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Night Sweats: What Causes Night Sweats?

Waking up hot, clammy and uncomfortable? Night sweats are no fun. What’s more, they disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired the next day. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what causes night sweats in men, women, and children and how you can find relief.

What are night sweats?

Night sweats are essentially excessive sweating while sleeping, usually accompanied by feeling too hot in bed. Night sweats sufferers often wake up drenched in sweat – causing that unpleasant clammy feeling that makes you want to change your pajamas and bedding in the night. What’s more, night sweats can affect anyone at any age, from women going through the menopause, to men and young children.

What causes night sweats?

Before finding a solution for your night sweats, it’s a good idea to work out the cause. While they’re usually harmless, they can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. If you suddenly start to experience excessive sweating while sleeping, it’s a good idea to visit your physician for a check-up. They’ll also be able to help you identify the cause of your night sweats.
Some of the most common causes of night sweats are:
  • Menopause: Night sweats during the menopause are the most common symptom of the menopause, meaning that most women will experience them at some stage. They’re essentially “hot flashes” that happen when you’re asleep.
  • Diabetes: When hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) happens when you’re asleep, it can cause excessive sweating in bed.
  • Sleep apnea: While night sweats aren’t one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea, they are sometimes associated with this medical condition.
  • Medication: Night sweats can be a side effect of taking certain medication, such as some cancer treatments and anti-depressants. If you think your medication could be the cause, speak with your physician before making any changes to your routine or medication.
  • Memory foam mattress: The synthetic material used in memory foam relies on your body heat to mould and support you while you sleep. However, the lack of breathability and the additional heat can cause excessive sweating at night in some people. For others, it can make existing night sweats problems worse. Consider your mattress when looking into the causes of your sweating. Learn more about memory foam and night sweats.
Note: Suddenly started having night sweats? Visit your physician for a check-up to rule out any underlying cause. You can then look at solutions to help you relieve your night sweats symptoms and sleep better.

What causes night sweats in kids?

It’s common for young children to become too warm and experience sweating in bed. This is because people tend to warm up more in the deeper stages of sleep, but kids’ bodies aren’t yet fully developed to manage temperature effectively.

As with adults, if your child suddenly starts having heavy night sweats, it’s a good idea to take them to your physician for a check-up. It’s also important to monitor their temperature at night and take steps to prevent overheating, particularly in babies under 12 months old.

What causes night sweats in men?

While night sweats are most commonly associated with women going through the menopause, it’s not unusual for men to experience heavy night sweats too. Causes include diabetes, taking certain medications (such as some types of cancer treatment), and also certain types of cancer such as lymphoma. Most of the tips for women coping with night sweats can be followed by men too. Read on below to learn more.

How to cope with night sweats

As anyone who experiences regular night sweats knows, they can have a big impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help relieve the symptoms and sleep better. Use these tips for night sweats as a starting point:
  • Keep room temperature down: If you can, leave a window open at night. Use a fan or turn the air con setting to low to help keep your room at a comfortable temperature.
  • Wear natural pajamas: Look for pajamas made from cotton, silk or super fine merino wool, as these natural fibers are all more breathable than synthetic materials, helping to reduce night sweats.
  • Keep a sleep diary: Record when you exercise and what you eat and drink in the hours before bed. This will help you to spot triggers for your night sweats, such as drinking alcohol or eating spicy food.
  • Avoid memory foam: If you already have a memory foam mattress and can’t afford to replace it, use a wool mattress topper and protector to help better regulate your temperature and absorb moisture. This can help to reduce the effects of sleeping on memory foam.
  • Choose a lightweight comforter: Swap your heavier bedding for a lightweight comforter all year round if needed. For colder nights, layer with a wool blanket that can easily be moved aside if you begin to feel too warm in bed.
  • Discover wool: It’s a little-known fact that wool helps to regulate temperature and draw moisture away from the body – ideal if you suffer with profuse sweating while sleeping. For the most sleep-enhancing bed, look for a full wool bedding set including comforter, pillows and mattress protector. Then pair with 100% cotton sheets for a natural, breathable sleeping environment.

The science behind wool and night sweats

Wondering why wool works when it comes to night sweats? The science behind nature’s miracle fiber is surprisingly simple. It's a natural thermo-regulator, which means it can help to keep your body at a healthy sleeping temperature, whether it’s warm or cool outside.

But that’s not all. Wool can also absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture. By comparison, cotton can absorb up to 10%, making wool far more efficient at drawing moisture away from your body and reducing that damp, sticky feeling so familiar to heavy night sweats sufferers.

Added to all that, it’s also natural and renewable, hypoallergenic, antibacterial and dust mite free.

The best way to reduce night sweats and harness all these benefits for a better night’s sleep? Consider wool bedding – combining a wool comforter, pillows and mattress protector to surround yourself in this natural material. And of course, all topped off with 100% cotton bed linen to maximise the heat-regulating benefits.

Ready to reclaim your sleep routine? Try our tips on coping with sweating at night.