Waking up during the night to find yourself, your bed and your bed clothing drenched in sweat is an uncomfortable feeling. Sometimes, this can simply be caused by a warm evening and general overheating. However, if this happens frequently on cool evenings, you may be suffering from night sweats.
This is a common problem and there are several factors that could be causing those uncomfortable, sweaty nights.
If your night sweats occur infrequently and usually on warm evenings, then you may be just too warm! By investing in some lighter bed clothing and bedding, you will help to make your slumber more cool and comfortable.
2. Food and drink
Drinking alcohol or eating spicy food before bed is not only a cause of snoring, but it can also increase your chances of night sweats. By avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol or spicy foods, and by making sure you drink plenty of water before bed, you will help keep your sleep as cool and as silent as possible.
3. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is also a known cause of night sweats. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a condition where the walls of your throat contract, interrupting normal breathing during sleep. For more information on Sleep Apnoea and how to combat it, read this article: What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnoea?
If you are currently taking medication, such as birth control pills, anti-depressants and other psychiatric drugs, these will often list night sweats as a side effect. Contact your local GP for more information about the side effects of your medication if you feel it may be interrupting your sleep.
Other medical factors could be the root of your night sweats, including hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), tuberculosis, endocarditis, and early symptoms of certain cancers. Night sweats are not usually a sign of illness but, if you are unsure, then a trip to your GP may help you determine the cause of your uncomfortable nights.
The menopause is often linked with night sweats, due to reduced oestrogen levels.
Night sweats caused by menopause and hot flashes
Two of the largest causes of night sweats in women are hot flushes (also called hot flashes) and menopause. Despite being incredibly natural and normal, both of these can be unpleasant. These don’t necessarily need to be treated with medication, but they can be uncomfortable and sometimes lead to feelings of tiredness and irritability. Read more about cooling products that will help combat hot flushes and night sweats so that you can enjoy a restful sleep here.
Menopause is a natural phase that affects all women, signalling the end of menstruation. Fifty one is the average age for a woman to experience menopause in the UK . The change in a woman’s oestrogen levels can cause several emotional and physical symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flushes. Read more about the menopause in our topic Menopause & Sleep.
7. Hot flushes and hot flashes
Sometimes referred to as a ‘hot flash’, hot flushes occur when women suddenly feel too warm, seemingly with no explanation, and this can be related to changes in circulation. Hot flushes can sometimes happen at night as night sweats.
Hot flushes can be linked to premenstrual overheating, and also with the menopause. Avoiding triggers, such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, are a good way of helping to reduce hot flushes, although they cannot be avoided entirely.
8. Natural remedies for night sweats
You don’t need to rush straight to the doctor to ease night sweats. There are several natural remedies and tactics that can keep you cool and comfortable, such as yoga and cooling aids, such as ice packs. It’s time to unpack that electric fan, too!
Read this article for natural remedies to help combat night sweats.
9. Men and night sweats
Men can also suffer from night sweats, too. Night sweats in men can be related to hormone levels, possibly indicating low testosterone. Research has suggested that men who work out may be conditioned to sweat at lower temperatures than expected, so night sweats could be a sign of overtraining. However, before altering your lifestyle dramatically, visit your GP to discuss causes and symptoms.
There is no need to suffer with night sweats. By keeping cool at night, you may be able to help to combat your uncomfortable nights. You could consider bedding that keeps you cool during the night. It’s always worth noting that consulting your doctor is the best way to find out why you’re having night sweats, and how you can help them.