How to Prevent Night Sweats

Proper rest is an essential part of healthy living. As people get older, they are more likely to develop physical issues that interfere with their sleep. The development of night sweats is a popular condition.

This is especially true among older adults, affecting as much as 75 percent of menopausal woman and a smaller but notable number of men. The disruption of sleep cycles is certainly enough reason to find ways to prevent night sweats from occurring. However, night sweats can also create anxiety in those who experience them due to a lack of knowledge about the cause and available treatment options.

Night sweats are a very common but manageable part of the aging process. Each person’s body is unique. As such, the source of this condition may vary for everyone. With this in mind, it is beneficial to keep a journal of when night sweats first start happening, how long they last and how frequently they occur. This can help identify causes of night sweating –both potential and definitive– and learn how to prevent them.

What Are Night Sweats?

Night sweats are repetitive occurrences of extraordinary perspiration to the point of saturating clothing and/or bedding. Often, they are related to an underlying biological issue. For instance, women going through menopause also experience random and unexpected surges of body heat called “hot flashes.” Hot flashes have the potential to be so intense that they wake women from sleeping.

The medical term for excessive sweating is called “hyperhidrosis.” While many normal, daily activities cause sweating, night sweats are not incited by environmental factors, such as high room temperatures or exercise. Those basic cause-and-effect scenarios do not apply, as night sweats flush toxins and other applicable fluids from the body due to hormonal changes, illness and/or reaction to medication.

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It is crucial to know the difference between normal and abnormal forms of sweating. For instance, going to sleep soon after a hot shower or exercise can cause harmless night sweats to occur. The body’s hypothalamus, which controls body temperature and regulates sleep cycles, activates over two million sweat glands as a means of cooling the body. These scenarios all fall within normal bodily functions. On the other hand, waking up to soaked sheets with no discernable cause requires further investigation, as that may signal a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention.

Causes

Night sweats can occur for a variety of reasons. Conditions that can cause night sweats include:

  • Bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis (TB).
  • Viral infections, such as HIV.
  • Liver disease or organ dysfunction/imminent failure.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Cancer – most frequently lymphoma or leukemia.
  • Heavy substance or chemical abuse, particularly with crack cocaine or heroin.
  • Adverse reactions to medications, especially those related to chemotherapy depression and pain management, such as acetaminophen.
  • Hormonal imbalances caused by menopause.
  • Spinal cord injuries.

Examples of less life-threatening and more environmental-based conditions that cause night sweats include:

  • Smoking and vaping.
  • Drinking alcohol excessively right before sleeping.
  • Digestive issues due to consumption of spicy or unhealthy foods.
  • Anxiety and high levels of stress.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Clothing that fits too tightly and restricts circulation while sleeping.
  • Allergies.

How to Prevent Night Sweats

Learning how to prevent night sweats can improve the quality of life for individuals and entire households. Sweating is a natural way for the human body to rid itself of toxins, flush out the bad cells and make room for healthier ones. Not all night sweats are detrimental, some are even necessary. However, the goal is to prevent those that persist and occur excessively.

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Healthy habits are always positive foundations for more enjoyable lifestyles and uninterrupted sleep. It may not be as simple as eating an apple a day. However, healthy nutritional choices help prevent and reduce night sweats. The human body consists of almost 60 percent water, which is the number one combatant against night sweats. Drinking up to one gallon of water per day is proven to reduce weight, regulate blood sugar and help prevent night sweats. Consuming a couple servings of soy products per day has also been shown to reduce the frequency of the hot flashes that provoke hyperhidrosis.

Vitamins and supplements also play an important role in our daily lives. Black cohosh capsules or oils have been shown to have short-term efficacy against night sweats. Primrose oil and flax seeds can also help prevent night sweats, along with vitamins B and E.

Furthermore, prescription medications, such as gabapentin, paroxetine, clonidine and venlafaxine can reduce hot flashes and prevent night sweats. Sleep aid medicines like trazodone, and anti-anxiety and seizure medications, such as lorazepam and diazepam, can help you sleep through night sweats. Be sure to consult with your doctor before adding any of these items to your daily routine to prevent dangerous side effects.

Night Sweats Prevention Tips

Night sweats can ruin sleep, increase stress and indicate a more serious medical condition. If you experience night sweats suddenly and/or severely without obvious environmental or biological causes, it is best to go see a doctor. In addition, always consult a physician before taking any drastic measures to treat the issue as you may worsen your condition. Find a list of tips on how to reduce or prevent night sweats:

  • Stay hydrated all day.
  • Reduce stress by meditating, prioritizing relaxation time and doing breathing exercises.
  • Exercise regularly and implement a healthy diet, including two servings of soy per day.
  • Avoid the consumption of illegal drugs.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption in excess or close to bedtime.
  • Use Vitamins E and B, black cohosh, flax seeds and primrose oils to reduce hot flashes leading to night sweats.

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