If you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night dripping in sweat, with damp bedding, your first instinct might be to crank up the AC. And while in some cases, that may be enough to remedy the problem, sweating in the middle of the night could be a sign of something bigger – and a lot more serious than low air condition. If you tend to suffer from excessive sweating in your sleep, here are some of the most common explanations for what might be going on.
Probably the most common, and the most obvious, cause of night sweats is menopause. Women experiencing menopause quickly become more familiar than they’d like with uncomfortable and unfortunately frequent hot flashes, which tend to strike during sleep in addition to during the day.
If you suffer from a hormone disorder, including ones like carcinoid syndrome and hyperthyroidism, it’s common that you’ll experience sweating, flushing, and sensations of burning up as a result, whether during the day or while you’re sleeping.
Several medications, including fever reducers and psychiatric drugs, can be linked to night sweats. Antidepressants, for example, are linked to nighttime sweating in about 8-22 percent of those who take them.
Night sweats could be a sign that you’re battling an infection in your body, such as those caused by bacteria, like endocarditis or abscesses. And while the most common infection to cause night sweats is tuberculosis, the sweats could also be a sign of HIV.
Because it activates a fight or flight response in your body, anxiety causes your blood to rush through your system and leads to the contracting of your blood vessels, which in turn causes the body to heat up. Unfortunately, when anxiety is the cause of your night sweats, it can often lead to a problematic cycle by which your anxiety causes the sweating, but then the sweating leads to more anxiety.
Low Blood Sugar
If you suffer from low blood sugar, it’s possible that you’ll experience excessive sweating as a result, including in the middle of the night. This is also likely to be the case if you suffer from high blood sugar and are taking medications or insulin to help bring it down, which could lead to hypoglycemia.
In extreme cases, night sweats could be an early indicator of some forms of cancer, especially lymphoma. But because there are so many potential explanations to night sweating, it’s important to look for other cancer-related symptoms, like changes in weight and appetite, before assuming that your night sweats are linked to cancer.