Why Do I Sweat In My Sleep
For people who sleep warm, sleeping on top of the covers is a nightly occurrence.
The easy answer would be that your AC isn’t set low enough, but people who sweat in their sleep no matter what the temperature is know it’s not that simple.
When you feel like you’ve tried everything — from frigid AC temps and fans on full blast to “cooling sheets” and sleeping in the nude — but nothing has worked, you may want to give up and accept daily sheet-changing as your destiny.
Not so fast: The first step to solving any health-related condition is understanding the cause. From there, you can work with a health professional or try home remedies to eliminate the symptom.
Night sweats can come about for a ton of reasons, really. Here are some of the most common:
What Are Night Sweats
Approximately 75% of women will suffer from night sweats before, during, and possibly after menopause. Characterized by extremely heavy sweating during the night, night sweats can disrupt sleep and be uncomfortable and inconvenient – often requiring a change of clothes or bed linens.Night sweats symptoms will vary from woman to woman, as the intensity of menopause is experienced individually. Some women may have intense and severe night sweats, while others may experience few or none at all.
Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
There are several drug-free ways to reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats. These include:
- Counselling and psychological treatment such as cognitive behaviour therapy .
- Hypnosis may also be helpful.
- Some women also benefit from acupuncture.
Whilst paced breathing, exercise and relaxation programs may be helpful for your general physical and emotional health, they do not significantly reduce menopausal symptoms.
Non-hormonal drug treatments
Several prescription medications have been shown to reduce hot flushes and night sweats. Unfortunately, these do not improve vaginal dryness. Prescription medications for hot flushes and sweats include:
- certain antidepressants
- a drug called gabapentin
- a blood pressure medication called clonidine.
These drugs may reduce hot flushes and nights sweats from around 40-60 per cent . Using antidepressants and using treatments that improve sleep may also improve mood.
For more information see the fact sheet Treating hot flushes: An alternative to menopausal hormone therapy
Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Menopausal hormone therapy contains oestrogen to treat menopausal symptoms and may contain a progestogen to protect the lining of the uterus from cancer in women who have not had a hysterectomy. Menopausal hormone therapy is also known as hormone replacement therapy or hormone therapy .
See the fact sheet Menopausal Hormone Therapy for more information on:
Compounded or bioidentical hormone therapy
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Is There A Treatment For Night Sweats
Hormone replacement therapy can be a very effective treatment for menopause sweats. However, not everyone wants to take HRT, or their medical history might prevent them, so your GP might suggest other medications that can help with hot flushes.
Here are my self-help tips to help you achieve a bit more control over your menopause sweats.
- Do wear something loose and light in bed, such as a nightie or pyjamas. Although this sounds like it would make you hotter, it can actually help to absorb the sweat.
- Consider layering your bedding as you would your clothes, so you can peel them away as necessary if you get too hot. Natural fibres like cotton or silk may feel more comfortable to wear than synthetic nightwear or sheets.
- Keep a glass of cold water by the bed to cool and rehydrate you in the night.
- Keep a fresh change of sheets and nightwear close to or under your bed.
- Have a window slightly open.
- Try to eat a healthy diet. Being overweight can make menopause sweats worse.
Are Night Sweats The Same As Hot Flushes
So, night sweats and hot flushes. We tend to lump them together but they are quite different in many ways. And there are those women who will get night sweats who dont get hot flushes during the day. So I thought, today, I would just talk about night sweats on their own and give them a little bit of focus. One of the main questions is, Are night sweats the same as hot flushes?.
Very often, they stem from the same causes but the symptoms themselves and the reaction in the body are very, very different. With hot flushes during the day, you normally find you can feel them starting. Theres some point in the body where you suddenly realise youre feeling a little bit warm and, very often, a hot flush will sweep upwards, from somewhere in the body maybe right up to the head.
And that will give you, obviously, a big tip that, you know, a hot flush is coming. Whereas, with a night sweat, because youre already asleep, very often the first indication you get is when theyve already occurred and you suddenly wake up, and youre soaking wet. So, the night sweats are more to do with sweating and perspiring, rather than just getting a raft of heat coming up through the body. So, they can be treated slightly differently.
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Top 6 Natural Remedies To Relieve Night Sweats
Waking up in the night covered in sweat is a common complaint of women approaching menopause. The dreaded night sweats occur primarily due to hormonal changes in the body, where an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone triggers sudden internal activity, to which the body responds by producing sweat to cool down. Though the cause of menopausal night sweats is usually hormonal, lifestyle and dietary factors do contribute to their severity. Keep reading to discover six easy, natural remedies for minimizing night sweating episodes.
Complementary Therapies For Hot Flushes
Women often turn to complementary therapies as a “natural” way to treat their hot flushes.
There’s some evidence that isoflavones or black cohosh may help reduce hot flushes.
But the research is patchy, the quality of the products can vary considerably, they can interfere with some medicines, and they can have side effects .
It’s important to talk to your doctor before you take a complementary therapy.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
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Acupuncture Has Been Studied In The Treatment Of Hot Flashes
Pilot studies of acupuncture and randomized clinical trials that compare true acupuncture and sham treatment have been done in patients with hot flashes and results are mixed. A review of many studies combined showed that acupuncture had slight or no effects in breast cancer patients with hot flashes. In contrast, a randomized clinical trial that was not included in the review showed that breast cancer patients who were given acupuncture had fewer hot flashes. Another randomized clinical trial showed that breast cancer survivors who were given electroacupuncture had a reduction in hot flash symptoms.
Medications: Treating Hot Flashes And Night Sweats With Hormones
Some women may choose to take hormones to treat their hot flashes. A hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the thyroid gland or ovary. During the menopausal transition, the ovaries begin to work less and less well, and the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines over time. It is believed that such changes cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is a very effective treatment for hot flashes in women who are able to use it. There are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and dementia. The risks vary by a woman’s age and whether she has had a hysterectomy. Women are encouraged to discuss the risks with their healthcare provider.
Women who still have a uterus should take estrogen combined with progesterone or another therapy to protect the uterus. Progesterone is added to estrogen to protect the uterus against cancer, but it also seems to increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose that is effective for the shortest period of time possible.
Some women should not use hormones for their hot flashes. You should not take hormones for menopausal symptoms if:
Talk with your doctor to find out if taking hormones to treat your symptoms is right for you.
The Medications You’re Taking
“Some medications can affect the parts of your brain that control your body temperature or your sweat glands,” explains Dr. Ram. “This means these medications can also induce night sweats.”
The types of medications associated with night sweats include:
- Hypoglycemia medications
“Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing night sweats as a result of a drug you’re taking for another health condition,” Dr. Ram advises. “In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative version of the drug.”
Prescription And Nonprescription Remedies
A number of non-hormonal remedies are available for the treatment of hot flashes. Some of these remedies are available over-the-counter but are not FDA-approved. Some prescription medications are used off label to help reduce hot flashes. Using a product “off label” means that it is not FDA-approved for the treatment of hot flashes, but is often used because it can be safe and effective for hot flash treatment.
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Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes
Before considering medication, first try making changes to your lifestyle. Doctors recommend women make changes like these for at least 3 months before starting any medication.
If hot flashes are keeping you up at night, keep your bedroom cooler and try drinking small amounts of cold water before bed. Layer your bedding so it can be adjusted as needed. Some women find a device called a bed fan helpful. Here are some other lifestyle changes you can make:
- Dress in layers, which can be removed at the start of a hot flash.
- Carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse.
- If you smoke, try to quit, not only for menopausal symptoms, but for your overall health.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or obese may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes.
- Try mind-body practices like yoga or other self-calming techniques. Early-stage research has shown that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi may help improve menopausal symptoms.
Q: What Causes Hot Flashes
A: The exact causes of hot flashes are still unknown, but they are thought to be related to changes in the brains thermoregulatory center, which controls heat production and loss, and is influenced by your hormones. During perimenopause, hormones start acting like a rollercoaster, with progesterone and estrogen levels changing in wide variations. These ups and downs dont settle down until almost 10 years after menopause.
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Learn Deep Breathing Techniques To Alleviate Stress And Anxiety
Some women say practicing deep breathing can improve hot flashes, while also calming the nervous system. When we learn how to breathe slower and deeper than usual, were also telling our parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. When this happens, your hot flash might go away quicker. Deep breathing can also lessen its severity. If you practice yoga or Pilates, youll learn how to work with your breath, making it work for you to help you deal with hot flashes and night sweats.
Hot Flashes And Night Sweats May Be Controlled With Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Hot flashes and night sweats during natural or treatment-related menopause can be controlled with estrogen replacement therapy. However, many women are not able totake estrogen replacement and may need to take a drug that does not have estrogen in it. Hormone replacement therapy that combines estrogen with progestin may increase the risk of breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence.
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What Are Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
A hot flash is an episode of feeling uncomfortably hot. It can happen anytime, day or night. Sometimes hot flashes come on during our sleeping hours, disrupting deep and restorative rest. In this case, theyre sometimes referred to as night sweats, and can last for longer than just a flash.
Night sweats are characterized by intense sweating, whereas hot flashes dont necessarily make you sweat. The two are definitely interconnected and undoubtedly uncomfortable. In the throes of a bad case of night sweats, you might wake up to find your sheets drenched with perspiration. This can keep you awake for hours causing sleep deprivation and leading to related consequences such as fatigue and poor concentration.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
According to the National Institute on Aging , women who are overweight or obese may experience more hot flashes than women at a healthy weight. If you need help losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise, ask your doctor for recommendations and resources. This is another thing that can help improve your overall health as well.
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Keep Your Bedroom Cool
It sounds simple, and it is! A cooler environment means your body will be cooler. Hot flushes and night sweats are triggered by tiny alterations in your bodys core temperature, so maintaining a low and stable core body temperature is key. Keep your windows open and your air conditioning on, and use a thermostat to ensure your bedroom remains below 20°C .
Keep a cool drink by the side of your bed, and consider hunkering down to sleep under a linen throw or lesser tog duvet.
Keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature can also help to improve the quality of your sleep and keep the dreaded menopause insomnia at bay.
Calcium And Vitamin D
A combination of calcium and vitamin D can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the bone loss associated with menopause. The best sources are from calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Doctors are currently reconsidering the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that healthy postmenopausal women don’t need to take these supplements. According to the USPSTF, taking daily low-dose amounts of vitamin D supplements , with or without calcium supplements , does not prevent fractures. For higher doses, the USPSTF says there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation. In addition to possible lack of benefit, these supplements are associated with certain risks, like kidney stones.
However, calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients. Supplements may be appropriate for certain people including those who do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure and those who do not consume enough calcium in their diet. They are also helpful for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you should take supplements.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones.
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Treatments For Hot Flushes
Many women learn to live with menopause-related hot flushes, but if theyre really bothering you and interfering with your day-to-day life, talk to a GP about treatments that may help.
The most effective treatment for hot flushes is hormone replacement therapy , which usually completely gets rid of them. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of using HRT.
If you have had a type of cancer thats sensitive to hormones, such as breast cancer, your doctor will not recommend HRT and will talk to you about alternatives.
Other medicines have been shown to help, including some antidepressants and a medicine called clonidine.
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Remedies For Hot Flashes
If you cant take hormone replacement, Dr. Thacker recommends these tricks to keephot flashes to a minimum:
- Certain foods or environmental triggers can spark a hot flash. Some common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and hot baths.
- Spend a few days tracking your hot flashes and what you did in the hours leading up to them. You might find that spicy meals or flannel pajamas are a recipe for night sweats.
- Turn your bedroom temperature down at night. Wear lightweight pajamas in breathable fabrics like linen and cotton.
- Invest in pillows and mattress covers filled with cooling gel to turn your bed into a no-sweat zone.
Many women turn to herbsand supplements to fight hot flashes. However, studies have so far found littleevidence that theyre effective, Dr. Thacker says.
Scientists are alsotesting a new type of drug that acts at the brain level to stop hot flashes, sheadds. Its a potentially exciting development, but one thats not availablejust yet.
In the meantime, youdont have to suffer in silence. Treat yourself to some cool new pajamas, andtalk to a knowledgeable doctor about how best to deal with this steamy stage oflife.
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Stop Night Sweats And Insomnia
Midlife is perhaps a time when a woman needs sleep the most to feel more vibrant and ward off health issues. But this time of life often brings with it the challenges of insomnia and the discomfort of excessive sweating at night.
Night sweats are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, which typically begins in a womans late 40s to early 50s. Scientific studies suggest that as many as 75% of menopausal women experience night sweats.