When its time to see a doctor about sweating at night

This Morning: Dr Zoe outlines common causes of night sweats

Sweating is a natural bodily function that removes salt-based fluid from the sweat glands.

Its main purpose is to control the body’s temperature, which is why we sweat more when hot.

Although this is therefore a common occurrence both in the day and at night during the summer months, it could be signalling something sinister.

Sleep expert Andrea Strand, from Eachnight Mattresses, spoke with Express.co.uk about why you sweat during sleep and how to prevent and treat it.

She said: “Sweating during sleep is a common occurrence and happens for mainly two reasons.

“The first is your environment. Whilst it’s enjoyable to snuggle under a heavy blanket or wear warm pyjamas, these things can often lead to waking up in the middle of the night covered in sweat.

“Another reason is underlying medical issues.

“The Mayo Clinic has listed numerous factors that can contribute to those unwanted night sweats, including hormone disorders, sleep apnoea, anxiety and viral infections to name but a few.”

When to speak to your doctor

Ms Strand explained: “If your night sweats get to the point that you begin to experience daytime fatigue as a result of lost sleep from sweating, it’s time to see a doctor.

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“If you have been sweating consistently for two weeks or more with no signs of it getting better, that’s also when you should consider seeking professional help.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, some medical causes of night sweats can include:

  • Alcohol and/or substance use disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)
  • Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Leukaemia
  • Myelofibrosis (a bone marrow disorder)
  • Sleep disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnoea)
  • Stroke
  • Tuberculosis.

It warns: “Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom.

“Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.”

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Ways to prevent night sweats

If your night sweats aren’t linked to a medical condition there are ways to help prevent it happening.

“Avoid eating a large meal at least two to three hours before sleeping,” Ms Strand said.

“This means your digestive system won’t be working after you fall asleep, allowing your body to rest more.

“Avoiding spicy foods and caffeine at night can also be a great way to beat the night-time sweats.

“Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase your heart rate, leading to a raise in blood pressure which can activate sweat glands.”

Taking control of your stress levels could also help if you are suffering from night sweats.

Ms Strand added: “Whether it is stress due to recurring bad dreams, or general anxiety, stress is a hormonal issue which can lead to sweating.

“Doing activities such as yoga and meditation before bedtime is a great way to reduce stress and calm the mind, however if stress persists, seek professional help.”

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