How To Stop Sweating While Sleeping
What Exactly Are Night Sweats?
Sleep hyperhidrosis, also known as night sweats, is a condition wherein the body experiences heavy episodes of sweating while sleeping. This condition can soak the bedsheets, pillows, and pajamas. If you are sweating a lot when sleeping, then you may be experiencing night sweats. Depending on the circumstances, they can be quite common or indicative of a more serious illness. Therefore, you must determine the source behind why you are sweating while sleeping.
Environmental Causes of Night Sweats
Sometimes, sweating at night is due to environmental factors. In these cases, the episodes are not deemed as night sweats. Here are some examples.
- Thick layers of bedding or sleepwear
If you are sleeping under multiple layers of thick bedding, there’s a higher chance that you’ll sweat, especially during the summer.
As a matter of fact, it’s healthy for your body to sleep naked because it guarantees proper thermoregulation. Thermoregulation is the process wherein your body works to maintain proper body temperature.
Thermoregulation works hand in hand with the circadian cycle. This is why your body cools down during your sleep and slightly increases during the day for an energy boost. Sleeping naked helps your body cool down, allowing you to sleep better and prevent sweating.
- Warm bedroom temperature
If your bedroom is too warm or there is a lack of air circulation, you could risk sweating while sleeping. In this case, a fan can provide a much-needed breeze.
Major Health Conditions That Can Cause Night Sweats
There are other instances where you may find yourself sweating in the middle of the night. These episodes may be episodes of night sweats. Below are some major health conditions that can cause them:
Illness: Fever or Cold
No one enjoys being ill. Most of us hope that we will be sweating out a fever while sleeping. Sweating is our body’s way of cooling itself. Sweat comes out of our pores, when it makes contact with the air, it evaporates off the skin, cooling you off. When you develop an infection, your internal thermostat becomes reset to a higher level, such as 101. This is called a fever. Although not everything is known about fevers, it has been found that fevers can kill some bacteria or viruses and boost the body’s immune system. When the fever breaks, the body’s “thermostat” returns to 98.6. It does this by making the body sweat. Sweating out a fever while sleeping is usually pretty easy because illness often makes us tired.
Can you really sweat out a cold? Some people think that by making themselves sweat, a cold can go away faster. While sweating may provide a cooling feeling – that feeling is temporary. Similarly, parents who layer on the blankets in hopes of helping their child sweating out a cold while sleeping has not proven to provide any benefit.  A cold or any other virus needs to work through its course. In the case of a cold, that is 7-10 days.
- Menopause. It is common for women to experience hot flashes during menopause. This often results in sweating a lot while sleeping, as well as during the day. Hot flashes occur due to changes in hormone levels, which lead to high body temperature and adrenaline. When this happens, night sweats occur, and the sleeper often wakes up drenched in sweat. This is very common.
- Hormone Imbalances. Other medical conditions can also cause hot flashes and sweating. Some of the most common hormonal disorders that lead to night sweats include carcinoid syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and pheochromocytoma. Additionally, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can also cause night sweats.
- Obesity. Individuals that are overweight suffer from night sweats because it is hard for their body to thermoregulate properly during sleep. Apart from that, obesity can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
- Untreated Sleep Apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing condition wherein the patient instantly stops breathing while sleeping, which eventually leads to gasping, choking, or loud snoring. It’s not surprising that a person who suffers from sleep apnea experiences. The effort to breathe, an increased blood pressure, and release of the stress hormone, cortisol all combine to cause sweating while sleeping.
- Anxiety Disorders. Some individuals with anxiety disorders have irregular activated nervous systems. This is because their condition doesn’t just affect them emotionally or mentally; it also comes with physical symptoms. Two of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are sweats and hot flashes. These symptoms occur because of the vagus nerve, which regulates most bodily functions including, heart rate, digestion, and temperature.
- Cancer. Sweating a lot while sleeping is sometimes an early symptom of cancer. Both lymphoma and leukemia cause night sweats. Lymphoma is a disease that begins in the lymph system. Cancer that occurs in the blood is called leukemia. In some cases of cancer, sweating a lot while sleeping is accompanied by symptoms of unexplained weight loss and fevers.
- Diabetes. There are times that a person may develop neck sweating while sleeping, as well as on both sides of the head as a rare, long-term complications of diabetes. Neck sweating while sleeping is formally known as gustatory sweating. It can occur on the forehead, face, and scalp as well.
- Post-Op Complications. Neck sweating while sleeping or during different times during the day can develop as a result of nerve damage to or near the parotid glands. This is called Frey’s Syndrome or Rupuy’s syndrome. Treatment for this can be difficult.
How to Stop Sweating While Sleeping
If you develop sweating while sleeping, here are some ways you can try to prevent it.
- Adjust your bedroom temperature.
The ideal temperature for your bedroom should be around 65 Degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can always adjust it to your preference.
- Make use of a fan in your bedroom.
Placing a fan in your bedroom can add better air circulation, encourage better sleep and prevent sweat. You can use a ceiling fan, bedside fan, or both.
- Sleep naked.
Sleeping naked can help you regulate body temperature. Apart from that, sleeping with fewer layers of clothing can also lessen the heat in your body. Choose lighter wear, which is more breathable. A piece of advice comes from a mattress cleaning professional Dean Davis, you should carry hot-water-extraction treatments once in a while to suck out any sweat soaked into fabrics.
- Minimize the layers of your bedding.
Sleeping with fewer layers of bedding can prevent sweats. Choose to go to bed with breathable cotton or linen material.
- Purchase a cooling mattress.
There are mattresses that can help you achieve a more refreshing slumber. These mattresses are made from a variety of materials including memory foam, pocket coils, or hybrids. They include copper or gel as cooling comfort materials. These mattresses conduct heat better, sustaining a cooler sleeping space. You can also put cooling mattress pads or toppers on top of your mattress, and utilize a cooling pillow to achieve the best sweat-free sleep.
- Avoid stress.
This can be difficult. But with increased stress, the body temperature rises and your energy increases, making it easier for you to develop physical reactions. Adults who experience post-traumatic stress syndrome or children who have night terrors have been known to wake up drenched in sweat. You can take mental health breaks by doing aromatherapy or yoga before bed. Don’t watch anything upsetting before you go to bed.
- Exercise and eat properly.
Proper diet and exercise will help your body stay in good shape. Once your body is in its ideal shape, it can thermoregulate adequately.
- Avoid eating spicy foods.
Eating spicy foods can invoke gustatory sweating, and subsequent neck sweating while sleeping. This type of sweating occurs soon after eating hot, spicy foods. Avoid eating late night spicy dips before bed.
- Avoid alcohol intake before sleep.
Alcohol can cause drowsiness as it functions as a muscle relaxant. Unfortunately, this may affect the upper airway causing sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea.
- Place refreshments beside your bed.
Before you go to sleep, make sure you drink a glass of water. Place ice cubes or an ice pack beside your bed in case you wake up during the night. You can also utilize a cooling spray or small face towel to dab on your neck and face.
- Realize that sweating out a cold while sleeping is not effective. The virus or bacterial infection has to run its course. In the case of colds, that means 7-10 days. Make sure you stay hydrated and have the proper nutrition to build up your immune system.
A myriad of reasons can cause sweating while sleeping. If you try the above tips and still find yourself experiencing night sweats, or if the night sweats are accompanied by weight loss, pain, or fever, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor.