Sweating is our body’s natural cooling system. Whether we notice it or not, it’s normal for us to sweat during the day and night in all seasons. This helps us regulate our body temperature.
But if you sweat excessively without a clear cause, like exercise, hot weather, or heavy bedding, it could be a sign of something amiss. Night sweats, in particular, can be very uncomfortable and can stop you from getting your much-needed good night’s sleep.
What are some possible causes of night sweats?
If you get night sweats regularly, it may be a symptom. Your first step should always be to make sure you wear loose, breathable clothing to sleep. Try to keep your bedding light and your bedroom cool and ventilated.
If this does not help, then it may be worth speaking to a healthcare professional.
In general, the most common causes of night sweats are:
- Menopause symptoms (hot flushes)
- Certain medications
- Low blood sugar
- Alcohol or drug use
- Hyperhidrosis — a condition that makes you sweat all the time. 1
Other causes may include:
- Overactive thyroid
- Sleep apnoea
- Certain infections, such as tuberculosis, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis.
- COVID-19 (Discover insights on managing COVID-related night sweats here)
If you think you may have COVID-19, take an antigen or PCR test to confirm. If you have severe symptoms, you may be eligible for treatment. If you’re in the US, take our questionnaire to check.
Treating night sweats
In general, night sweats tend to go away once the underlying cause is treated. If you have any other symptoms or any of the causes above sound likely, such as menopause 2 or medication use, speak to a healthcare professional who may be able to offer solutions or adjust your treatment. 3
To reduce your chances of night sweats, remember to:
- Keep your bedroom cool and wear loose-fitting nightclothes.
- Remove excess blankets from your bed – you can always put them back if you get cold.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or spicy foods close to bedtime.
- Don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
- Avoid eating large meals late at night.
If your night sweats persist or are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, unintentional weight loss, a persistent cough, or fatigue, contact a healthcare professional.
Take care of yourself,