6 Possible Reasons Why You're Getting Night Sweats—and How to Find Some Relief

Dr. Oz explains the common causes of sleepless, sweaty nights (and it often has nothing to do with the weather).

Young Asian woman with hand on forehead lying in bed
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There are few things less pleasant, or more frustrating, than getting night sweats—and not understanding why you're getting them or how to make them stop. Night sweats, or nocturnal hyperhidrosis, can be super-inconvenient, to say the least—and even more so if you share a bed with someone.

What Are Night Sweats?

The definition of night sweats is pretty self-explanatory: excess sweat that your body secretes while you're sleeping. In other words, it's when your body produces more sweat than what's necessary to cool down and control your internal temperature.

Sometimes the easiest and most obvious solution to stop the excess sweat is to sleep under fewer layers or crank up the A/C. But other times, getting night sweats actually has less to do with your external environment (the humidity outside, the room temp) and everything to do with what's going on in your body. It's a helpful revelation in some ways, but this can also make you feel like you have less control over conquering your night sweats. Don't despair—we had Mehmet Oz, M.D., physician and cardiac surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, explain the most common potential reasons why you're getting night sweats, what you can do about them, and when to turn to your doctor for relief.

Why You Might Be Getting Night Sweats

01 of 06


Ah, menopause: The bittersweet part of a woman's life, usually in her early 50s, when her period stops coming every month. Eighty percent of menopausal women experience vasomotor symptoms, like hot flashes and—you guessed it—night sweats, says Dr. Oz.

The downside to this naturally occurring phenomenon is it's pretty much bound to happen, and it can last up to seven years or more. The upside is that there are ways to reduce the symptoms that accompany it. First, cut down on alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. These night-sweat-inducing triggers are especially important to avoid right before heading to bed. Then, opt for moisture-wicking sleepwear, cooling bedsheets, or a frozen cold pack under your pillow (periodically flip over the pillow so you get the most out of the refreshing coolness it provides).

If symptoms persist, Dr. Oz suggests talking to your doctor to see if certain medications or hormone therapy to replace lost estrogen are good options for you.

02 of 06


Taking antidepressants, hypertension drugs, or other types of medications can sometimes result in waking up in uncomfortable puddles of sweat. This happens as a result of the medications affecting the part of your brain that regulates your sweat glands and internal body temperature.

The most obvious way to combat medication-related night sweats is to talk to your doctor about switching to a different medicine. But if you don't want to do that, there are a few things you can try. In addition to a more breathable nighttime wardrobe, mattresses are often overlooked as something that can contribute to the severity of night sweats. "Many memory foam mattress users report that [it] holds and retains heat," says Dr. Oz. "Simply adding a fitted sheet or topper made of natural, breathable material on top of your mattress can lower a memory foam's temperature. You might even want to try a mattress cooling pad!" (Find our picks for the best cooling toppers here.)

03 of 06


Anxiety can cause excess sweating when awake, so it makes total sense that it's another trigger of night sweats (thanks, stress hormones). If you have an anxiety or panic disorder, you might be even more likely to experience them, alongside other symptoms like shallow breathing and a rapid heart rate.

To combat anxiety-induced night sweats effectively, the first thing you should do is pinpoint your triggers. If it's something you can avoid, do that. But pinpointing the exact cause of anxiety isn't that easy, especially if you have an anxiety or panic disorder. Dr. Oz suggests exercising, practicing yoga, meditating, listening to music, and learning different relaxation techniques. "Cognitive behavioral therapy can [also] help balance the effect of anxiety," he adds. "If you feel overwhelmed, you should reach out to your doctor or a professional therapist to see if your anxiety can be managed another way."

RELATED: Avoid Night Sweats by Making Your Bed This Way in Summer

04 of 06


Hyperhidrosis is a fancy term that means your body naturally sweats more than it needs to on its own. The excess sweating usually occurs in one or two areas of the body, typically your palms, feet, underarms, or head, says Dr. Oz. One of the primary indications that your night sweats might be caused by hyperhidrosis is if you're often visibly sweating without exerting yourself while you're awake.

When it comes to solving your hyperhidrosis-induced night sweats, your doctor might refer you to a dermatologist, who will most likely work with you to find an antiperspirant that works for your skin type. "If that doesn't help they might try Iontophoresis, which is a device that sends low-voltage current through water when your hands or feet are dipped inside," says Dr. Oz. "Other tactics include prescription medication, Botox injection, or surgery if all else fails."

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why Sweating Is Actually Great for You (Besides Cooling You Down)

05 of 06


Your thyroid gland is super important. It's responsible for producing hormones that affect nearly every organ in your body and it helps keep your metabolism in check. With that in mind, when something goes awry with your thyroid gland, it's not unlikely that a few other things could go out of whack too. A sped-up metabolism might initially sound ideal, but too many thyroid hormones can result in overheating (among other things).

If you think you might be experiencing hyperthyroidism, your healthcare provider can run a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels. If they're too high, they might prescribe you medication to lower the number of hormones being produced. Your doctor might also suggest radioiodine therapy, which destroys the cells in the thyroid gland that produce hormones. If necessary, surgery to remove part of or the entire thyroid gland is another option, says Dr. Oz.

06 of 06


The fever is your body's natural way of fighting off infections, like the common cold, flu, or mono. The list of infections that could be causing you to overheat at night is extensive. When your body heats up, it's normal for night sweats to occur alongside other symptoms, like fatigue and aching muscles. "There are other causes and many of the symptoms often overlap so it might be difficult to tell them apart," Dr. Oz adds.

There's really no one-size-fits-all way to combat every type of infection, which is why it's super-important to reach out to your doctor as soon as you suspect you might have one. That way, they can run diagnostic tests to determine what the cause of the sweating is.

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  1. Avis NE, Crawford SL, Green R. Vasomotor symptoms across the menopause transition: differences among women. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2018 ;45(4):629-640. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2018.07.005

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hyperhidrosis: overview. Accessed November 5, 2022.

  3. American Thyroid Association. Radioactive Iodine FAQs. Accessed November 5, 2022.

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