What Does It Mean To Wake Up Sweating – You go to bed in a comfortable temperature—not too hot and not too cold—only to wake up drenched in sweat a few hours later. Sometimes your pajamas get wet and you may even feel the need to change the sheets before bed. You’re wet, uncomfortable and maybe a little worried. What is happening?
Night sweats “are a weird symptom because often they’re harmless, but sometimes they’re not, so it’s definitely something we always take seriously,” said Dr. Keith Rowland, MD, assistant professor of family medicine. at Rush University College of Medicine in Chicago.
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Sweating during sleep is a fairly common condition that can affect people of all ages and genders, Dr. Rowland said. A study of adults who visited primary care physicians for unrelated reasons found that 10 to 40 percent reported having night sweats at least occasionally.
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There are many possible causes of night sweats, so when a patient tells Dr. Rowland that they wake up wet during the night, he wants to know more.
One of the first questions we ask is how warm is your room? He said. “If you wake up and say, ‘God, it’s hot in this room,’ we say, ‘Well, adjust the temperature accordingly.’
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a bedroom temperature of 60-67 degrees for a good night’s sleep. If you can’t keep your bedroom cool, you can strategically add a fan, Dr. Rowland said. Changing to lighter colored bedding or pajamas can also help.
“It’s difficult because the temperature that makes you the most comfortable to fall asleep is not necessarily the most comfortable to fall asleep,” he said.
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William Wisden, professor of biological sciences and sleep researcher at Imperial College London, said: “Actually, being nice and warm is good for falling asleep.” Like other mammals nest before bed, we put on our pajamas and curl up under the covers when we sleep, and studies have shown that people fall asleep faster after a warm bath, shower or wet feet, he said. But then, if you’re too hot at night and you’re wearing a very thick blanket, your body is obviously trying to regulate its temperature. And sweating is one of your body’s ways of cooling down, he said.
If you’re sweating at night even after lowering the room temperature or taking other steps to cool your sleep, it’s best to see a healthcare provider to rule out possible medical causes. They’ll likely ask how long and how often you’ve been sweating at night, whether your pajamas are light or wet, and whether you have other symptoms, such as fever, weight loss, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath or pain, said Dr. Rowland — “or any other symptom that doesn’t seems to be just right for this patient.”
Any infection that causes fever can cause sweating during the day or at night, but several serious illnesses, including tuberculosis, H.I.V. Infection, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart valves and ventricles), malaria and mononucleosis are especially associated with night sweats. And rarely, severe night sweats can be a sign of cancer, such as lymphoma, Dr. Rowland said.
“You can narrow things down very quickly with a few lab tests and a few probing questions,” said Dr. Andrea Matsumura, a sleep physician at the Oregon Clinic in Portland and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
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Dr. Matsumura said he often sees postmenopausal patients whose sleep is disrupted by night sweats. Along with hot flashes, they often start a few years before the last menstrual cycle and can last for years after. If menopausal night sweats are interfering with a good night’s sleep, it’s best to talk to your doctor about treatment options, she said.
Among his sleeping pill patients, excessive night sweats “is usually because they have some kind of abnormal breathing in their sleep, and that’s a symptom of sleep apnea,” Dr. Matsumura said. Studies have shown that night sweats can be related to insomnia, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy.
Finally, many medications can cause night sweats. The most common culprits are antidepressants, diabetes medications, and some hormone treatments. If medication appears to be a likely cause, Dr. Rowland discusses with patients the risks and benefits of stopping or switching medications, depending on how bothersome the night sweats are.
But often, Dr. Rowland says, he can’t pinpoint the cause of his patients’ night sweats, “and that’s always frustrating.” He emphasized that in these cases, patients should tell him if their night sweats get worse or if they develop new symptoms.
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Otherwise, sleep sweating may just be part of how your body regulates its temperature at night, Dr. Rowland said. Our normal circadian rhythm involves a steady, small drop in core body temperature during the night, and sweating is a “natural, physiological response” that can help you achieve or maintain a cooler temperature. And “some people sweat more than others.”
Normal or abnormal night sweats can be unpleasant and disturb sleep. In addition to lowering your bedroom temperature and adjusting your nightwear and bedding, Dr. Matsumura recommends exercising, drinking alcohol or hot beverages, and eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime, which can cause night sweats.
If you normally sleep with your partner, you can try sleeping apart for a few nights to see if that helps, Dr. Rowland said. “Sometimes that person is like a 180- or 200-pound oven at 98 degrees next to you, and that can also affect the temperature setting throughout the night.”
Treating night sweats often means doing a series of individual tests to track sleep more easily. “There is no magic,” said Dr. Rowland. “Different things work for different people.”
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Alice Callahan is an Oregon-based health and science reporter who is a frequent contributor to The New York Times.
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Night sweats are an unpleasant part of life for many people. Although sweating is a natural part of the body’s temperature regulation system, night sweats are not caused by external factors such as bedroom temperature or bed choice. Rather, the term refers to excessive night sweats caused by physiological processes or underlying health conditions. Night sweats can vary in severity, but are often described as severe enough to wet the bed.
Both men and women can experience night sweats for the same reasons, such as infection and stress, but some causes differ between the sexes. Men do not experience night sweats as much as women, possibly because menopause is one of the main causes of night sweats in women. However, hormones may also play a role in male night sweats, as low testosterone levels have been identified as a possible cause. A person’s gender also affects other health, including how they sleep, so men are sometimes more likely to have other conditions that cause night sweats.
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Men tend to have a lower heat tolerance than women, but your gender is only part of how your body determines its neutral thermal zone. and go to view genomic information. Many conditions and physiological factors can cause night sweats through changes in the neutral thermal zone. Some of these triggers are harmless or even related to positive lifestyle changes, while others are associated with health problems that may require treatment.
Men may experience night sweats due to low testosterone levels. The National Library of Medicine is a trusted resource for biotechnology information, the National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See source Also called male hypogonadism. About 38% of men age 45 or older National Library of Medicine Trusted Source Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. View Source Low testosterone can be caused by a number of reasons, and even healthy men have a 20% chance of having low testosterone if they are over 60 years old. Causes of Male Hypogonadism National Library of Medicine’s Trusted Source for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. The source of the finding varies dramatically, but can be classified as primary, which refers to a problem in the testicles, and secondary, which refers to a problem in the part of the brain that controls hormone production.
Night sweats are caused by low testosterone
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