Excessive Night Sweating
Sweaty at night during sleep? Learn all about night sweats and excessive night sweating. What it is,
what are the causes and how to treat it effectively.
Night sweats medically known as sleep hyperhidrosis is the occurrence of excessive night sweating during sleep.
Oftentimes, individuals who suffer from this condition experience severe hot flashes that cause them to wake up
drenched in sweat even though when the environment isn't excessively warm. It is also not uncommon for people
suffering from severe night sweating to experience shortness of breath, have difficulty going back to sleep or
Causes of Night Sweats
The possible causes of night sweats are many and it should be noted that anyone can experience night sweating
from time to time. While some cases of night sweats may be relatively harmless and can occur for genetic reasons or
when one is having a fever, others may not and can be symptoms of some serious medical problem.
(One such symptom that may indicate it can be something more serious is unexplained weight loss.)
Individuals who experience persistent nights of excessive sweating that can't be explained should always consult
a doctor to check if the cause of night sweats is related to any underlying medical condition or problem.
The following are some of the possible conditions that can cause night sweats:
Menopause. Night sweats is a very common occurrence among women experiencing hormonal changes
especially during perimenopause and menopause. The profuse sweating can also be accompany by hot flashes or an
intense warm sensation, usually in the face and chest.
Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis. When the body creates excessive body perspiration for no reason at
all, not caused by any medical condition or due to any side effect from the use of medication, then this could well
be the problem. The sweat glands are hyperactive even when you are just sitting down or resting. This could also be
due to genetics.
Illness and Infections. Diseases such as tuberculosis can be the classic cause for night
sweats. Bacterial infections of the heart, such as endocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart valves, can
also be associated with night sweats. Cancer, inflammation of the bones and HIV infection are other possible
Medications. In cases where there are no other symptoms, tumours or infections, then
medications are probably the primary cause of night sweats.
Almost all types of antidepressants are known to cause night sweats as a side effect. In some cases, medicine
like aspirin or acetaminophen can also lead to night sweating.
Other types of drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) or medications used to treat heart conditions that has
nitro-glycerine may also be associated with flushing or night sweats.
(Consult with a health care practitioner to check if the cause of night sweats is the result of a side
effect of medication. Usually, the condition can be improve when the medication is changed or
Hypoglycemia. A lower than normal level of blood glucose in the body can lead to night
sweating. Individuals who are taking insulin or certain oral anti-diabetic medications may also experience sleep
Hormone Disorder. Night sweats can also be trigger from hormone disorders such as
hyperthyroidism (overactive tissue within the thyroid gland) or pheochromocytoma (tumor of the sympathetic nervous
Neurological Conditions. Strokes or other neurological conditions can cause increased
perspiration and lead to excessive night sweating.
Abscesses. Boils, appendix, tonsils and perianal abscesses are also possible causes for night
Treatments for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
The treatments to stop night sweats are numerous. Depending on the frequency or severity of the night sweats, it
may be necessary to first talk to a doctor to evaluate the list of possible causes before deciding on the correct
course of treatment.
For women who suffer night sweats due to menopause, hormone treatments are a good start. Estrogen patches or any
other estrogen products can be used with permission from your doctor. If night sweats are severe enough to
interfere with sleep or day-to-day life, women may turn to more drastic measures, such as Botox ® or surgery.
For others who experience hot flashes or night sweats occasionally (not associated to any hormonal imbalance,
medication, disease or illness), some medical experts suggest the following:
- Avoid any spicy foods, alcohol or caffeinated drinks at least 3 hours before going to bed because they can
trigger night sweats and hot flashes by raising heart rate and blood pressure.
- Avoid any exercise, smoking or drinking of hot liquids within 3 hours of going to bed. The heart beats
faster after any of these actions and when metabolism increases, excessive sweating can happen.
- Avoid hot tubs or jacuzzi's before bedtime. Instead take a cold shower or cool bath before bedtime.
- Use fans or lower the room thermostat by another one to two degrees to keep the bedroom at a cool
temperature. Alternatively, if the weather permits, sleep with windows open to increase air circulation.
- Wear light bed clothings.
- If you are feeling stressed out from the day's work or events, try taking at least an hour before bedtime
for some relaxation activity (like watching a funny show on TV, listening to light music, mediation or
- Try herbs such as violets, elder or chickweek can help regulate and lower the body temperature. Plants that
can increase oxygen in the liver, such as dandelion, dong quai, yellow dock, Ho Shou Wu (polygonum multiflorum)
or black cohosh are also reported to help lessen the severity of hot flashes and night sweats.