Night Sweats (Sleep related hyperhidrosis)

Night Sweats vary from mild and intermittent to nightly, drenching episodes forcing changes in bedclothes. Their significant sometimes correlates with their severity. Possible causes include:

  • Simply being over covered, or bedroom too warm.
  • Sleep apnea, a common cause of night sweats, often involving the head and neck, and related to repeatedly struggling to overcome throat collapse. Look for: snoring, restless sleep, arousals with snores/ gasps/ shortness of breath/ chest discomfort/ headache/ dry throat, worsening with weight gain, nasal congestion and after consumption of alcohol, or such daytime complaints as sleepiness, irritability, trouble concentrating and memory problems. At the same time, realize that some people with sleep apnea have none of these symptoms.
  • Infections – particularly if chills, shivering, fevers or other infectious symptoms are present. Taking one’s temperature repeatedly during ‘bad nights’ may provide clarification.
  • Menopause — ‘hot flashes’ and increased tendency to sweat at night.
  • Sleep-related seizures — particularly if severe.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) — if occurring in sleep.
  • Other hormonal/ endocrine disorders and other disorders of the brain and nervous system sometimes are the cause of night sweats. Look for the common causes first, though, unless you have already been diagnosed as having another medical or neurological condition that might explain this symptom.
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