What Causes Night Sweats and How to Control Them

Young man in bed wiping sweat off of forehead

Working up a sweat while exercising or while outside in hot weather is perfectly normal and natural, but some people experience sweating at night that soaks through bedding and nightwear. Individuals who experience this may wonder what causes night time sweating and what can be done to prevent them. Oftentimes, night sweating is a symptom of a medical condition that an individual may not even be aware of yet.

Here is some information about night sweat causes, night sweating symptoms, and how to prevent and treat this condition. This article also addresses what causes cold sweats and how they differ from night sweats.

Why Do I Sweat at Night?

Sweating at night can be caused by simple things, such as wearing too many clothes to bed, sleeping under too many blankets, or keeping the bedroom’s thermostat too high.4 However, the medical condition of night sweating is often due to a health condition that keeps a person awake at night instead of sleeping soundly from night to morning.

Night Sweat Causes

Some of the most common night sweat causes that are due to medical conditions include anxiety, autoimmune disorders, bacterial infections, cancer, thyroid disease, and drug addiction. Another common answer to what causes night sweats is menopause, which mostly affects women over the age of 50. Meanwhile, certain medications, such as antidepressants, hormone blockers, and diabetes medications, may cause night sweats as a side effect.1

What Causes Cold Sweats?

Cold sweats differ from night sweats in that they do not necessarily have to occur at night. Cold sweats can occur at any time of the day and mostly include sweating of the armpits and palms of the hands. Answers to what causes cold sweats can be shock as a reaction to environmental conditions, nausea, vertigo, stress, migraines, and pain from an injury.

Night Sweating Symptoms

As the name suggests, night sweating symptoms only occur at night, and they can occur in both children and adults. People who have night sweats often wake up in the middle of the night and find their sleepwear and sheets drenched in sweat. This may be accompanied be fever, mood changes, diarrhea, and dizziness.

Treatments for Night Sweats

While a rare and occasional night sweat is often no major cause for concern, it is recommended to consult a medical professional if the sweats occur regularly on a frequent basis. It is also a good idea to seek a medical opinion if night sweats are accompanied by other symptoms or routinely interrupt sleep. If medication is to blame for night sweats, it may be time to switch to a different medication to compare the effectiveness and side effects of each one.2

Night Sweat Prevention

To prevent night sweats, keep the bedroom cool and use layers of blankets that can be added or removed as needed. Avoid drug and alcohol use, especially before bedtime, to prevent their occurrence as well.4 To ensure a more restful night’s sleep, NiteThru, a natural melatonin supplement, may help control irregularities that lead to sleep issues.3 To further avoid night sweating symptoms, it may also help to reduce stress, wear loose-fitting clothing to bed, and avoid spicy foods in the evening.4


  1. Mayo Clinic. Night Sweats. Retrieved December 13, 2018 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768
  2. American Osteopathic Association. Excessive sweating keeping you up at night? Know when its time to see your doctor. Retrieved December 13, 2018 from https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/night-sweats/
  3. National Institutes of Health. Melatonin: In Depth. Retrieved December 13, 2018 from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin
  4. Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. (February 9, 2017). Retrieved December 11, 2018 from http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits
“Please note, the material located on our site is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a therapeutic claim or medical advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance.”

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