Sleep Hyperhidrosis: Causes And Solutions For Night Sweats
In this article, we’ll discuss the causes and solutions (including lifestyle changes) for sleep hyperhidrosis.
What Is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes a person to sweat excessively, which is abnormally caused (neither by heat nor exercise). The amount of sweat is so much that it soaks through one’s clothes and gives rise to clammy hands. The sweating generally occurs all over the body, with underarms and the face being the epicenters.
Sleep hyperhidrosis, or night sweats, as it is more commonly called, is a specific kind of hyperhidrosis that occurs while one sleeps. The excessive sweating that occurs at night may or may not be accompanied by profuse perspiration during the day. The condition is usually not very serious, yet it is advisable for one to seek medical help for the same.
People experiencing night sweats wake up frequently throughout the night as a result of their clothes and sheets getting drenched with sweat. Sweating is actually a natural response of the body to prevent overheating and to cool itself down. The hypothalamus, along with the sweat glands, regulates the body temperature to ensure the optimum functioning of the body.
Excess water (along with some toxins) in the body is excreted out in the form of sweat. Once this water is on the surface of the skin, it evaporates releasing heat energy. Due to the cooling effect of evaporation, one feels cooler, and the body temperature is maintained.
Sleep hyperhidrosis can be of varying levels – mild, moderate, or even severe. No need for excessive bathing and frequent changing of clothes or sheets are required in the case of mild hyperhidrosis. Moderate hyperhidrosis might require one to wash the affected areas before going back to sleep.
However, severe hyperhidrosis can cause a lot of trouble. It becomes necessary to change one’s clothes and sheets and even take a bath before they sleep again.
Causes Of Sleep Hyperhidrosis
Sweating profusely, as in the case of hyperhidrosis, is generally triggered by excess heat in the body. This heat could be due to many reasons, which is released from the body in the form of sweat. Frequent occurrences of night sweats could be a result of many factors, which include:
- Autoimmune diseases: These diseases are triggered by an abnormal immune response, as a result of which the immune cell attacks the body’s healthy cells. Such diseases, like giant cell arteritis and rheumatoid arthritis, lead to high rates of perspiration.
- Surgery: Surgeries, especially ones that affect the body’s hormone levels (like those involving the reproductive organs) can have side effects such as night sweats.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease: This disease is often followed by night sweats and heartburn.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that causes one’s airways to get blocked while one sleeps. This is sometimes accompanied by profuse sweating which leads to frequent sleep disruptions.
- Anxiety and Stress: People who experience night terrors, anxiety attacks, or panic disorders are likely to sweat through them. This can take a serious turn and lead to hyperhidrosis.
Also Read: How Does Stress Affect Sleep?
- Cancer: Cancer cells in the body can cause frequent occurrences of night sweats. This is particularly common in the case of leukemia and lymphoma.
- Obesity: Excessive weight, also known as obesity can also be a possible cause of night sweats.
- Cardiovascular diseases: Diseases that impact the cardiovascular system, like nocturnal angina and aortic dissection, also influence perspiration rates, especially at night.
- Neurological disorders: Disorders that affect the neurological system also impact the sweat glands. These include autonomic neuropathy and strokes.
- Drug Interactions: A contrasting medicinal palette can easily lead to night sweats. Consuming alcohol frequently also has similar effects.
- Diseases: Certain diseases and their treatments, especially ones that induce fever, can be accompanied by night sweats. This includes diseases like influenza and tuberculosis.
- Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels in the blood can heighten perspiration.
- Hormone imbalances: Disturbances in one’s hormone levels, such as those induced because of puberty, pregnancy, menopause, diabetes, and thyroid problems can lead to profuse sweating at night. This is often experienced by transgenders who opt for hormone treatment.
Solutions For Sleep Hyperhidrosis
1. Lifestyle Changes
Changes in one’s environment and lifestyle are the easiest methods one can implement to prevent instances of night sweats. Some of these changes are:
- Wear Comfortable Clothes: One should wear breathable, airy, and comfortable clothes when they go to sleep, as tight clothes tend to trap heat. An effective method of clothing is layering, wherein one can just put on or remove layers according to their convenience.
- Avoiding Heat-inducing Foods: Eating spicy foods and drinking caffeinated drinks or alcohol can raise body temperature and cause perspiration. To prevent this, avoid the consumption of such items before going to sleep.
Also Read: Foods That Help You Sleep Better
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Overweight and obese people are more prone to experiences of night sweats. This is due to the correlation that exists between high body weight and perspiration. Too much weight can also increase the risks of other sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.
- Try Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques like controlled breathing help make one feel at ease. They make it easier to fall asleep and diminishes the occurrence of night sweats, especially in women going through menopause.
- Drink Cold Water Before Bed: A cool water drink before bed can help lower the body temperature before sleep which prevents instances of excessive sweating during the night.
- Sleeping in a Cooler Environment: Warmer environments are not usually the main cause of night sweats, but they might actually trigger them. It is hence advisable to sleep in a cooler bed and to use lighter bedding. Cool temperatures help prevent the build-up of heat around the body when one sleeps.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of counseling therapy that has helped to deal with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, or sleep disorders like insomnia. It is a talk-therapy conducted in the presence of a counselor (psychologist) or psychiatrist, which is structured around reframing one’s negative thoughts. This therapy can be used in conjunction with other approaches such as environment and lifestyle changes, and deem to be most effective then.
CBT used for night sweats as well as hot flashes is effective in the reduction of their frequency. It helps promote healthy actions in an individual and even improves mood. This technique is particularly effective in improving the quality of life in menopausal women, and even in those dealing with insomnia.
Medication treatments such as hormone therapies can be effective in reducing night sweats. Menopausal women can try estrogen-containing products such as soy, black cohosh, or red clover. However, it is imperative that one consults a doctor before resorting to any medications, as they can have potential side effects.
Hyperhidrosis is a common sleeping disorder that can lead to excessive perspiration, even as one sleeps. However, it can be easily treated by making adjustments to one’s lifestyle, or by opting for medical treatment.
September 25, 2020 Sam Bell