Night sweats, sometimes known as hyperhydrosis, can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling exhausted. Individuals who suffer from night sweats may awaken in the middle in the night feeling either too cold or too hot, their palms clammy, and their bed sheets moist with sweat.
Night sweats are surely a nuisance and can cause insomnia-inducing stress. How do you know if you suffer from night sweats? Most likely, your wet bedding and extreme body temperature will be enough to diagnose night sweats. If you are still in doubt, visit your doctor.
What do Night Sweats Mean
Night sweats are not inherently harmful. They commonly are a symptom of another condition. There are many causes of night sweats. Perhaps the most common cause of night sweats in women is menopause. Most menopausal women will experience some form of night sweats. Men too can suffer from night sweats due to hormonal changes. Andropause, sometimes referred to as ‘male menopause,’ can also cause men to experience night sweats.
Night Sweats and Sleep Apnea
Another common cause of night sweats are sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when individuals experience frequent pauses of breath during the course of a night’s sleep. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea will experience pauses that can last for up to ten seconds, and may experience up to 30 pauses in breath per night.
People who experience sleep apnea will experience frequent disruptions in sleep, which can often cause night sweats. Often, night sweats can be indicative of sleep apnea. If you tend to wake up at night, sweaty and out of breath, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. You will want to consult your medical professional, who might recommend.
Night sweats also commonly stem from any illness that can produce fevers or chills. Immune-suppressing diseases such as HIV, AIDS, Hodgkin’s disease, and tuberculosis can result in severe disruptions of sleep, and even frequent night sweats. Women who have undergone chemotherapy are also particularly vulnerable to suffering from night sweats. Chemotherapy robs the body of estrogen. When a woman’s body lacks estrogen, signs of menopause will emerge. These may include hot flashes, insomnia, and of course, night sweats.
Another cause of night sweats stems from the effect of certain medications. Certain anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications, as well as some birth control pills, can cause night sweats.
A laundry list of other possible causes of night sweats may include: diabetes, strokes, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, anemia, migraines, hyperthyroidism, head or brain injury, and any condition that can cause fever.
Managing Night Sweats
As you can see, night sweats may be the result of any number of conditions. In order to take control of your night sweats, you must first determine what is causing them. If the cause of your night sweats is not evident, make a list of anything you suspect may be triggering them. Visit your doctor, who will perform a complete health evaluation and conduct tests to identify the cause of your night sweats.
Most of the time, finding the cause of your night sweats can help you eliminate or reduce their frequency. Although very rare, you may want to be tested for primary hyperhydrosis. Primary hyperhydrosis is a rare disorder that causes very heavy night and daytime sweating. Primary hyperhydrosis can interfere with an individual’s quality of life. In the most severe cases, surgical removal of the sweat glands may be advised.
If you find yourself suffering from night sweats, here are a few things you can do to reduce their frequency and intensity. Certain lifestyle changes can help you deal with night sweats.
If you are experiencing night sweats, it’s very important that you practice excellent sleep hygiene. Retire to bed at the same time every night, get at least eight hours of sleep, and avoid alcoholic beverages before bedtime. Spicy foods have also been linked to the occurrence of night sweats, so abstain from eating hard to digest foods near bedtime.
You may also benefit from keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature, or sleeping with the window open to increase air circulation. Some people swear by taking a cold shower right before bedtime. If night sweats do strike in the middle of the night, have a cool glass of water or juice to re-hydrate. If the night sweats were severe enough, you will also want to take a bath, and then change your bedding and sleeping clothes.