It's not uncommon to break out into a sweat during a warm night or after a terrifying dream, but you shouldn't be waking up drenched all the time. If you find yourself waking up to a damp bed every night, you may be exhibiting some signs you're sweating too much at night, which means an underlying issue could be at play. It's no cause to panic, but you'll want to get to the bottom of your night sweats, not only to fix your potential health issue, but to make your sleeping experience much more comfortable.
"Excessive sweating at night is a common complaint seen in primary care practice," says Margarita Rohr, MD, clinical instructor of general internal medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center over email. "It is important to note if the excess sweating occurs exclusively at night, as this can help diagnose certain conditions. Some people may experience sweating at night due to ambient temperature, bed sheets or clothing worn to bed and this may be normal. It is important to note if there are any other associated symptoms that accompany night sweats as these can help narrow down the diagnoses."
Here are seven signs that you're sweating too much at night and why they are occurring.
1Your Sheets Are Drenched
Getting warm at night happens to everyone, but night sweats are more extreme. "Night sweats are not just merely sweating, but drenching sweat, requiring a change of clothes or bed sheets," says Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD over email.
2You're Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night
"A sign that you're sweating too much is if it's waking you up in the middle of the night," says dermatologist Dr. Alan J. Parks over email. It's one thing to wake up from the heat in a room or a bad dream, but it's another thing if your night sweats are keeping you up at night or disturbing your sleep.
If you have just recently had a baby, that could explain why you're waking up feeling hotter than usual. "The sweats are a result of plummeting estrogen levels and an elevation of your prolactin, which occurs in preparation for breastfeeding," says Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN over email. "The abrupt lowering of the body’s estrogen levels parallels what menopausal women go through when they have hot flashes."
4You've Taken A New Medication
If you started a new medication, it could be responsible for your hot nights. "Antidepressants are commonly associated with night sweats," says Youdim.
5You're About To Get Your Period
Night sweats can be a symptom of PMS. "Many women notice night sweats a week or two before a period," says Ross. "This occurs naturally as a result of the hormonal changes associated with menstrual cycle.”
6Something Is Wrong With Your Thyroid
"The thyroid gland produces, stores and releases hormones that control your metabolism," says Ross. "Your metabolism controls the rate of how your body actually works. Thyroid hormones keep us physically and emotionally balanced. Among the many symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, night (and day) sweats are a common sign of this common disease."
7You Have An Infection
There's no need to panic, but it's good to keep in mind that recurring night sweats could indicate an infection. "Some examples include endocarditis, infection in the heart, osteomyelitis, infection in the bones, abscess, and HIV," says Youdim.