11 Shocking Reasons You Are Waking Up in Sweat at Night


Occasionally waking up sweaty at night is not usually a big deal. It is often just your body’s way of cooling down if your bedding, pajamas, or the room temperature is too warm. But if you are frequently waking up drenched in sweat, it might be more than just a warm room. Frequent night sweats that soak your sleepwear and disrupt your sleep could point to an underlying health condition or be a side effect of medication. Let’s explore 11 possible reasons for those troublesome night sweats. 

  • Infections

Infections that cause high fever can make you sweat, even when you are asleep. When your body is fighting off viruses or bacteria, it raises your temperature to create a tough environment for these germs. Common infections like the flu, COVID-19, and more serious ones like HIV or pneumonia can lead to night sweats.

Research published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases explains that the body’s fever response is a natural defense mechanism, increasing body temperature to make it harder for pathogens to survive. This process can cause sweating, especially during sleep.

  • Warm Sleeping Environment

One of the most common reasons for night sweats is simply a warm sleeping environment. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) for the best sleep. If your room is too warm, your body temperature can rise, causing you to sweat. 

Try using lighter bedding and pajamas to stay cool. According to the National Sleep Foundation, maintaining a cool bedroom temperature helps regulate your body’s internal thermostat and improve sleep quality. 

  • Endocrine Disorders

Conditions like hyperthyroidism and diabetes can affect the body’s hormone levels and lead to night sweats. In diabetes, low blood sugar levels at night (hypoglycemia) can cause sweating. Hyperthyroidism speeds up bodily functions, including sweat production, and may also cause weight loss, nervousness, and fatigue.

  • Medications

Certain medications can cause night sweats as a side effect. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescription pain medications, antibiotics, heart and blood pressure drugs, corticosteroids, antidepressants, thyroid medications, niacin (vitamin B3), and decongestants. If you suspect your medication is causing night sweats, consult your doctor. 

  • Hormone Levels

Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can cause night sweats. These hormone imbalances can affect how your body controls its temperature. You might also experience hot flashes during the day, irregular periods, and trouble sleeping.

A study from the Journal of Women’s Health highlights that hormone fluctuations significantly impact the body’s ability to regulate temperature, often leading to symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes.

  • Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating, day or night. It can affect specific areas like the palms, underarms, feet, or head, or cause overall increased perspiration without any obvious triggers. Sometimes, hyperhidrosis is linked to other medical conditions like lung disease, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke.

  • Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress can trigger physical symptoms, including night sweats. When the body responds to stress, it ramps up certain functions, including sweat production. Other symptoms may include a fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, and shakiness.

  • Sleep Disorders

Some sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia, have been linked to night sweats. These conditions cause frequent night awakenings, which can arouse the body and lead to sweating. Treating the sleep disorder often reduces night sweats.

  • Cancer

Although it is not very common, certain types of cancer, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, can cause night sweats. If night sweats are due to cancer, they are usually accompanied by other symptoms like unexplained weight loss and persistent fever.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system, which is part of your body’s immune system. This type of cancer can disrupt the normal functioning of your body, leading to symptoms such as night sweats.

  • GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Though the exact link is unclear, GERD can cause night sweats. Other symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, a hoarse voice, and waking up with a bitter taste in your mouth. 

  • Drinking or Smoking

Regularly consuming alcohol or smoking can cause excess perspiration due to their impact on the body’s central nervous and circulatory systems. Drinking or smoking can affect internal temperature and lead to night sweats. Additional hangover-related symptoms may include headache, nausea, and fatigue.

How to stop sweating at night?

Making changes to your bedtime environment and routine can help manage night sweats. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your bedroom cool

Aim for a temperature around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

  • Switch up your bedding and sleepwear

Choose lighter, moisture-wicking layers.

  • Exercise regularly

Regular exercise helps regulate body temperature but avoid working out close to bedtime.

  • Eat a healthy diet

Balanced meals with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can stabilize hormone levels.

  • Manage stress

Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, breathwork, or yoga.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods

These can increase internal body functions, especially when consumed close to bedtime. 

Keep an eye on what might be causing your night sweats, like your sleep habits, stress levels, diet, daily activities, exercise, and any medications you are taking. Your doctor might run some tests to figure out the cause and suggest the best treatment for you.

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