Sweating in sleep: why it happens and how to treat
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of sweating? Even with air conditioning on, you were still sweating. Night sweats are the unnatural occurrence of sweating when asleep. Normally, when an individual is sleeping, their metabolism slows down and the temperature decreases because you aren't active but resting, thus night sweats usually do not occur. This condition is uncomfortable and if a person wakes up from sleeping because of it, it may be difficult to go back to sleep.
What causes night sweats? The different causes explained
The reason why medical conditions cause night sweats is still largely unknown. However it is thought that biological factors that are released into the bloodstream might influence the region of the brain that controls the temperature, the hypothalamus. They may work to reduce the temperature set point.
Acute and chronic infections may cause night sweats. Infections such as tuberculosis, endocarditis (infection of a heart valve) or osteomyelitis (bone infection) can cause night sweats.
A low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia) often caused by diabetes medications or the diabetes condition itself can cause night sweats.
Some prescription medications e.g. antidepressants and blood pressure medications can contribute to night sweats. So when you come in for an assessment with one of our physicians ensure you bring in all your medications.
Hormone imbalances and disorders may also result in night sweats. Hyperthyroidism is one cause since it increases metabolic activity and results in increased heat production and sweating. For the same reason an over functioning pituitary gland can also result in increased sweating. A pheochromocytoma results in excessive sweating, increased heart rate and headaches. These conditions can all be investigated through conducting blood tests.
Rarely cancer, e.g. lymphoma can result in night sweats. If you have recent weight loss and associated fevers your physician will exclude this through investigations.
Another rare cause for hyperhidrosis/night sweats is neurological conditions e.g. stroke or a focal neuropathy. During your assessment with a doctor they should conduct a neurological assessment to exclude this.
Those who suffer from psychological disorders like depression and anxiety may be more susceptible to having night sweats. In addition many of the medications for depression and anxiety also contribute to the hyperhidrosis/night sweats.
What causes night sweats in women?
The "hot flushes" that commonly accompany menopause can cause hyperhidrosis. This occurs because of a change in a woman's hormones during menopause and peri-menopause. Other causes of night sweats in women are variations in hormone levels that occur before their period commences, with oral contraception pills or during pregnancy.
How can you stop sweating in sleep?
It is important to be clinically assessed by a doctor who can exclude any of the underlying medical causes outlined above. After clinical assessment and appropriate investigation treatment might be commenced to control the night sweats.
At night what you cover yourself with can also make a difference. Use something that is made from thinner, comfortable material. A cotton sheet will work well in warm climates. Wear comfortable pyjamas that are made of cotton and with short sleeves if possible.
Still sweating? Get in touch!
If you have tried using a clinical strength anti-perspirant and are still suffering sweat problems then we can help. Contact us now to book an appointment for treatment at one of our clinics (or if you have any questions) using the form on the right-hand side of this page.