What are Night Sweats?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 11 February 2020
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Night sweats refers to excessive sweating during sleep. Light sweating typically wouldn't be characterized as night sweats. They are more akin to hot flashes one experiences at night. It's a common problem that affects men and women alike and can be caused by a host of conditions from medically benign issues like a hot bedroom or sleeping under too many blankets all the way to more serious medical conditions like excessive stress or anxiety, side effects from medications, or even neurological problems.

Mild sweating at night would not be called "night sweats." The amount of sweat produced from this condition is excessive. It can vary greatly from lightly sweating into one's pajamas to soaking the bedsheets and bed. Sometimes the amount of overheating and perspiration that one experiences during an episode is so great that it wakes people up in the middle of the night, prompting them to move over to a dry part of the bed or possibly even to change their bed clothes. If it's clear that the sweating is a result of a hot environment, wearing lighter pajamas, using lighter blankets or keeping an open airflow in the bedroom can prevent future episodes. If the sleeping conditions are not hot however, there may be medical causes.


A variety of medical conditions or medically-related situations can contribute to the occurrence of night sweats. Perhaps the most common or most obvious is stress and anxiety. Stressful waking lives can manifest in dreams that cause great anxiety and result in this condition. For women in menopause, sweating episodes can occur at night just as hot flashes occur during the day. They may also be a byproduct or side effect of certain medications or combinations of medications. Those who suffer from idiopathic hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating generally, may also sweat excessively during the nighttime hours. Infections, hormonal imbalances, certain cancers, and even neurological problems can also cause this condition.

In most cases, night sweats are harmless — the result of a hot environment or a temporarily stressful period in one's life. Medical professionals, however, recommend that those who suffer from these nuisances for a prolonged period seek the advice of a medical professional as they could be a symptom of a more serious medical problem.


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Post 9

I'm 20 years old and I've been dealing with night sweats for the past three days. I don't go to sleep stressed or with anxiety. I wake up and me and my sheets are soaked in sweat! I love sleeping, but now I dread waking up in sweat. I'm so young and I honestly don't know what the problem is.

Post 7

I've had horrible, horrible nightmares so real that when I wake up at 4 a.m., I am drenched and have to change my clothes. It is winter right now, but I wake up drenched in sweat and feeling extremely hot. I was so scared. I am scared of the depression I am in. I wish someone could help me, or be with me and love and care for me.

I am severely depressed. I've begun to smoke and drink heavily to ease the pain, but last night I felt I was not drunk enough to ease the nightmares. I have to be very, very drunk so as not to feel so much physical pain.

Post 6

This just started with me. I wake up sweating. My bedclothes are drenched. This is so depressing.

Post 5

I had it twice, after months of the worst-- and I mean worst -- girlfriend-induced stress, so much that my girlfriend, the cause of my despair and suffering, thought that I had peed in the bed. At first, she couldn't believe it was sweat, but also helped her to realize how much physical suffering her coldness has put me thorough. I never had it again though.

My hair was drenched in sweat, and the sheets were, of course, soaked. I had to take a quick hot shower then sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag!

Post 4

PMS and/or PMDD can also cause night sweats.

Post 3

I am suffering from extreme night sweats again. Stress does trigger the problem. I had the same last year and as the stress in my life passed so did the sweats. It is no joke when you wake up soaking wet. I only wish the stress in my life would ease up so I can go back to normal!

Post 2

is feeling hot at night to be considered as night sweats? i would like to know.

Post 1

I believe night sweats can also be caused by anxiety or stress. Last year, I went through a very stressful time and experienced night sweats, which I had never before experienced, for about 2 weeks. When the stress passed, the night sweats went with it. I've had another bout with stress more recently. It's not as severe as the last experience and this time, I'm not getting night sweats but, it seems, that every time I wake up I'm extremely hot -- almost on the verge of sweating.

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