Twelve Causes of Night Sweats

Both women and men experience night sweats but it is not always due to hormonal changes. Other causes can include stress, health issues, drugs and even your bedding – which can also make your night sweats worse. This blog highlights the top twelve causes and gives advice on natural, drug-free solutions.

Menopause is the major cause of night sweats in women

To start with, there is menopause. As most of us know, Night Sweats and Hot Flushes are the most common and most complained about symptoms of menopause. Many of us sleep brilliantly up to perimenopause. Then suddenly find we are waking in the night or unable to fall asleep. Surprisingly, as many as 60% of us experience sleep disruption post menopause

Unfortunately, for some of us, night sweats can start as early as our 30’s and 40’s. And many of us find our sleep is still disrupted in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  For instance, as we get older, we might develop other sleep issues – such as snoring, (who said women don’t snore? I can snore pretty well), sleep apnoea and restless leg syndrome, and waking to go to the toilet. Stress, anxiety and other issues covered in this blog can make night sweats worse.

Menopause can herald in chronic insomnia and a range of sleep disorders that can be with you for life – unless you address them.

Sue Gray – Sleep Coach & Therapist

New Mums experience night sweats

Secondly, new mums. It makes sense for our bodies to use sweating to get rid of fluid built up in pregnancy and this is another major cause of night sweats in women under 40. It usually goes within weeks.

Andropause is a major cause of night sweats in men

Thirdly there is Andropause which is a major cause of night sweats in men. It is better known as male ‘menopause’. As with menopause, it causes hormonal changes, around the age of 45-50.  As well as bringing on night sweats, it can result in restless and disturbed sleep.

I have seen several men with night sweats and anxiety and found that a mix of hypnotherapy, Core Transformation and ensuring they have a sleep-friendly lifestyle has transformed their sleep in about six sessions.

Sue Gray, Sleep Coach & Therapist

Stress and anxiety

The fourth area is Stress and Anxiety. Our sweat glands become more active when we are stressed – something all of us have experienced, at some time or other. So logically, long term stress and anxiety can lead to poor sleep and night sweats.  However, sweats are not always hot-cold night sweats often happen during panic attacks but can happen for other reasons.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

The fifth cause, is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), and is where you stop breathing for short periods when you are asleep. It is often related to snoring.  Around a third of men with OSA also experience night sweats.  OSA is more common in men. OSA can seriously impact your health and cause you to fall asleep during the day but is relatively easy to deal with.

I wonder if OSA in women is underreported because of the completely wrong idea that women do not snore!

I used to snore pretty well!

Sue Gray, Sleep Coach & Therapist

Night Terrors

My sixth cause is night terrors and other sleep disorders. Like anxiety, night terrors can wake us up sweating – but also scared and terrified.

Hyperhidrosis

The seventh is Hyperhidrosis – where for no medical reason, some people naturally sweat a lot. As with night sweats due to other causes, hypnotherapy and NLP have been shown to help.

Acid Reflux may cause night sweats

Acid Reflux is a burning feeling in your chest and throat and is my eighth possible cause of night sweats. If this might apply to you, then obviously you want to watch what you eat in the evenings and have smaller meals. Many people find avoiding fatty, fried, or tomato-based foods helps them.  As with other causes, hypnotherapy and my sleep programmes can also help.

Night Sweats can be caused by other health conditions

Viruses and infections and viruses including Covid and influenza

Strokes – after having a stroke, it is not unusual to find your sleep disrupted with night sweats, snoring and perhaps Sleep Apnea

Importantly, although this is very rare, some cancers and leukaemia can cause night sweats. For example, Leukaemia Care highlights extreme night sweats combined with fatigue, bone pain, bruising or weight loss.

Low Blood Sugar,

Thyroid issues

HIV

Night Sweats as side-effects of medications

The tenth on my list is medication. Night sweats can be a side effect of medication. However, they can also be a withdrawal symptom when you are trying to stop taking a drug.   Examples of drugs that might be a cause include:

Some Anti-inflammatory’s including ibuprofen and aspirin

Some antidepressants

Corticosteroids e.g. cortisone

Some drugs used to treat diabetes and cancers

Alcohol

The eleventh on this list is the nations favourite drug – alcohol! Therefore, if you want to get rid of night sweats, give alcohol a miss!

If you are getting night sweats, alcohol is likely to make them worse.

Alcohol also causes us to wake up more often

Drinking alcohol results in less refreshing sleep.

And of course, there’s the morning after hang-over too.

Synthetic Bedding

My twelfth and final suggestion is to look at your bedding.  This may sound obvious, but our bodies can react to different fibres. For example, many of us avoid artificial fibres as they tend to be less breathable.

Think outside the box!

My explorations with environmentally friendly bedding lead me to wool and lyocell.

Lyocell is a great fibre for sufferers of Night Sweats. It is made from wood-based products that absorb moisture. Lyocell bedding can help regulate body temperature, keeping skin cool and dry. It is gentle on sensitive skin, even those suffering from eczema. (Jasmine at Home)

Thick super absorbent camel wool blanket/duvet.
Image by Sue Gray

Wool is Night Sweat Friendly, most of the year! It is super absorbent and naturally regulates our body temperature – so it can be useful all year round – not just winter. Did you know that many breeds of sheep shed their coat natually each year?

This is my heavy camel wool ‘blanket’. I use it as a duvet or under-blanket – depending on how I feel.

See my video for more about how wool can help you sleep https://www.suegray.co.uk/how-your-choice-of-bedding-can-improve-your-sleep/

When will I sleep again?

In conclusion, there are many causes of night sweats – and it is worth considering your night sweats along with any other health /sleep issues. Sometimes the night sweats will pass but this may take some time! My sleep programmes are a faster and natural alternative. As well as dealing with your specific sleep issue they can help you calm your system, and improve your sleep, no matter what the cause.

Do also have a look at my other blogs and videos on Hypnotherapy and NLP for Night Sweats and also Creating a Sleep and Menopause friendly lifestyle.

Finally, is there anything I can do to help you? If you would like some free advice and suggestions then get in touch. I can also tell you how I can help you improve your sleep.

REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION

“LYOCELL” – Jasmine at Home – – https://jasmineathome.com/our-story

“EXCESS SWEATING AFTER GIVING BIRTH” – Managing Excessive Sweating During Pregnancy – Edie & Amy Co. https://www.edieandamy.com/managing-excessive-sweating-during-pregnancy/

“CAUSES OF NIGHT SWEATS” –

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ss/slideshow-night-sweats

SLEEP DISORDERS AND MENOPAUSE

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/8-causes-of-night-sweats

– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31497577/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4621258/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4621258/

“HYPERHIDROSIS AND HYPNOTHERAPY” – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2219522/

“ALCOHOL AND NIGHT SWEATS”

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/alcohol-and-gender/alcohol-and-women

“NIGHT SWEATS IN MEN”

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/night-sweats

“GASTRIC/ ACID REFLUX AND NIGHT SWEATS”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745949/

“CANCER AND NIGHT SWEATS”

https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2016/09/whats-the-connection-between-night-sweats-and-cancer/

“LEUKAEMIA AND NIGHT SWEATS”

https://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk/support-and-information/latest-from-leukaemia-care/blog/spotting-the-difference-night-sweats-in-leukaemia-vs-normal-night-sweats/

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