(Photo Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sweating.jpg)
When you think of night sweats, you may think only of women in menopause, but this is a problem that affects both men and women alike of all ages. The truth is that more than 40% of all people will experience night sweats at some point during her life, with many people experiencing them on a chronic basis.
If you wake up in the morning or in the middle of the night with your bedding or your clothing soaking wet, then night sweats are more than likely occurring.
What Are Night Sweats?
The first thing to understand about night sweats is that it is not a sign of anything significantly wrong with your health. There are many obvious causes of night sweats, not least of which is having the temperature in your bedroom too high. But, waking up soaking wet can be embarrassing and disruptive to sleep, so finding a solution is still pretty important.
The signs of night sweats are pretty easy to identify – damp clothing, damp bedding, hair that is plastered to your forehead, or a sudden chill when you wake up, realizing that you have been sweating profusely.
What Causes This Problem?
There are actually many different causes for night sweats though most people see this as a sign of menopause only. The most common cause of night sweats in both men and women is sleeping in a bedroom that is too hot.
Experts agreed that your bedroom should be 73° F for you to maintain proper sleep, though having a bedroom of 65° F will provide even better sleep.
Menopause is obviously one significant cause of night sweats in women, though night sweats can actually be one of the very first signs of menopause before any other signs exist. If you are a woman in your late 30s or early 40s and you are starting to notice night sweats on a regular basis, then it could be a sign of pre-menopause.
Interestingly enough, many medications can trigger night sweats in a lot of people, and some of these medications are very commonly prescribed. These include antidepressants, blood sugar medications, hormone therapy or placement, and various medications that may inadvertently lower your body’s core temperature.
Can Any Conditions Cause This Problem?
Night sweats are rarely considered to be an identifier of a disease, though they are often lesser-known symptoms. For instance, people with leukemia, HIV or AIDS, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hyperthyroidism, or various forms of cancer may often suffer from night sweats. People who have had a stroke, have a bone infection, or adrenal gland issues may also suffer from night sweats, too.
If you are not of post-menopausal or pre-menopausal age and you cannot identify the underlying cause for your night sweats, then you may want to talk to a doctor to determine if there are any health issues which you may need to take care of. In most cases though, there are basic treatments that should be able to eliminate this problem for you.
Are There Any Long-Term Repercussions?
There are no any significant long-term repercussions to having night sweats, other than the fact that you may wake up either chilled or with a feeling of dehydration. Therefore, if you do suffer from night sweats on a regular basis, it is worth making sure that you are properly hydrated all the time. You can have a change of clothing in case you wake up in the middle of the night and you are wet.
Is There Anything You Can Do About It?
There are numerous methods that you can use to start eliminating the reasons for your night sweats. First of all, try to reduce the temperature in your bedroom so that you are actually feeling cold when you fall asleep. Since your body will warm up under your covers during the night, this will help you to stay at a more reasonable temperature.
If you wear pajamas to bed, you may consider not wearing them or wear optional clothing that is lighter or moisture wicking. It is also worth taking a look at your bedding to make sure that you do not have too many blankets for the time of year.
Assuming that you have made changes such as eliminating caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and unnecessary medications from your diet, then you may also want to take a look at your weight.
People who are obese have a higher tendency of night sweats, simply because they have more body fat. In short, simply improving various lifestyle issues will usually eliminate night sweats, in conjunction with lowering the temperature of your bedroom.
Last Updated 21 July 2013
1. Mayo Clinic (Accessed 21 July 2013)
2. WebMD (Accessed 21 July 2013)
3. NHS Choices (Accessed 21 July 2013)
4. Medicine Net (Accessed 21 July 2013)