What Causes Night Sweats? When to Worry about Night Sweats

night sweats causes and treatment
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mavra Farrukh


The term “night sweats” refers to excessive sweating, or perspiration, during the night. Many people find them uncomfortable and may experience depression and difficulty sleeping as a result. In the study, 41% of the 2267 patients reported experiencing night sweats within the past month, 23% with pure night sweats, and 18% with both day and night sweats. Women and men aged 41 to 55 were most likely to experience night sweats.

This article may help you if you want to know more about night sweats and its symptoms and causes.

What are Night Sweats?

Night sweats, or nocturnal hyperhidrosis, is the occurrence of excessive sweating or heavy perspiration during sleep. This condition is heavy enough to soak your clothes or bedding at night. Night sweats can cause discomfort and may be associated with depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. They are also common symptoms of menopause. If it occurs on a regular basis or is accompanied by symptoms like weight loss or fever, then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Causes of Night Sweats

Medical Conditions

Night sweats may result from the following medical conditions:


Women may go through menopause when their estrogen levels fall, which can result in hot flashes and night sweats.


The body’s immunological response to diseases like tuberculosis, endocarditis, and HIV can result in night sweats.


Low blood sugar levels can cause night sweats in people with diabetes as the body tries to compensate for low glucose levels.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

GERD can cause heartburn, which can disrupt sleep and cause sweating during the night.


Stress and anxiety can cause sweating during sleep, particularly in people with anxiety disorders.

Obstructive sleep apnea

This condition causes breathing interruptions during sleep, which can cause sweating and other symptoms.


An overactive thyroid gland can cause an increase in metabolism, leading to night sweats.


Night sweats may indicate certain cancers, such as lymphoma and leukemia, or they may result from treatment.

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The specific mechanism by which medications cause night sweats may vary. Still, they can generally disrupt the body’s temperature regulation system or cause changes in hormone levels, leading to sweating during the night. Certain medications are as follows:


Night sweats are a side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Hormone therapy drugs

Estrogen replacement therapy or hormone-blocking drugs used to treat breast or prostate cancer can cause night sweats.


Night sweats are an adverse effect of these drugs, used to treat immune-related and inflammatory disorders.

Diabetes medications

Certain medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin or sulfonylureas, can cause night sweats due to low blood sugar levels.

Fever-reducing medications

Medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen can lower fever but can cause sweating during the night.

Anti-nausea medications

Medications such as ondansetron or prochlorperazine used to treat nausea can cause night sweats.


This medication used to treat erectile dysfunction can cause night sweats as a side effect.

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Read More: Why Does My Sweat Smell Like Ammonia?

Sleep Environment

The sleep environment can also contribute to night sweats. Here are some possible causes:


Sweating throughout the night might be brought on by sleeping in an overly warm room or wearing too many blankets or layers of clothing.


Increased sweating may result from perspiration, finding it challenging to disperse from the skin due to high humidity levels.

Bedding materials

Certain bedding materials, such as synthetic fibers or flannel sheets, can trap heat and cause sweating during the night.


A mattress that retains heat can cause overheating and sweating during the night.

Alcohol and caffeine

Consuming alcohol or caffeine before bed can cause the body to heat up and lead to sweating during the night.


Smoking can cause the body to produce excess heat, leading to sweating during the night.


Stress and anxiety can cause the body to produce excess sweat, leading to sweating during the night.

Also, see your pediatrician if your kid’s sweat begins to smell otherwise or if your child has body odor. 

Medical conditions associated with night sweats

Night Sweats During Pregnancy

It is normal to sweat more during pregnancy as it is a sign of hormonal changes in your body. This is common during the first three to four weeks of pregnancy. It is due to the rapid fluctuation of estrogen produced naturally by the body. However, night sweats can also be tied to ovulation schedules. 

 A study shows antiemetic medications such as Zofran and Metoclopramide can elicit night sweats. These medicines are given to women who suffer from extreme nausea early in pregnancy.

Hormonal Influx

In the first and second trimesters, your hormones are on overdrive, meaning night sweats in early pregnancy are common. We all know about the most common pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone, prolactin, and oxytocin. Still, some other hormones are important and likely contribute directly to increased sweat production. These are Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and stimulating thyroid hormone. These hormones speed up the body’s metabolism, so the baby gets nutrients as fast as you do. These common and essential hormones make your body work double-duty so the baby gets the nutrients it needs when you eat, sleep, and metabolize your food.

Anti-nausea Medication 

If you formerly know that you are pregnant and you are presently taking anti-nausea drugs like Zofran and Motilium to help you deal with morning sickness, then these medicines may calm your stomach but can speed up sweat production.

How to Stop Night Sweats During Pregnancy?

  • Exercise during the day should be avoided
  • Wear loose and light clothes
  • Keep your body hydrated
  • Avoid the sun as much as you can
  • Always carry a handy fan
  • Heart diseases

You may need medical attention if you experience excessive sweating and other symptoms of a heart attack. Some other symptoms of heart disease are:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in your chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or indigestion

Sweating, notably at night, is an additional symbol of a heart-related condition called subacute endocarditis. This condition causes inflammation of the membranes lining the chambers and valves of your heart. It tends to develop more slowly than the acute form of illness. In contrast, secondary hyperhidrosis occurs when excessive sweating results from an underlying condition such as coronary failure, angina (angina sufferers break out in cold sweats), or acute endocarditis. Although sweating may indicate an underlying medical condition, it is your body’s approach to cooling itself. It is normal to sweat more when you are anxious or stressed, particularly on the palm of your hands. 


Excessive night sweats can be an early symptom of leukemia and lymphoma. Leukemia is a blood cancer that causes an increased production of immature or abnormal blood cells. It occurs most often in adults over the age of 60. 

Hot flushes due to leukemia can occur for several reasons. It is also an early sign of leukemia when the bone marrow is overcrowded with leukemic cells, leading to a shortage of healthy blood cells. Also, the body can enflame itself to kill leukemic cells.

Leukemic night sweats include the following symptoms:

  • Paleness
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Other early signs of leukemia include
  • Reduced number of red blood cells
  • Reduced number of white blood cells
  • Reduced number of platelets
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Tiny red and purple spots on the skin
  • Easily bruising
  • Recurrent fevers and infections

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is when your respiratory system is affected while you are sleeping. You may completely stop breathing while sleeping. It can raise your corticosteroid levels and the stress hormone.

The sleep apnea study shows that people with untreated sleep apnea experience night sweats 40 percent more than those without sleep apnea. If you experience it regularly, then it could be a sign of untreated sleep apnea. The symptoms may include:

  • Snoring
  • Regular headache
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Sore throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory loss 

You should consult a healthcare provider if you consistently deal with these signs. The doctors may recommend a CPAP machine to help get it under control. 

Aside from that, sleep apnea can cause cold sweats as a result of stress and anxiety. Also, cold sweats are different from night sweats. 

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Diagnosis of Night Sweats

In addition to asking for your complete medical history, your healthcare provider will examine you physically. Human immunodeficiency virus, thyroid-stimulating hormone, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, chest radiographs, computed tomographic scans of the chest and abdomen, and bone marrow biopsy are some tests doctors will perform on patients. 

Treatment of Night Sweats

Treatment depends on what is causing your night sweats. For menopause-related night sweats, hormone therapy with estrogen alone or progestin can be an option. Hormone therapy can also help with other symptoms of menopause, such as bone loss and vaginal dryness. But not all hormone therapies are safe, as they carry some risks, including blood clots and gallbladder inflammation. Some non-estrogen medicines are used to treat night sweats, such as


It is an effective medicine for treating hot flashes and primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis.


Low-dose megestrol is well tolerated and reduces the frequency of hot flashes in men and women.


Antidepressants like Celexa, Prozac, and a prescription for Lexapro can be used to treat night sweats and hot flashes. 


Oxybutynin is a medicine that is used to relieve menopausal hot flashes and sweats. It is also used to treat a hyperactive bladder. 


Anticonvulsants are moderately effective in reducing hot flashes and sweats, especially in those with nocturnal symptoms. 

Also, if you experience night sweats that disrupt your sleep regularly, speak with your doctor immediately. 

Environmental Changes

Environmental changes can be effective in treating night sweats. Here are some changes that may help:

  • Adjusting the sleep environment: As mentioned earlier, sleeping in a more fabulous room and using breathable bedding materials can help regulate body temperature and reduce night sweats.
  • Managing humidity levels: Using a dehumidifier or air conditioner can help reduce humidity levels in the bedroom, making it easier for sweat to evaporate from the skin.
  • Wearing breathable clothing: Choosing loose-fitting clothing from breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen can help reduce sweating.
  • Avoiding triggers: Avoiding triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods before bedtime can help reduce the occurrence of night sweats.
  • Staying hydrated: The probability of night sweats can be decreased by drinking enough water throughout the day to help regulate body temperature.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help control body temperature and lower stress, which are factors in the development of night sweats.

Other Medications for Night Sweats

Your healthcare provider may prescribe you medications for hot flashes, such as paroxetine and gabapentin. Venlafaxine is also used for the treatment of night sweats. Your doctor may recommend some antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or other drugs depending on your type of infection. Limiting or avoiding alcohol or caffeine consumption can also help reduce night sweats. Your healthcare provider may recommend therapy to help you quit these substances.

How to prevent night sweats?

Here are some preventive measures that can help reduce the likelihood of night sweats:

Avoid triggers

Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods before bedtime can help prevent night sweats.

Keep the bedroom cool.

Maintaining a cooler room temperature, using breathable bedding materials, and avoiding synthetic fabrics can help regulate body temperature and reduce the likelihood of night sweats.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration, which can contribute to night sweats.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can help regulate body temperature and reduce stress levels, which can contribute to night sweats.

Practice stress reduction techniques

Managing stress through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga can help prevent night sweats.

When to Consult a Doctor?

You don’t need to worry if you only get night sweats occasionally, and they don’t significantly affect your sleep quality. However, you should discuss them with your doctor next time.

It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having trouble sleeping, regularly sweating, or experiencing other concerning symptoms.

You should be on the lookout for the following potentially severe symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety and pain in the body
  • Chills and fever
  • Chronic coughing or bloody sputum
  • Intense stomach pain or diarrhea

You can get online consultations with your doctors online. Our doctor can investigate the cause of your night sweats and, if necessary, prescribe treatment.

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Frequently Asked Question 

What are night sweats a sign of?

Infections, hormonal problems, or menopause can cause night sweats. Sleep hyperhidrosis (night sweats) is an episode of excessive perspiration during sleep. 

What causes those night sweats?

1. Menopause and the menstrual cycle. 
2. Hypoglycemia
3. Anxiety
4. Alcohol Consumption
5. Hyperhidrosis

Do night sweats mean heart problems?  

Night sweats can be a symptom of heart problems, but they can also be caused by other factors such as hormonal changes, medications, infections, or other medical conditions. It is essential to see a healthcare provider if you experience persistent or severe night sweats.

When should I be worried about night sweats?

You should be concerned if you experience night sweats frequently, intensely, or with other symptoms like fever, weight loss, or pain. These might be symptoms of a severe medical issue that needs to be treated.

What autoimmune disease causes night sweats?

Several autoimmune diseases can cause night sweats, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and vasculitis. These conditions can cause inflammation and hormonal changes, contributing to night sweats.

Can stress cause night sweats?

Yes, anxiety can lead to night sweats. Adrenaline and other stress hormones can be released in response to stress, and these hormones can alter body temperature and lead to night sweats.

What stage of lymphoma is night sweats?

Any stage of lymphoma, a malignancy that affects the lymphatic system, can cause night sweats. However, they are frequently linked to the late stages of the illness, when the cancer has spread to numerous lymph nodes or organs. It’s crucial to consult a doctor for a full assessment if you experience night sweats and other symptoms, including exhaustion, unexplained weight loss, or swollen lymph nodes.

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