- If you wake up with your pyjamas and sheets soaked with perspiration, even when it’s not hot, you may be having night sweats.
- Anyone can have night sweats, no matter your gender or age.
- The most common causes of night sweats are related to hormonal changes in females, but there are many other causes too.
- Your doctor will recommend a treatment based on the cause of your symptoms.
- You should see your doctor if you are having night sweats when it’s not hot, especially if you also notice other symptoms.
What are night sweats?
If you wake up with your pyjamas and sheets soaked with perspiration, even when it’s not hot or you don’t have too many blankets on the bed, you may be having night sweats. Anyone can have night sweats, no matter your gender or age.
What causes night sweats?
There are many causes of night sweats. Most are not serious. In some cases, night sweats are a sign of a medical condition. In others, they may be caused by a medicine that you are taking.
The most common causes of night sweats are related to hormonal changes in females, such as occur with:
Other causes include:
- anxiety and being stressed
- sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea
- some infections, including flu (influenza), COVID-19 and tuberculosis
- some kinds of cancer, such as non-Hodgkins lymphoma or leukaemia
- thyroid disease
- idiopathic hyperhidrosis — a condition in which the body continually produces too much sweat for no clear reason
Some medicines can also cause night sweats, including:
- medicines used to reduce fever, such as paracetamol and aspirin
- diabetes medicines
- medicines used to treat high blood pressure
- steroid medicines, such as prednisolone
- some cancer treatments
- methadone (used to treat opioid dependence)
When should I see my doctor?
You should see your doctor if you’re having night sweats when it’s not hot — especially if you notice other symptoms such as:
Your doctor may refer you for tests to rule out a serious cause of your symptoms.
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How are night sweats treated?
Your doctor will recommend a treatment after checking the cause of your night sweats.
For menopause-related night sweats, your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Ask your doctor if hormone therapy is suitable for you, as it isn’t recommended for everyone.
If a medicine is the cause of your night sweats, there may be another option that your doctor can prescribe.
What can I do to at home to relieve my night sweats?
Depending on the cause of your night sweats, these tips may help you feel more comfortable and cooler during the night.
- Wear loose-fitting pyjamas made of natural fibres such as cotton or linen.
- Use lightweight bedding at night, that you can remove if needed.
- Use a fan or air conditioning in your bedroom.
- Sip cold water through the night.
- Exercise regularly during the day.
Avoiding common triggers of night sweats in the hours before bed can also help. Common triggers include:
Resources and support
Jean Hailes has information on managing hot flushes and night sweats.
The Australian Menopause Centre provides advice on understanding night sweats and how to minimise the impact of interrupted sleep.
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Last reviewed: February 2023