No More Cold and Clammy Night Sweats
Do night sweats disrupt your sleep? Sweating at night isn’t really a sleep disorder, but there’s no doubt that waking up with nightclothes and bedding soaked with perspiration disturbs your nighttime slumber.
One cause of night sweats or nocturnal hydrosis is menopause. Of course, if you are a man, this doesn’t apply. And, believe it or not, it doesn’t necessarily apply if you are a woman, either. There are many causes of night sweats. Even eating spicy food or drinking a hot beverage before bedtime can bring on a night sweat. Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease is another possible cause. So is a bedroom that’s too hot or sleeping under too many blankets.
Other causes of night sweats
As we are dealing with sleep disorders, it should be noted that one cause of night sweats is obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore, suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or are overweight, and you also suffer from night sweats, consider the possibility of sleep apnea.
If you are a woman and going through menopause, don’t take it for granted that the night sweats are caused by the menopause. The hormonal changes taking place in your body — the reduction in estrogen and progesterone — can cause or aggravate sleep apnea.
Night sweats are usually a symptom of some underlying condition. As already mentioned, menopause and sleep apnea can cause night sweats. So can any infection, including the common cold, bone infections, tuberculosis and HIV infection. Night sweats may also be a symptom of some types of cancer, including lymphoma.
Many medications can lead to night sweats. Night sweats are a common side-effect of several anti-depressant medications. People who suffer from a fever and take aspirin or other similar drugs to bring their temperature down, often have night sweats. Corticosteroid drugs, including prednisone, can also induce a night sweat.
If you suffer from night sweats, the first step is to try to determine the cause. Talk to your doctor. Ask about any medication you’re taking, and have a thorough examination to try to determine the underlying cause.
Also eliminate anything in your lifestyle that might cause this disorder. Cut down on consumption of alcohol. Avoid overly spicy food.
Sleep in a cool room. If weather permits, leave the window open, or try using a fan.
A cool shower before bed sometimes fends off the misery of nocturnal hydrosis.
Clean up. Change your bedding. Put on fresh nightwear. Have a cold drink. Drink a glass of water, fruit juice or milk.
Summing it up
Night sweats are a symptom, not a disorder. Determine what’s causing your night sweats.
Cut out alcohol.
Avoid overly spicy food.
Sleep in a cool room.
Sleep with the window open if the weather permits, or use a fan.
Take a cool shower just before bedtime.
If you do have a night sweat and feel uncomfortable, get up as soon as you wake up.
Take a cool shower or a cool sponge bath.
Change your nightwear and any bedding, if necessary.
Have a cold drink — water, fruit juice or milk.
One cause of night sweats is menopause. Ask your doctor about hormone replacement.
Another cause of night sweats is sleep apnea. If this is a possibility, have a sleep study done.
Practice good sleep hygiene.
Eat a balanced diet and indulge in some exercise early in the day.
Florence wrote for HealthCentral as patient expert for Sleep Disorders.