Night Sweats -- Causes and Cures
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Last updated August 5, 2018 (originally published June 30, 2009)
By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses and other members of our Editorial Board.]

America is waking up drenched in sweat. Night sweats.  As
many as 34% of adults suffer from night sweats, according
to a  2007 study from the University of Oklahoma.  Putting
that another way,  of the 217 million adults in the US, 74
million of you suffer from night sweats.  One-half of those
74 million --- 37 million people --- reported that the sweats
were so severe that they wake up thoroughly soaked in
their nightclothes.

Night sweats are different from
hot flashes. Hot flashes, in
contrast to night sweats, can occur at any time during the
day or night. They last for a few seconds or minutes, and
only occur in
pre-menopausal or menopausal women.
Sometimes episodes of sweating for unknown reasons are
called day sweats, especially when they occur in men or in
non-menopausal women. The peak age range for those
suffering from night sweats is between age 41 and 55,
according to a 2002 study from the University of Oklahoma
Health Sciences Center.

Both men and women suffer from night sweats. You go to
sleep feeling normal. But, at some point during the night,
something happens, and you wake up sweating.  Night
sweats --- excessive perspiration during sleep --- can range
from a simple moist brow to completely soaked bed clothes.

The evolutionary reason that we humans experience night
sweats is unclear. Much about night sweats remains a
mystery even to researchers. Why do they only occur at

What is known is that night sweats have been found to be
strongly associated with several other kinds of sleep
disturbances.  If you suffer from night sweats, you are also
at higher risk for daytime tiredness, waking up with a
taste in your mouth, legs jerking during your sleep, and
awakening with pain in the night.

Night sweats are a common among people with sleep
apnea, the terrifying sleep condition in which you stop
breathing many times during your sleep.  In fact, a 2013
study led by Dr. Erna Arnardottir of the National University
Hospital of Iceland found that 30.6 % of men with
obstructive sleep apnea and  33.3% of women with sleep
apnea also suffer from night sweats.

What Causes Night Sweats?

Nights sweats can be caused by a number of conditions.
Night sweats are one of the primary symptoms for
tuberculosis and lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. But
many other non-life-threatening conditions can cause night
sweats, including simple anxiety, stressful dreams or  

Here are the most common causes and effective remedies
for night sweats, based upon medical research:

Lose Weight.  If you have a high body mass indicator,
you face a far higher risk for experiencing severe night
sweats and hot flashes. What’s considered a high BMI?  
Anything over 30. This link between the amount of fat you
have on your body and night sweats was found in a  2003
study by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive
Medicine,  University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Your
risk for night sweats only decreases once your BMI drops
to 24 or below.

Here is a table with a few examples of heights, BMIs and
risk for night sweats.

In practical terms, this means that you should stay as close
to your
ideal weight, BMI (which translates into ideal waist
measurements) to lower your risk for suffering night
sweats and hot flashes.  

Stop Drinking Alcohol.  Drinking alcohol increases your
risk for night sweats. In fact, it puts you at much greater
risk for night sweats, day sweats and hot flashes.
According to a 2006 study from the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst, those of us who drink alcohol
every day face a significantly higher increased the risk of
hot flashes, night sweats and
day sweats.

Avoid Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar raises your risk
for suffering from night sweats. According to several
studies, hypoglycemics suffer twice as much from night
sweats as those with
normal blood sugar. [Avoiding alcohol
is one of the key
tips for surviving a heat wave.]

Stop Smoking. Smokers suffer far more from night
sweats, according to a 2003 study from the University of
Baltimore. Of the 1,087 women included in the study, 56%
reported having hot flashes. Compared with those who
have never smoked, current smokers were at an increased
risk for both moderate to severe hot flashes and daily hot
flashes . And if you currently smoke, your risk for hot
flashes increases with each puff.

Avoid Chronic Insomnia and Apnea. Insomnia is difficult
to treat but there are
natural approaches to sleep pattern
problems which are effective.  Apnea, which means the
interruption of breathing while you are asleep, may require
the use of a CPAP mask to completely remedy the problem.
Recent studies have linked apnea with
heavy snoring.

Manage Your Heart burn/ Acid Reflux.  Heart burn, alson
known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease or
GERD) when it occurs frequently,  has been strongly
linked with night sweats.

Manage Thyroid Conditions. Hypothyroidism is strongly
linked to experiencing night sweats.

Get Your Blood Pressure Down. According to a 2007
study from Cornell University, Weill Medical College, those
of us with a high systolic (top number) blood pressure are
at significantly greater risk for hot flashes and night
sweats. Avoid salt, walk 45 minutes a day, and
eat foods
that help you to lower blood pressure are the most
effective natural remedies.

Having suffered from hypertension myself and successfully
lowered my blood pressure back to normal levels, I would
strongly recommend that you also consider adding extra
virgin olive oil to your diet. Two tablespoons per day can
lower blood pressure significantly, if followed regularly.
There is a study which is linked to
here that confirms the
efficacy of using extra virgin olive oil as a remedy for

Hodgkins's Disease and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can cause
drenching night sweats. The reason is that as the disease
progresses the body loses its ability to fight off infections,
which can cause fevers and night sweats.

10. Tuberculosis. Night sweats are one of the key
symptoms of tuberculosis. If you experience night sweats
and you have none of the above factors ---no extra body
weight, you're not a smoker, no high blood pressure, acid
reflux or alcohol-- then see a doctor to screen for
tuberculosis and lymphoma cancer.


Manage Your Sleep Apnea. As we saw above, studies
have found that over 30% of those with sleep apnea also
suffer from night sweats. Try these
remedies for sleep
apnea to also help cure your night sweats.

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