Do you wonder why sometimes you wake up in the night absolutely drenched in sweat? Do you wake up tired even though you slept a full eight hours? If your night sweats aren't brought on by too many blankets or a hot room, it could be a symptom of an underlying issue. Fear not. Night sweats occur in even the most healthy of individuals. Read on to get to the bottom of your restlessness.
What causes night sweats?
The reasons for getting night sweats are hardly the same from person to person, though here are common causes that have been well documented over the years:
For many women, menopause—when you stop ovulating, having your period, and are no longer fertile— is a hormonal funhouse that occasionally sends the hormones estrogen and progesterone into overdrive as the body settles into its new normal. If you haven't ever had a hot flash, there is no way to adequately describe it except to say that it's like the fire is lit at your feet and just rushes up to the top of your head in about eight seconds. They last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.
A night sweat is basically the same thing as a hot flash, just at a different time of day. Over 64% of women have night sweats, according to SleepFoundation.org.
Night sweats don't discriminate based on gender. Men with low testosterone levels are susceptible, as well. So what causes you to sweat so much at night that you're always laundering your sheets and mattress protector?
As you age, your endocrine system changes. The hormonal shifts that accompany menopause, and cause low testosterone in men, are just a couple of the changes that occur in your endocrine system.
Other reasons you may have night sweats are an overactive thyroid, diabetes, or high blood sugar; as can a thyroid that's underactive ( hypothyroidism), which causes problems with regulating body temperature. In some cases, endocrine tumors are the underlying cause of night sweats.
Night sweats can also be the first indicator of a serious medical condition. Scientists believe that the infections that accompany diseases like tuberculosis and HIV trigger nighttime fevers that result in sweats. Bacterial and fungal infections also may be the reasons for symptomatic night sweats.
Adverse reaction to medication
There are times when the cure is worse than the disease, and medications that cause night sweats can certainly fall into that category. Some of the known culprits for prescription-induced sweats are some depressants, steroids, and fever reducers such as acetaminophen.
Some cancer treatments cause night sweats. Women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer often deal with night sweats as the result of hormone therapy, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Some causes aren't so easy to diagnose
Night sweats are fairly common, and the good news is that they are not always an underlying signal of a bigger problem.
- Caffeine may provoke nighttime sweating, as can alcohol or drugs.
- Pregnant and postpartum women may also have night sweats, and the hormonal changes that accompany gestation are also responsible in these instances
- Anxiety and panic attacks can also spark night sweats
How can you manage night sweats?
Night sweats don't have to make you miserable. Figuring out the underlying cause is certainly important to your long-term health and well-being, but you can take other steps to alleviate the accompanying symptoms.
1. Create a sanctuary for sleeping
There are some changes you can make in your bedroom that will help you get a good night's sleep, and may help ease the discomfort of night sweats.
2. Cool your room
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the optimal room temperature for sleeping is between 60° and 67°F. Babies and toddlers need a slightly warmer room, between 65° and 70° F. Your core body temperature drops as your body prepares for sleep, which is why you want to snuggle under the covers. But REM sleep—the deep, restful phase of sleep—gets disrupted when your body gets hot, which leads to tossing and turning.
The Cleveland Clinic offers these other tips for sleeping, which may result in fewer night sweats.
- Keep a fan in the room for improved air circulation
- Avoid caffeine or sugary snacks in the evening. They can increase your body temperature.
- Sleep seasonally, with the appropriate and breathable bedding and pjs.
3. Breathable bedding keeps you cool
"Breathable" fabrics allow air and moisture to pass through the fibers, allowing perspiration to evaporate. Sciencedirect.com cites studies that found that intimate apparel, like pajamas, should be made from breathable fabrics as materials that don't allow for heat transfer cause a heightened sense of heat and sweating.
It follows that bedding made from breathable fabrics will help you stay cooler at night. Pillows. in particular, seem to retain heat. Snuggle-Pedic's bamboo memory foam pillows feature a cooling cover. The covers are made from bamboo, which is microvented to provide much greater breathability—up to 100X—than other memory foam pillows. Our Kool-Flow Premium Cover is standard on all our pillows, even the body pillow for sleepers who like to pillow snuggle.
Snuggle-pedic realizes that your head isn't the only part of your body that's likely to sweat, so we also offer mattresses, mattress protectors, and toppers with the same Kool-Flow design as the pilows. For an extra layer of cool, the mattress topper also features a heat-regulating gel that helps you sleep cooler.
Have you talked with your doctor about night sweats?
Night sweats are something that you should discuss with a medical professional. They may be the result of a temporary hormonal imbalance, or a symptom of a more serious problem. Even if you don't have officially diagnosed "night sweats", everyone can benefit from a more restful night's sleep, and that's what Snuggle-Pedic does best with our breathable pillows and mattresses.