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12 Reasons For Night Sweats

Surprisingly perhaps only one of the reasons is menopause, so could something else be causing your night sweats?


It is unfortunately one of the most common symptoms at menopause, but that might not be the only reason you are suffering.

You could break into a sweat when your room feels warm or you’ve piled on too many blankets. But that’s not what we’re talking about. Night sweats specifically refers to repeated drenching perspiration in the middle of the night that’s likely to wake you, and sometimes so much that you need to change your sheets.

It’s usually related to a medical issue, and here are some of the many reasons it might be occurring.


Hot flushes before and after your final period can be hard to distinguish from night sweats. Younger women who’ve had both ovaries removed or who stopped menstruating because of chemo can also get them.

They’re also more likely to happen when you’re anxious, depressed, or have a drink every day. But just because you’re a woman of the right age (typically, in your late 40s or 50s), don’t assume your night sweats are menopause-related.

Overactive thyroid

Sweating more and being sensitive to heat are notable symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism, so when it makes too much hormone, your body goes into overdrive.

Your body temperature rises, and you could be hungrier or thirstier, have a racing pulse or shaking hands, feel tired and out of sorts, get diarrhoea, and lose weight.

Low blood sugar

Do you have diabetes? While your blood glucose may be fine when you go to bed, it can drop while you’re asleep. Maybe you had a very active day, or exercised in the evening, or had a late dinner and they may all contribute to night sweats.

If you use insulin or take a sulfonylurea-type drug to manage your diabetes, that may be responsible for your overnight hypoglycemia. When your glucose is lower than 140 mg/dL before bed, or it could fall in a few hours, have a snack.

Sleep apnoea

When you have this condition, you briefly stop breathing over and over during the night. Because your body isn’t getting oxygen, it may slip into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which triggers sweating.

Each time it has to kick-start breathing means a burst of work from your muscles, too. People who use a CPAP machine to help them breathe at night have night sweats about as often as those who don’t have sleep apnoea.

Acid reflux

It’s not only the heartburn and chest pain that can wake you up. GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) hasn’t been studied much as a cause of night sweats, but doctors say there’s a possible connection and treating it can often ease your night sweats.

Eat smaller meals, and not before bed, and avoid trigger foods like those that are fatty, fried, or tomato-based.

See your doctor if your symptoms are severe or happen more than a couple of times a week.


This is a broad term for cancer that begins in cells of the lymph system and many cancers can cause night sweats. Lymphoma is the most common and starts in parts of your body’s immune system, like lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow, and the thymus.

About a quarter of people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma get night sweats and have a low fever. They may also be tired, itchy, and, after drinking alcohol, hurt where their tumour is. People with aggressive or advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma can get drenching night sweats, too.


Lots of drugs may cause night sweats, including over-the-counter fever reducers like paracetamol and NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Older antidepressants, called tricyclics or TCAs, as well as bupropion and venlafaxine used also to help stop smoking can cause night sweats.

Surprisingly, other common suspects include hormone replacement therapy, as well as steroids like cortisone and prednisone.

Some medicines for glaucoma and dry mouth also stimulate your sweat glands so check with your doctor to see if there is a different medication that would work better for you.


The bacteria usually grow in your lungs with a serious, painful cough with blood and coloured phlegm.

About half of all people who get this disease have night sweats and you also might feel feverish, tired, and weak, and have no appetite.


Stress, worry, and panic can make all hormonal symptoms worse and make you break out in a sweat during the day, so it’s no surprise anxiety can have the same effect at night.

Nightmares and sleep terrors are less common in adults than children, but both can leave anyone sweaty and with a pounding heart.

Seek help if these disturbances are ongoing or causing problems in your everyday life.


Prostate cancer, kidney cancer, and some tumours in the ovaries and testicles are common examples of what doctors call ‘solid tumours’ that can cause night sweats.

A type of advanced thyroid cancer and cancer in your pancreas could also set them off and are a classic symptom of carcinoid syndrome, the effect of a rare cancer usually found in your digestive system or lungs.


Infections can trigger night sweats and some infections like bacterial endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart and heart valves) and osteomyelitis (bone infections) can actually cause it.

There are other more rare infections that can cause night sweats as well and your doctor will check you for them based on your risk factors, exposure and travel history.

Helpful information: 

For many women menopause and hormone imbalance are the greatest factors in night sweats and there are several ways to tackle them.

Start by ensuring you have hormone balance and severe symptoms like night sweats usually require a combination of both progesterone and oestrogen as in 20 to one cream to get them under control.

Other simple ways to help are to make sure your temperature in the bedroom is low enough and use a fan to circulate the air to make you more comfortable.

Avoid synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe and try some of the newer moisture wicking sheets and nightwear to keep you cooler.

If you need more help there are some good tips on the following article.