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What Are Night Sweats?

By Emily Bertha
October 29, 2018
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You may be looking forward to the start of cooler temperatures, but for many sleepers the arrival of fall and cooler weather doesn’t necessarily mean the end of their excessive sweating.  While occasional night sweat is not a cause for alarm, continually waking up from overheating can be both annoying and unhealthy.


What are night sweats?

Also known as nocturnal hyperhidrosis, night sweats are a fairly common condition present in certain men, women, and children.  Much like the name suggests, night sweats involve excessive sweating during the night, often resulting in pajamas and sheets drenched with sweat.


When you repeatedly wake up to sheets wet from sweat with no outside cause, then you have experienced night sweats. It’s typical for people to wake up hot from external factors, but this isn't the same as actual night sweats. Waking up after an unusually hot summer night in a fan-less room or under five blankets covered in sweat doesn’t qualify as night sweats. Rather, night sweats are a physical condition that are not impacted by your sleep environment.


What causes night sweats?

Excessive sweating may seem worrisome, but night sweats can usually be explained quite easily. Night sweats may be a sign of an infection or medical condition. One of the most common reasons behind night sweats for women is menopause. There are also a variety of other less likely potential causes, such as low blood sugar and hormone disorders. Additionally, night sweats can also be an uncomfortable side effect of certain medications, particularly antidepressants.  


Can you get rid of night sweats?

Excessively sweating at night can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Even worse, night sweats leave you feeling gross and prevent a good night’s rest. Once you’ve identified that there are no external factors (unbreathable fabrics, hot room temperature, hot bed etc.) that are causing your excessive sweating, talk to your doctor to figure out potential health related causes.