Night Sweats

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Night sweats are defined as “Excessive sweating occurring at night due to severe hot flashes that drench the clothes and beddings”. When the weather is hot, humid, and damp, waking up midnight out of sheer discomfort, all drenched in sweat is quite natural.

One must start worrying about night sweats when they start occurring regularly. These night sweats could be early indicators of an underlying medical condition which if untreated could manifest into a serious medical condition. The below symptoms are red flags if you suffer from night sweats.

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  • Despite a perfect sleep environment, the night sweats occurs regularly disrupting sleep.
  • Fever every time you have an attack of night sweat.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

These night sweats could be indicators of many medical conditions such as infections, early signs of cancer, neurological and/or hormone disorder. On the other hand, the reason for night sweats could also be non-medical. Some of these are controllable and others not so much.

  • Consuming spicy food and/or hot beverages at night could be one of the causes. Both tend to increase body temperature causing hot flashes and severe sweating. The solution is pretty straight forward i.e. avoid consuming these close to bedtime. If you must have them then have it 2-3 hours before hitting the bed. You should let your tea/coffee/hot chocolate cool off a bit before you drink.
  • Keeping the room warmer than normal, using extra blankets, wearing too many clothes while going to bed could also be reasons for excessive sweating. Adjust the AC to keep the room cool i.e. between 22 to 24-degree, wear light cotton clothes, avoid synthetic fabrics, and replace your beddings to moisture wicking quick drying ones.
  • Doing anything physically straining (running or exercising) before bedtime also causes night sweats. If you must exercise at night, ensure you never go to bed immediately after a workout.
  • You suffer from chronic sweating (Idiopathic hyperhidrosis). This condition is a mystery as there isn’t any identifiable medical or environmental explanation for it. Here the only solution is to keep your bedroom temperature low by either opening the windows or adjusting A/c temperature.
  • During menopause hot flashes and night sweats are common. This phase usually starts pre-menopause and gradually disappears post-menopause. Eating healthy and exercising regularly will help reduce these.
  • Anxiety and stress have also been known to cause night sweats. Never go to bed after a meal or immediately after watching TV or working. Take time to unwind and relax yourself by meditating, doing light stretches, performing breathing exercise.
  • Certain medications prescribed for depression, headache, and migraines are also known to cause night sweats. These medicines lower the blood sugar level that cause night sweats. Consult your physician if night sweats have started after a change of prescription. Usually eating something after having these medicines is known to help maintain blood sugar levels.
  • There are certain sleep disorders such as night terrors and nightmares that also cause night sweats. Nightmares are fairly common and usually happen when once has watched or heard something traumatizing like an accident, horror flick, or death. They usually don’t last long and eventually fade out however night terrors are more disturbing and need to be treated medically.
  • The other common sleep disorder that causes night sweats is Sleep Apnea. In this condition the patient is unable to breathe while sleeping. This need for air causes night sweats wherein the patient always wakes up feeling breathless and restless. This condition can be medically treated by a sleep doctor.



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