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July 18, 2019

Night sweats: What causes them and how to get rid of them

A number of medical issues can be responsible for the 'extreme perspiration'

Illness Night Sweats
Nightmare Dreams 07283029 Alyssa L. Miller/via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Do you often wake up in the morning all sweaty, your perspiration even soaking through your sleepwear and sheets?

While we all occasionally find ourselves kicking off the blankets because we are overheated, especially on a warm night, night sweats which the Mayo Clinic defines as “repeated episodes of extreme perspiration” are caused by an underlying medical issue.


You may experience night sweats while you are suffering from a fever, pain, cough or diarrhea. Even weight loss can be a culprit. Other times, it may be the medications you are taking. Night sweats are a common side effect of antidepressants, diabetes medication and any hormone therapy. Women going through perimenopause and menopause face, potentially, years of night sweats.

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Certain diseases can also cause night sweats (sources include Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, American Osteopathic Association and the University of Michigan Medicine):

• Anxiety disorder

• Certain types of cancer and bone marrow diseases


• Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valves)

• Autoimmune disorders

• Autonomic neuropathy

• Thyroid disease

• Obstructive sleep apnea

• Certain bacterial infections like tuberculosis


Only treating the underlying medical condition will eliminate your night sweats. For women going through menopause, sometimes the night sweats will stop after a few years, but for some older women, they will continue for the rest of their lives.

Don’t despair though. In the meantime, a few lifestyle changes can help make you sleep more comfortable at night, like keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, and wearing lightweight sleepwear. Avoid piling on the blankets and no exercising and eating spicy foods too close to bedtime. Alcohol or caffeine right before bed also can raise your body temperature. Overall healthy living — exercising, eating right, reducing your stress – can help as well.

If night sweats are disrupting your sleep and/or you develop other concerning symptoms, call your doctor. Before your appointment, use a notebook to jot down how long the sweating episodes last and any accompanying symptoms.

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