What Are Night Sweats?

For the past couple of nights, I have been waking up throughout the night absolutely drenched in sweat.

Gross, I know.

I have limited knowledge regarding night sweats and what causes them, but my experiences these past few evenings has prompted me to want to know more and research the topic.

According to MedecineNet.com, night sweats are essentially an occurrence of excessive sweat while someone sleeps, the sweats being unrelated to a warm environment. Doctors sometimes refer to them as hot flashes throughout the night.

It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly causes night sweats in individuals because there are many factors that can play into their occurrence. Some examples of potential causes of night sweats include:

  • Some infections and cancers
  • Fever
  • Menopause
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Side effects of medications (antidepressants often cause night sweats)
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hormone disorders
  • Neurological conditions

Because it is difficult to determine a specific cause of night sweats, it is also difficult to determine a course of action to resolve them. Night sweats are typically harmless, but they can be an indication of a serious, underlying condition. If you frequently awake to drenched sheets, speak with your doctor to have your medical history recorded and further to have a detailed physical conducted.

Night sweats certainly can be the result of your sleeping environment. If you sleep with heavy blankets in a warm room, this could be the cause of your nighttime sweating. If you’re like me, however, and sleep with a light blanket and the window wide open in the dead of winter, environment likely is not the cause.

I do not have night sweats every evening, and they actually seem to happen for several consecutive nights every few months. They’re definitely a bit of a nuisance, and I plan to speak with my doctor if they fail to discontinue in the near future.


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