What causes night sweats and how to treat them?

Symptom Database

Excessive sweating at night, commonly known as night sweats, can be a distressing and uncomfortable experience. It can disrupt sleep, leaving individuals feeling tired and irritable the next day. Night sweats can occur in both men and women and can be caused by various factors, including anxiety, menopause, and even certain medical conditions like cancer. In this article, we will explore the causes of night sweats and discuss effective remedies and treatments to alleviate this bothersome symptom.

Causes of Night Sweats

Night sweats can have several underlying causes, ranging from benign to more serious conditions. Understanding the root cause is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment. Here are some common causes of night sweats:

Night Sweats and Anxiety

Anxiety and stress can trigger night sweats in many individuals. When the body is under stress, it releases stress hormones that can increase body temperature and lead to excessive sweating. Managing anxiety through relaxation techniques, therapy, or medication can help reduce night sweats associated with anxiety.

Night Sweats and Menopause

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life that marks the end of her reproductive years. Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause night sweats and hot flashes. Estrogen levels decrease, affecting the body’s temperature regulation. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medications prescribed by a healthcare professional can help alleviate menopause-related night sweats.

Night Sweats and Cancer

While night sweats can be caused by various factors, they can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, including certain types of cancer. Lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers can cause night sweats as the body’s immune system fights against the disease. If night sweats are persistent, accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or if you have a family history of cancer, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Night Sweats Remedies

Fortunately, there are several remedies and lifestyle changes that can help manage night sweats effectively. Here are some tips to alleviate night sweats:

Keep Your Bedroom Cool

Creating a cool and comfortable sleeping environment can help reduce night sweats. Keep your bedroom well-ventilated, use breathable bedding, and consider using a fan or air conditioning to maintain a cooler temperature.

Choose Appropriate Sleepwear

Opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking sleepwear made from natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. These fabrics allow better airflow and can help absorb excess sweat, keeping you dry throughout the night.

Practice Stress-Relief Techniques

If anxiety or stress is contributing to your night sweats, incorporating stress-relief techniques into your daily routine can be beneficial. Try activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies that help you relax and unwind.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help regulate body temperature and prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate night sweats. Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime, as they can increase body temperature and trigger sweating.

Treatment for Night Sweats

If lifestyle changes and remedies do not provide sufficient relief, there are medical treatments available to manage night sweats. Consultation with a healthcare professional is recommended to determine the most suitable treatment option. Here are some common treatments for night sweats:

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

For women experiencing night sweats due to menopause, hormone replacement therapy may be prescribed. HRT involves taking estrogen and progesterone to balance hormone levels and alleviate menopause symptoms, including night sweats.


Some antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to reduce night sweats. These medications work by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help manage excessive sweating.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbal supplements, and homeopathic remedies have shown promise in reducing night sweats for some individuals. However, it is essential to consult a qualified practitioner before trying any alternative treatments.


Night sweats can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, but understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate remedies and treatments can provide relief. Whether it is managing anxiety, addressing hormonal imbalances, or seeking medical intervention, there are various options available to alleviate night sweats. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. By taking proactive steps, you can regain control over your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and sweat-free.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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