Ask any physician what is a common complaint they receive from women aged 40 and older, and you’ll likely hear the answer night sweats. In other words, they’re quite common. In a recent study of more than 2,200 patients, 41 percent said they had night sweats in the last month.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats, known medically as sleep hyperhidrosis, is a condition of excessive sweating at night. These sweats occur when the body’s internal temperature control system goes berserk. Night sweats are particularly prevalent as women go through perimenopause and menopause, though men can have them too.
Quite often night sweats are accompanied by hot flashes. The result? Sleepwear and sheets that are drenched. After the night sweats and hot flashes pass, the victim is often left temporarily chilled and fidgety.
Causes of Night Sweats
Sometimes night sweats can be caused by something as simple as your sleeping environment. At other times, they occur as a result of a hormone imbalance, medications taken, or a medical disorder. These are the most common causes of night sweats:
- Too many blankets
- Heavy non-moisture wicking pajamas
- Sleeping temperature in bedroom
- Perimenopause or Menopause
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Medications that reduce your body temperature (antipyretics)
- Hormone therapy medications
- Certain cancers (Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
- Overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)
- Carcinoid Syndrome
- Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis
- Infections (Tuberculosis, Endocarditis)
It’s important to see your doctor if your night sweats occur night after night, disrupt your sleep, or accompany other medical symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss or fever. Because there are many varying causes of night sweats, your doctor needs to obtain a detailed medical history and perform a number of tests to determine if an underlying medical condition is the true culprit of night sweats.
Sleeping Tips to Manage Night Sweats
If it turns out that there isn’t an underlying medical condition causing your night sweats, you might try making changes to your sleeping environment. First, considering wearing sleepwear that wicks moisture away from your body. Next, adjust the air temperature in your bedroom to be the best temperature for sleeping — ideally between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Lastly, sleep on a mattress, such as a natural latex mattress or natural latex topper mattress pad, that is known for sleeping cool.
Best wishes for a dry and restful sleep!
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