Night sweats: everything you need to know about sweating at night
Photo by Ivan Oboleninov :

Night sweats are characterized by excessive sweating at night. This common symptom can have many different causes, some of which are mild and others require medical advice.

Description of night sweats

Night sweats: what is it?

We talk about night sweats during sudden and excessive sweating during the night. This common symptom can appear punctually or repeat itself several nights in a row. It is often associated with sleep disorders.

Generally speaking, night sweats are the consequence of stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, that is, one of the autonomic nervous systems of the body.

It is the excitement of this nervous system that causes sweating. Nevertheless, there are many different causes of excessive sweating during the night. The precise origin should be identified to avoid inconvenience or complications.

Night sweats: who is concerned?

The occurrence of night sweats is common. This symptom affects both men and women. It affects on average 35% of people aged between 20 and 65.

What causes night sweats?

The occurrence of night sweats can have many explanations. They can be caused by:

  • sleep apnea also called sleep apnea syndrome, is manifested by involuntary stops of breathing during sleep;
  • nocturnal periodic movement syndrome, or restless legs syndrome, which is characterized by repeated movements of the legs during sleep;
  • gastroesophageal reflux, which is more commonly known as heartburn;
  • acute or chronic infections, such astuberculosis, infectious endocarditis, or osteomyelitis;
  • a hormonal disorder, which can occur during a change in the hormonal cycle in women, especially during pregnancy or menopause, or in case of hyperthyroidismwith abnormally high production of hormones by the thyroid gland;
  • stress, which can manifest itself as a sudden awakening accompanied by excessive sweating, especially during post-traumatic stress disorder, a panic attack, or certain nightmares;
    • taking certain medications, the side effects of which may be night sweats;
    • certain cancers, especially in cases of Hodgkin ornon-Hodgkin lymphoma.

    Given the many possible causes, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose the precise origin of night sweats. Several tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, the origin of night sweats is said to be idiopathic, which means that no cause could be clearly established.

    What are the consequences of night sweats?

    Excessive sweating during the night often tends to cause a rude awakening. This results in an alteration of the quality of sleep, which can induce a state of fatigue, with the occurrence of daytime sleepiness, concentration disorders, or mood disorders.

    While night sweats often occur occasionally, they can sometimes persist and repeat themselves for several nights in a row. Medical advice is then recommended to identify the origin of excessive sweating.

    What are the solutions to night sweats?

    In case of repeated night sweats, it is recommended to contact a health professional. An appointment with a general practitioner makes it possible to make the first diagnosis. This can then be confirmed through various blood tests.

    If the origin of night sweats is complex, an appointment with a specialist may be necessary. Other tests may then be requested to deepen the diagnosis. For example, a complete sleep recording can be set up to identify sleep apnea.

    Depending on the diagnosis, a suitable treatment is put in place. This may include, in particular:

    • Homeopathic treatment ;
    • relaxation exercises ;
    • consultations with a psychologist ;
    • hormonal treatment ;
    • preventive measures, such as a change in diet.

    Image Credit : Photo by Ivan Oboleninov from

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