What Are Night Sweats?
When your room is excessively hot or you’ve layered on too many blankets, you might break out in a sweat. But that isn’t what we’re discussing. “Night sweats” refers to profuse perspiration that wakes you up in the middle of the night, and sometimes so much that you have to change your bedding. It’s frequently linked to a medical condition. Dealing with whatever it is that’s causing the sweating may help.
Hyperthyroidism is characterized by increased sweating and sensitivity to heat. Because the thyroid gland regulates your metabolism, your body goes into overdrive when it produces too much hormone. When your body temperature rises, you may feel hungrier or thirstier, have a racing pulse or trembling hands, be weary and irritable, have diarrheas, and lose weight.
Do you suffer from diabetes? While your blood glucose levels may be normal when you go to bed, they may decline while you sleep. Perhaps you had a particularly active day, or perhaps you exercised in the evening or ate a late dinner. Your nighttime hypoglycemia could be caused by the usage of insulin or a sulfonylurea-type medicine to manage your diabetes. Have a snack if your glucose is less than 140 mg/dL before night, or if it is likely to decline in the next few hours.
This condition causes you to cease breathing for brief periods of time during the night. Because you’re not getting enough oxygen, your body may go into “fight or flight” mode, which causes you to sweat. Every time it has to kick-start breathing, your muscles have to work extra hard. Night sweats are about as common in people who use a CPAP machine to help them breathe at night as they are in those who don’t have sleep apnea.
Heartburn and chest pain aren’t the only things that might wake you awake. Although GERD hasn’t been examined extensively as a cause of night sweats, experts believe there is a link. And addressing it can help you sleep better at night. Eat smaller meals and avoid eating right before bedtime. Foods that are greasy, fried, or tomato-based should be avoided. If your symptoms are severe or occur more than a few times each week, see your doctor.
NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as over-the-counter fever reducers like acetaminophen, can produce night sweats. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as bupropion and venlafaxine, as well as hormone replacement therapy and steroids like cortisone and prednisone, are prominent possibilities. Some glaucoma and dry mouth medications also activate your sweat glands. Consult your pharmacist or physician.
It’s difficult to tell the difference between “hot flashes” and nocturnal sweats before and after your period. They can also affect younger women who have had both ovaries removed or who have ceased menstruation due to chemotherapy. They’re more likely to occur if you’re stressed, sad, or regularly consume alcohol. But don’t assume your night sweats are caused by menopause just because you’re a lady of the correct age (usually in her late 40s or 50s).
A lower temperature in the bedroom and fans to circulate the air may make you more comfortable. Use moisture-wicking quick-dry sheets and PJs. Avoid synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe. If you can’t figure out what’s causing your night sweats, keep a diary to share with your doctor. Ideally, you’ll be able to treat the cause and not just the symptom.