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How to stop night sweats and what causes them

Night sweats – what exactly are they? Picture the scene: your alarm goes off. You lift your head off a damp pillow. Sheets are drenched. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Night sweats are a common phenomenon, however you can stop them from ruining your night’s sleep. So, before you dive under the duvet, get clued up on these must-know tricks on how to stop night sweats.

Night Sweats

Night Sweats

Are night sweats normal?

Not always. While everyone sweats a bit while they sleep, your sheets shouldn’t end up drenched. If you’ve ever wondered why do I sweat so much at night, chances are you’re sweating more than you should. Don’t panic, night sweats affect a lot of people. And for many different reasons. So don’t sweat it, because you’re not the only one.

What causes night sweats?

While there’s no single reason for soaked bed sheets, here are five common causes of night sweats.

1. Pills can be a problem

Believe it or not, some common over-the-counter meds often come with the unexpected side-effect of night sweats. While they might take the edge off your headache or muscle pain, they can also lower the temperature at which your sweat glands are triggered – equalling excessive sweating, even when it doesn’t seem that hot.

2. Alcohol before bed

While a glass of red can take the edge off a hectic day, you might end up with sweat-drenched sheets to show for it. Why? Basically, alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which increases your body temperature, kick-starting the sweat cycle.

3. Fluctuating hormones

Hormonal changes like menopause (and the hot flushes that come with it) are often a cause of night sweats. Pregnancy hormones and sometimes PMS are other common culprits, ramping up your body heat high enough to get your sweat on.

4. Bulky bedding

If night sweats are becoming a nightly thing, time to rethink your sleeping situation. A heavy duvet and sheets made from sweaty fabrics like polyester or viscose can feel like an oven. No wonder you’re waking up drenched the next day.

5. Or is it more serious?

Sometimes, night sweats can be a sign of a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. This affects your water-producing sweat glands and means you sweat buckets even when you’re not hot. If you think you have hyperhidrosis, talk to your doctor or medical professional.

How to stop night sweats

Try these simple tricks

  • Choose breathable fabrics like cotton or linen for your bedding and PJs which absorb moisture and draw it away from your skin.
  • Keep your bedroom well ventilated. A fan on a low setting keeps cool air flowing and helps minimise sweat.
  • How hot is your bedroom? A good temperature for sleeping is around 16-19°C.
  • Stay hydrated during the day – a refillable bottle on your desk, car and around the house is a great reminder.
  • Avoid triggers like spicy food, caffeine, smoking and alcohol before bed, which can increase your body temperature right before sleep.

Stressed at work? Changed your diet? There are some reasons that might not be listed here as to why you could be experiencing night sweats. If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from night sweats and often they’re just temporary. However, if they’re keeping you up at night, chat to your doctor or medical professional.

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