If you frequently find yourself waking up drenched in perspiration, it’s likely that you suffer from night sweats. Also known as sleep hyperhidrosis, this condition involves repeated episodes of extreme sweating that can leave your sheets drenched. Night sweats differ from the occasional experience of waking up sweaty due to sleeping under heavy blankets or in a room that’s just too warm; with night sweats, perspiration is likely to be unrelated to your bedroom environment and more apt to be connected to an underlying medical condition. Learn more about the causes of night sweats, and effective strategies for dealing with them.
Certain medications are known to be associated with night sweats. For example, patients taking antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, may experience night sweats. Medicines taken to lower fevers (such as aspirin or acetaminophen) may ironically also cause sweating. If you experience night sweats for longer than a few weeks, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication.
Many infections can cause a fever, which in turn leads to night sweats. Tuberculosis, bacterial infections, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are a few examples of infections where night sweats are a major symptom. If you experience night sweats over several weeks along with other under-the-weather feelings, talk with your doctor to rule out the possibility of infection.
Pheochromocytoma, carcinoid syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and other hormone conditions can lead to night sweats. How it works: The hypothalamus is the part of your brain responsible for regulating temperature; it is also responsible for releasing and inhibiting hormones. If your hormones are imbalanced, it may also be a sign that the hypothalamus is having trouble regulating body temperature as well, leading to night sweats. Hormone replacement therapy may help.
For women, night sweats are one of the clearest and most common signs that menopause is occurring. During this time, a decrease in estrogen leads to an imbalance in hormones, triggering hot flashes and night sweats. Keeping the bedroom cool and well-ventilated can help decrease the occurrence of night sweats during menopause, as can avoiding alcohol and using hormone replacement therapy.