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Night Sweats
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Night Sweats

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While night sweats can be uncomfortable and disruptive, they don't usually signal a more serious underlying condition. In fact, night sweats are one of the most common menopause symptoms, with up to 75% of women experiencing them at some point during menopause.

When a woman approaches menopause, she may have many questions about the potential symptoms, including night sweats. Understanding what to expect, why these symptoms occur, and how to manage them can help a woman better prepare for this transitional period. Keep reading to learn more about night sweats.

About Night Sweats

Night sweats, medically termed "sleep hyperhidrosis," are episodes of nighttime sweating, ranging from mild to profuse perspiration. Night sweats are similar to the hot flashes that can affect menopausal women during the waking hours.

Oftentimes, night sweats can be so intense that they interrupt a woman's sleep, which can affect many aspects of her daily life. Common symptoms of night sweats include sudden and intense heat, irregular heartbeat, nausea, flushing, chills, and headaches.

Women with menopause-related night sweats may experience anywhere from mild to severe symptoms, varying in duration, during their usual sleeping hours.

Who is affected?

Night Sweats and Sleep

The symptoms of night sweats can drastically disturb sleep patterns, making it difficult to get a good night's rest. Because of this, women who suffer from night sweats often experience:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Heightened levels of stress

Many women in their 40s and 50s develop night sweats, often beginning before the cessation of the menstrual cycle. One study found that approximately 19% of women aged 40 - 55 who still had regular periods experienced night sweats. Most women begin to develop symptoms two to ten years before menopause occurs, during the span of time called perimenopause.

Many different factors contribute to how women experience menopause symptoms. Age, race, and other factors can influence how likely a woman is to develop night sweats during menopause.


Age can affect a woman's experience of night sweats. One large study found that younger women are far more likely to experience night sweats. Another found that only 10% of patients older than 64 experienced night sweats.

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Studies have found that the prevalence of night sweats varies by race. One study found that three in four Caucasian women experience night sweats. Another found that African-American women were more likely to have night sweats than Caucasian or Hispanic women. Asian women were the least likely to report night sweats.

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Click here to learn more about night sweats, or continue reading below to learn what causes night sweats.

Telling Apart Fever and Night Sweats

Fevers and night sweats both involve increased internal body temperature, excessive sweating, and flushing - so it can be hard to tell them apart. Keep reading to learn how to differentiate between the common menopause symptom and feverish infection to know how to solve the problem or when to seek medical attention.

Myths and Facts about Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

Night sweats and hot flashes are frustrating, but they can be even worse if you believe the many myths associated with them. The rumors will make it feel like the heat will never go away and can lead you on an unhealthy track to recovery. Learn the facts about your symptoms and how to respond.

Causes of Night Sweats

Many women who experience night sweats want to know the reason behind their symptoms. While the exact cause of night sweats is unknown, hormonal fluctuations are one of the primary factors in most menopause symptoms.

Hormonal causes

Graph: Estrogen levels during menopause

During menopause, estrogen production levels drastically decrease. This change affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for the regulating body temperature. As a result, the hypothalamus often prompts a series of physiological reactions resulting in hot flashes or night sweats.

Other causes

While hormonal imbalance is the most common cause of menopausal night sweats, there are also rare medical causes, such as diabetes, anxiety, neurological conditions, sleep apnea, cancer, and thyroid disorder.

Night sweat triggers

Certain factors can increase the duration and severity of night sweats. Avoiding these triggers can help to alleviate both hot flashes and night sweats.

Environmental triggers

  • Excess bedding
  • Close proximity to partner
  • Hot rooms
  • Warm weather
  • Saunas, tubs, hot showers

Emotional triggers

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Disturbing dreams

Behavioral triggers

  • Hot or spicy foods
  • Alcohol or caffeine
  • Diet pills
  • Drug use

Click here to find out more about the causes of night sweats, or continue reading below to learn more about treatments.

Can Diabetes Trigger Night Sweat Episodes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition defined by abnormally high blood sugar levels. It is manageable with insulin and a healthy diet, but it's vital for a diabetic to be aware of symptoms of blood sugar abnormalities. Night sweating episodes can indicate low blood sugar. Read on to learn more about diabetes and what sweats could symptomize.

Can Stress Lead to Night Sweats?

Stress is a factor that can not only cause night sweats; it can also be significantly detrimental to your health and well-being. Click onto discover how stress causes night sweats, why it's important to take stress seriously, and how to prevent it from impacting your life.

Night Sweats Treatments

Treating of night sweats often begins with lifestyle changes. This approach typically involves avoiding night sweats triggers and taking steps to relieve stress and improve diet and exercise. Tryptophan, for example, is an amino acid that helps aid in sleep and can be found in dairy products, nuts, and eggs. By incorporating more tryptophan in your diet, you can improve your overall quality of sleep.

While these lifestyle changes can help to relieve night sweats and improve sleep patterns, they do not treat the root cause of night sweats, which is hormonal imbalance.

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Fortunately, alternative medicine treatments can safely and effectively correct hormonal imbalances with little or no risk. In fact, many experts recommend combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicine for symptom management.

For some women, however, these changes are not enough to alleviate their symptoms. In such cases, they may want to consider prescription drugs or other clinical methods. Before beginning these treatments, however, it is recommended that women consult a trusted medical professional to better understand the potential benefits and risks of these prescription medications.

Most experts recommend that women begin with lifestyle changes and alternative medicines before trying prescription medications in order to alleviate their night sweats. The best treatment options, however, vary from woman to woman. Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for night sweats during menopause in these three categories.

Top 4 Tips to Cope with Night Sweats and Irregular Periods

The changes that occur in your body during menopause - and the symptoms these changes bring - can be difficult to deal with. Irregular periods and night sweats are among the most common of these; click on to learn some tips on coping with these symptoms and minimizing their effect on your life.

A 5-Day Plan to Deal with Night Sweats in Women

Night sweats are an obstacle that prevent many women approaching menopause from enjoying peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. Although the cause of sweating episodes is primarily hormonal, a few small tweaks to habits and environment over just five days could significantly minimize the occurrence of night sweats.

  • Boston Women's Health Collective. (2006). Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Disturbances. Our Bodies, Ourselves.
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Menopause: five self-help tips. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from
  • National Institute on Aging. (2015). Signs of the Menopausal Transition. Retrieved April 7, 2016, from

General articles

Updated on Sep 12, 2016
Night Sweats and Chills in Menopausal Women
Night sweats and chills may sound like opposite symptoms, but, surprisingly, they are linked. Extreme temperature changes are common in women approaching menopause due to hormonal imbalances in the body during these years. Sweating and chills can be unpleasant and obstructive to restful sleep, but a series of lifestyle adjustments can help minimize
Updated on Oct 21, 2015
I'm in My Thirties: Are Night Sweats Normal?
Night sweats are commonly associated with menopause, but they can afflict people of any age. Triggered by environmental, dietary, and medical causes, sweating episodes often interrupt sleep, and may ultimately result in fatigue, which makes it all the more important to understand what's causing them and how this can be.
Updated on Sep 28, 2015
Can I Get Night Sweats during the Day?
Hot flashes and night sweats are two of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting over half of women going through menopause. However, night sweats are not always limited to nighttime. Click here to learn more about hot flashes, night sweats, and day sweats and what causes them.
Updated on Jul 09, 2015
Why Is it Vital to Keep Night Sweats Away?
Many women experience night sweats as they approach menopause. Sweating episodes interrupt sleep and cause personal hygiene issues - not to mention being generally unpleasant. It's important to address night sweats as you would any other troublesome symptom to ensure a restful and comfortable sleep, sweat-free.
Updated on Jun 09, 2015
Chest Pain and Night Sweats
Menopausal night sweats and chest pain are both caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Although each symptom can be distressing enough on its own, there are several lifestyle strategies that can prevent and manage them, as well as herbal remedies to treat them.