Why Do I Get Night Sweats

What are night sweats?

As the term suggests, night sweats are when you wake up at night sweating excessively and you notice that your bed and clothes are soaked in your sweat.1

Sweating is a defence mechanism the body has. We usually sweat when there is an increase in the temperature. But it might be a matter of concern when you are sweating too much at night during your sleep and waking up with lots of perspiration every night even though you have a cool sleeping environment.

Causes of night sweats

On one hand, night sweats might not be caused by anything in particular, but on the other hand, there might be underlying causes relating to night sweats.

Chills and malaise are associated with fever.

In many cases, night sweats are not serious and can be due to some medical conditions such as:

  • Anxiety2
  • Menopause-night sweats are common during menopausal transitions and are often accompanied by hot flushes mood swings, vaginal dryness, etc. About 75% of perimenopausal women experience night sweats and the frequency typically peaks in the first few years and gradually declines over time
  • Depression
  • Sleeping disorders e.g. obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Some infections like tuberculosis, endocarditis, COVID-19, etc
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disorder)
  • Certain cancers or tumours like non-Hodgkin lymphoma or leukaemia
  • A condition called idiopathic hyperhidrosis is where an individual’s body sweats excessively for no clear reason
  • Night sweats also occur due to the side effects of certain medications like steroids, antidepressants, hormone therapy drugs, antiretroviral drugs, hypoglycaemia drugs, etc. Certain medications affect the part of the brain that controls the temperature or the sweat glands

It should be noted that whatever condition is increasing the sweating will continue throughout the day as well (not only at night).

Complications of night sweats

If you sweat occasionally at night and your sleeping quality is not disturbed then it might not be a matter of concern. However, if you wish to discuss this with your doctor, that’s not a bad idea at all.

But if you experience an interrupted sleeping quality, wake up with lots of sweats, notice symptoms like weight loss, fever, and diarrhoea, and feel this is putting a toll on your daily life, then it is high time to look out for any complications related to night sweats such as underlying malignancy, serious infections – tuberculosis, HIV, imbalanced electrolytes, etc.

Management and treatment of night sweats

A few things can be carried out to manage night sweats. Modifying your bedtime and lifestyle routine can aid the process.

  • Keep a well-ventilated room. A room with open windows or an exhaust fan for circulating air is a must3
  • Curbing your alcohol consumption before bedtime is recommended. You might have heard people claiming that 2-3 pegs of alcohol are relaxing. But alcohol relaxes your airways making your breathing harder, and increasing your heart rate and your body temperature
  • We all like to sleep in a cosy environment. A warm environment is one of the reasons for night sweats. But keeping an eye on the thermostat is a good idea to keep the room cool. Avoid synthetic bed sheets and fleece. Adjust your bedding by upgrading to cotton sheets and quick-drying sheets. You can opt for sheets that are designed to absorb moisture quickly
  • Overthinking is a lead cause of stress. When your brain deals with your overactive mind, you are more likely to sweat. To reduce stress before bedtime, try this:
    • Take a warm shower
    • Avoid too much screen time before bedtime
    • Instead, switch to reading books
    • A relaxed atmosphere with low lights, soft music (if you like) and a breathable room. Since night sweats are common in menopause, it is recommended to avoid food that triggers the sweating such as spicy foods, caffeine, etc
    • Sipping an adequate amount of water
    • Checking weight, keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure levels in control
    • Switching to comfortable garments such as loose pyjamas or open-knit weaves, and cotton garments, avoiding layers of clothes and synthetic materials
    • Reduce stress by meditating, exercising daily, and performing gentle yoga and relaxation techniques. But working out before bedtime is not recommended
    • If you are someone who sweats a lot from your feet, opt for moisture-absorbing socks
    • Keep in mind that deodorants do not reduce sweating

A climate-controlling airflow bed cover presented at the Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society4 can help someone experiencing the menopause to improve the quality of their sleep. A study involving 36 women with an average age of 49.8 years, experienced reduced anxiety levels, muscle and joint pain, hot flushes, and night sweats after using a climate-controlling air bed cover. Those women also experienced an elevation in energy levels, and mood improvement and were able to sleep longer. In addition to these improvements, they were able to form positive relationships with their family and friends too.

Regarding the treatment, your doctor will recommend you something depending upon the cause of your night sweats, if any.

If the cause is medication then your doctor might go for an alternative prescription.

When should I see a doctor?

When the struggle with night sweats worsens and you are concerned about other symptoms as well, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional.

When the home remedies fail to give you the desired result to combat night sweats, and you are still sweating and soaking your pillows and bed sheets, book an appointment to consult a doctor.

A doctor can help you to get to the bottom of the iceberg and can treat you accordingly.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Cough with bloody mucus
  • Chills
  • Weight loss and diarrhoea
  • Malaise and high fever


Night sweats are episodes of excessive sweating during the night time and are more severe than normal sweating. Night sweats can be because of no reason at all or can occur due to various causes like infections, medications, hormonal imbalances, etc. Some other causes are stress, environmental factors, alcohol, etc. Treatment for night sweats varies depending on the underlying causes and may include lifestyle modifications and alternative therapies. Although night sweats can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep, they can usually be managed with appropriate medication and treatment.


  1. Night sweats [Internet]. nhs.uk. 2017 [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/night-sweats/
  2. Australia H. Night sweats [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/night-sweats
  3. Night sweats: 7 reasons you may be sweating at night [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/feb/night-sweats-7-reasons-you-may-be-sweating-at-night/
  4. Pieretti L. Night sweats - international hyperhidrosis society | official site [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.sweathelp.org/home/night-sweats.html
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Bhashwati Deb Barma

Bachelor of Physiotherapy,M.S., Ramaiah Medical College, India

Bhashwati is a Physiotherapist with a firm grasp of Paediatric physiotherapy and is currently working with special children in the community.

She has 6 years of experience working in hospitals and non-profit organizations set up. As a writer by passion, she is putting up her practical and academic knowledge into her articles.

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