Night sweats, sometimes called hyperhidrosis, are fairly common and have numerous levels of severity. One obvious sign of suffering from night sweats is waking up drenched in sweat.
A slightly less intense night sweat may simply involve sweating a bit in the night or waking up feeling damp. Although uncomfortable, night sweats are not typically a sign of a medical problem or condition.
Below are some tips for dealing with and diagnosing night sweat episodes.
Are They Night Sweats?
Try taking off some blankets to combat night sweats. It is important to determine that night sweats are not just a result of the temperature inside the bedroom. You may also want to try opening a window, turning on an overhead fan, or wearing less clothing for a couple of nights. If night sweats persist, you may even try taking a cool shower before bedtime.
Keep reading to find out causes contributing to night sweats.
Causes of Night Sweats
Night sweats are fairly common during menopause, but they can happen at other times and for other reasons. Causes of night sweats include:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Certain medications
- Hormone therapy
- Sleep apnea
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Nocturnal hypoglycemia
Your doctor can help you determine through blood, urine, or other tests if you have any of the above conditions.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep
Below is a list of things you can do to ensure good sleep and prevent night sweat episodes.
Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine before bedtime.
Go to bed at the same time every night to regulate your sleep patterns. Eight hours of sleep per night should always be the goal.
Avoid spicy foods and other edibles that may be difficult to digest, particularly before bedtime.
As mentioned above, determining the cause of your night sweats may require a visit to your doctor. Physicians can order blood and urine tests and x-rays, as well as check your family history to identify the causes of your night sweats and offer a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing night sweats cannot always be done on your own. If you are experiencing them for the first time or think that something is wrong, you should seek medical advice.
- Boston Women's Health Collective. (2006). Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances". Our Bodies, Ourselves.
- National Institute on Aging. (2015). Signs of the Menopausal Transition. Retrieved January 7, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/signs-menopausal-transition
- Von Muhlen, D.G. et al. (1995). A community-based study of menopause symptoms and estrogen replacement in older women. Maturitas, 22(2), 71-78.