixes and Treatments
Sweating is a natural thing that happens with our bodies in the midst of our daily routine. No big surprise there. It happens when our body releases moisture on our skin, which then evaporates to cool us down. You can think of sweating as the body's air conditioning system when we get too hot.
But what about excessive sweating? And what if it happens during sleep? Waking up at night soaked and drenched in sweat can affect our sleep quality for a plethora of reasons. The excessive sweating makes us need to change clothes or even the bed sheets. This can lead to severe discomfort and ultimately become a major problem.
In this article, you're going to discover why some people sweat in their sleep and how to fix this particular health issue with some of the treatments available to reduce night sweats, or even stop sweating at night altogether.
What Are Night Sweats?
First of all, it is important to know that it's often perfectly fine to sweat in bed at night. This happens frequently in hot areas, especially if your room temperature is on the warm side and you can't get enough air flow from A/C, fans, or the outdoors to freshen up your surroundings.
When we talk about "night sweats", we are actually talking about something more specific. In fact, we're discussing an actual health issue, as opposed to a nuisance or inconvenience.
More to the point: according to the Sleep Foundation, night sweats are excessive perspiration episodes during sleep. In other words, if you are experiencing more than the normal amount of sweat while you're in bed asleep, you are probably experiencing night sweats.
The Most Common Causes of Night Sweats
All of that being said, it's important to understand the different potential causes of night sweating. As with practically any condition, there are many different root causes that can result in the health issue itself.
As far as night sweating goes, here are a few of the main underlying causes.
As women get older, their menstrual periods stop due to lower hormone levels, usually occurring sometime around the age of 50. During this time, the body undergoes a number of significant physiological changes, which can result in difficulty sleeping due to night sweats. Naturally, this can make you feel tired and irritable during the day. Hormonally, estrogen and progesterone hormones are believed to be essential drivers of hot flashes, which are considered the rather ignominious hallmark of menopause.
Night Sweats can also occur as a result of changes within the body's endocrine system, which manages hormone levels in the human body. One example is overactivity of the thyroid, which is known as hyperthyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the front of your neck, just beneath your Adam's apple. If it is overactive, then you may be diagnosed and treated for hyperthyroidism, an unfortunate consequence of which is night sweating.
Particular medications may also act on some parts of the brain that regulate your body temperature and, by extension, sweat glands. Put another way, these medications can also result in night sweats. For some, antidepressants are a common drug that can result in night sweats. (Don't worry, though: it's only about 22% of all people taking such medications that report night sweats as a side effect. This side effect should in no way contribute to any decision not to take antidepressants if they're prescribed to you. They are a life-saving drug when administered and taken properly with a doctor's instruction.)
Drinking Alcohol Before Bedtime
Have you ever noticed that your body may sweat a bit more during sleep, after you've had a few drinks earlier in the evening? Drinking alcohol is known to lead to night sweats at times, since it may increase your body temperature over the next few hours. Basically, if you're lying in bed after a night on the town and can't stop sweating, you can rest assured it's probably just one of the after-effects of alcohol.
How to Fix Night Sweats: Treatments for Better Sleep
Night sweats can be worrying, especially when you share beds with your partner and your children. This can be an intense sleep disruption, and you'd be forgiven for being sick and tired of it! Don't worry. There is some good news coming! We have a few health remedies and other fixes to get your night sweating under control.
Visit your Doctor about Night Sweats.
We have to start by encouraging you to see your doctor. If it seems like you've searched anywhere (aka, WebMD) for the cause of your night sweat, but you still can't find the answer... Please make a doctor's appointment tell your physician about your night sweats. If this frequently happens to you, then raising the issue to a medical professional is always the best answer.
Change your lifestyle
After speaking to a doctor, there are still some things you can do at home to help mitigate the issue and ease your body temperature back from the fiery mountains of Mordor.
- Cool bedroom and light clothes
When you're on your way to the menopausal stage, you may experience hot flashes. However, if you wear breathable sleeping clothes and lower the room temperature by setting your air conditioner to a lower degree, you may find it much easier to get comfortable at night and fall asleep.
- Drink cold water
Drinking a small amount of cool water before bedtime can often help people with night sweats feel relaxed and get their body to a lower, more pleasant temperature.
- Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy food (before bed)
These three things can result in higher bodily temperatures that can, in turn, cause sweating at night in bed. Of course, you can still enjoy these during the day, but watch your intake, especially at night, if night sweating is something you're experiencing.
- Stress level
Being stressed, especially at bedtime, can be a major issue. Not only could it keep you from falling asleep easily and staying asleep through the night, but it could also result in night sweating as well. Try reading a good book or magazine, or listening to relaxing music or gentle nature sounds, such as ocean waves. If these help you to unwind and have a feeling of relaxation, they may also help you to reduce night sweat.
As we have seen, there are quite a few reasons for why some people experience excessive sweating in bed at night, before or during sleep. Whatever the reason may be, having a conversation with your doctor first is always the best option. A physician can determine the root cause(s) of your night sweating, provide treatments and healthy remedies, and get you back to having a good night's sleep every night.