Why Do I Sweat When I Sleep?


What to do about it: Don’t eat a full meal so close to bedtime. Ideally, experts say, you should eat at least three hours before hitting the hay (though not if that means you’re skipping meals). This will also help ensure an upset stomach or indigestion isn’t keeping you up at night. Whatever you do, save your spicy-food kick for lunch if you want to prevent sweating in your sleep.

You’re under a ton of stress.

If you’re experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, it may cause sweating at night that makes your sleep uncomfortable, Breus says. Along with highly intense situations, anxiety and other similar mood disorders can disrupt both your sweat cycle and your sleep cycle. “High levels of stress can escalate heart rate and breathing, which can lead to an increase in your body temperature and cause you to sweat during the night,” adds Dr. Harris.

What to do about it: Prioritise your mental health and set up a calming nighttime routine, like journaling, reading, or doing sleep meditations before bed so you’re in a heightened state of relaxation before closing your eyes at night. Soothing sleep music may also help.

Your medication is causing side effects.

Aside from lifestyle choices, some medications can cause night sweats, Dr. Raymann says. Common culprits are steroids, some antidepressants, aspirin, and hormone therapy medication. 

What to do about it: If you notice night sweats happening after you’ve started a new medication, consult with your doctor to get their advice about an alternative option.

You have an infection.

What causes night sweats? Having an illness, Dr. Raymann says. If you’re sick, that could cause you to wake up early feeling cold and clammy. “A sign of infection is fever,” he explains. “The body will still try to maintain a healthy temperature, and hence sweating will occur.”

What to do about it: Again, talk to your doctor on this one. It could just be a run-of-the-mill cold, or it could be something more serious. Especially since the outbreak of COVID-19, if you have a fever, you should get screened.

You’re going through perimenopause, menopause, or have a hormone imbalance.

Disruptions to your hormone system, both experts say, will affect your internal body temperature. Menopause can cause both hot flashes and night sweats.

What to do about it: Tweaks to your routine, like lowering the room temperature or trying moisture-wicking pyjamas, may help. But with medical issues, remember it’s always important to talk to your doctor.

You have sleep apnoea.

“During sleep apnoea, breathing is restricted or obstructed, and because of the lack of oxygen and arousal involved, sweating can be triggered,” Dr. Raymann says.

What to do about it: How to stop sweating in sleep mode? Go to your doctor on this one. Obstructive sleep apnoea can be serious. So again, if you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to a medical expert so you can get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

You have a heart problem.

“Sweating, particularly at night, can be a sign of a heart problem or condition,” says Dr. Harris. “It’s often accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain or a rapid heart rate. People who suffer from chest pain may experience cold sweats, which can happen when awake or sleeping.”


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