For those of us living in hot areas, waking up sweaty at night when the air conditioning fails may not be uncommon or unusual, but it does seem out of the ordinary when you wake up sweating even on cold night. So, why does this happen? In many cases, waking up sweaty could be a sign of certain health conditions that require medical diagnosis. The implications can also vary depending on the age and gender of the individual.
The Most Common Cause For Night Sweats
Body temperature elevation because of a warm sleep environment is the most common cause of waking up sweating, which is why it is important that you make sure your room is at an optimal temperature before you climb into bed. Make sure to use light cotton pajamas or sleep nude if you must, using only light cotton covers, rather than thick blankets and duvets. In healthy adults, body temperature can be raised during sleep due to the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, leading to some amount of sweating, but this is normal. In other cases, where you wake up actually drenched in sweat for no logical reason, it could be because of a health condition.
Medical Causes Of Night Sweats
Disorders that affect sleep quality are unsurprisingly the most common medical cause for night sweats. Here are some health conditions that are most likely to wake you up with your bed drenched in sweat.
“Sleep apnea obstructs the airways, putting a greater load on your respiratory system and this increased effort works up quite a sweat and you will probably wake up drenched”
Severe or obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 3 to 7% of all men and around 2 to 5% of all women. Obstruction of the respiratory passages causes snoring and breathing difficulty during sleep, putting a greater load on your respiratory system as it works harder to maintain adequate oxygen intake. Not surprisingly, this increased effort works up quite a sweat and you will probably wake up drenched.
“Alcohol has a muscle relaxing effect that can weaken muscles involved in respiration, contributing to sleep apnea and snoring, greatly increasing the risk of night sweats”
Whether you are an alcoholic or not, regular consumption of alcohol, especially before going to bed, greatly increases the likelihood of night sweats. Alcohol has a muscle relaxing effect that can weaken muscles involved in respiration, contributing to sleep apnea and snoring. This is why although alcohol has sedative properties it impairs sleep and is often linked to night sweats.
Stress Disorders & Nightmares
“Anxiety and stress disorders are known to cause nightmares and panic attacks, both of which can cause excessive sweating, usually described as cold sweats”
Anxiety and stress disorders are known to cause nightmares and panic attacks, both of which can cause excessive sweating, usually described as cold sweats. Night terrors, which are more intense than the regular bad dream or nightmare, can also cause night sweats and are usually more common in children. Frequent sleep disturbances of this nature require treatment and help from counsellors and psychologists.