How to avoid the sleep sweats

If you wake up covered in sweat, but it’s not because your room is hot, there could be several other reasons for the problem. Of course, there are also just as many ways to avoid or alleviate it. We’ve gone on the hunt for the best tips and tricks to help you stay cool all night and the top tried-and-true methods to chill out and get back to sleep if you do wake up sweaty.

Whether you need to adjust your stress level, switch up your diet and exercise regimen, keep an ice pack on your bedside at night, or invest in some cooler forms of bedding, there’s something that can help you to avoid the night sweats. We’ve narrowed down some tips and tricks, as well as reasons why you might be breaking into a sweat at night.

What are some tips to stay cool at night?

  • Keep the thermostat in the mid-60s Fahrenheit every night.
  • Invest in a set of cooling sheets, a cooling pillow, or a mattress with cooling properties.
  • Try a cooling mattress topper.
  • Use less bedding overall.
  • Run a fan or air purifier.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day.
  • Keep an ice pack on your bedside table to touch if you wake up hot.
  • Use a spray mister or small hand towel for dipping in water and dab on yourself when warm.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, eat a large meal, or eat spicy food before bed.
  • Work on reducing your stress. Try meditation, yoga, massages, or whatever works.
  • Sleep naked or only wear socks.
  • Exercise and eat well regularly.

Why you might be breaking into a sweat at night


So, what can you do to eliminate or avoid night sweats and stay cool and dry all night? We’ve looked into the matter and found some advice from those in the know. Let’s take a look at each cause and see what we find to remedy the problem.

Medications

If you’re taking acetaminophen for a fever, hormone-blocking or hormone replacement drugs, diabetes medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression, certain medicines used to treat cancer, or other meds known to cause night sweats, they may be linked to your sweaty sleeplessness. Consider asking your doctor about alternatives to these medications.

Infections

If you have or suspect you may have a bacterial infection, endocarditis, tuberculosis, HIV, or other ailment that consistently causes you night sweats over a period of several weeks, you may want to contact your physician for a follow-up.

Mysterious idiopathic hyperhidrosis

This is a condition where you experience night sweats without any clear cause.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

If you suffer from GERD and it’s giving you night sweats, professionals recommend you not eat anything before bed and raise the head of your bed a few inches. You may also want to try a wedge pillow. (There’s a great wedge pillow shown in this article.)

Sleep hyperhidrosis

According to the Sleep Foundation, a condition called sleep hyperhidrosis could be to blame, which is connected to a bevy of medical issues. The definition of sleep hyperhidrosis is “persistent sweating or flushing that drenches your sheets and/or pajamas, and occurs independently of environmental factors, such as a too-warm bedroom environment.”

Sleep hyperhidrosis has been linked to numerous other issues, like menopause, hormone disorders, some forms of infection, certain medications, cancer, GERD, obesity, anxiety disorders, pregnancy, osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bones), substance abuse/addiction/withdrawals, untreated sleep apnea or sleep disorders, neurological disorders, and more.

Hypoglycemia

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, or if you take oral diabetes medications, stick closely to the dietary guidelines suggested by your physician. Also, if you take insulin or oral diabetes medications, you may end up sweating due to hypoglycemia accompanied by sweating at night. Try some of the suggestions at the bottom of this article — they may help if you can’t change your medications.

Cancer or undiagnosed cancer

Lymphoma causes night sweats, as do leukemia, prostate, and thyroid cancer. So does undiagnosed cancer, in addition to unexplained weight loss and fevers. Contact your physician if these symptoms continue for you.

Menopause

The imbalance of hormones at menopause leads to an assortment of discomforts, one of many being night sweats. Try keeping your room nice and cool (set the AC lower than usual to see how you feel); run a fan to keep air circulating; avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and spicy foods; and consider the benefits of different herbal supplements or hormone replacement therapy. Experts also recommend eating a balanced diet, taking proper vitamins (including vitamin D3 for those in the Northern Hemisphere), and maintaining a good exercise regimen. Staying at a healthy weight is important here, too.

Although there are many causes of night sweats, if you are close to age 50, female, and experiencing very few or absent periods, the likely cause for your night sweats is menopause.

Do you need to see a doctor?

These are only a few causes of night sweats. There are more, so contact your doctor if yours is not already known and isn’t mentioned here. If you start to experience night sweats in addition to any type of rapid weight loss, localized pain, cough, or diarrhea, a doctor’s visit may be in order. Also, if you start to have these symptoms long after the age of menopause has passed, give your doctor a call.

Looking for more tips on upgrading your sleep? Find more recommendations and tips on our sleep hub.

Editors' Recommendations