SWEATING in the night is something we are all familiar with when there is a heatwave.

But when the temperature is cool, it can be confusing to wake up in a pool of sweat, sticking to the sheets.

Night sweats have a number of causes, some of which are more serious than others.

When should you see a doctor about it? Read on to find out more:

Why do I sweat in my sleep?

The NHS says the most common reasons for night sweats are:

  1. Menopause symptoms: The hormone changes during the menopause can give women night sweats. But it is treatable – go to your GP if it is affecting you.
  2. Anxiety: This can be a common cause of excessive sweating. Take this quiz to find out if you are displaying anxiety symptoms. 
  3. Medicines: Medications have all sorts of side effects. Antidepressants, steroids and painkillers are the most common to cause sweats. If you’ve started sweating since taking medication, you could talk to your GP to see if you can switch. 
  4. Low blood sugar: People with medically low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) can experience night sweats. It includes those who take medication for diabetes, like insulin. 
  5. Hyperhidrosis: This harmless condition makes you sweat much more than the average person, all the time – read more here. 
  6. Illness: Sweating in the night can be a sign the immune system is fighting off infection. Some people have reported this while battling coronavirus. For the same reason, it may also occur as a side effect of vaccination. 
  7. Cancer: Sweating at night can also be a very early warning sign of some cancers, most notably lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. But this would be rare.

Other conditions linked with sweating at night include sleep apnoea, HIV, endocarditis and autoimmune disorders.

Too much alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, smoking or drugs can also make you sweaty at night, so you could try cutting back on that first to see if anything changes.

When should you see a GP?

The NHS says you should see your GP if you are sweating at night.

There are no treatments for night sweats. Rather your GP will probably try and find out the root cause. 

Depending on the cause of your night sweating, it may come with other symptoms.

If you are sick, you may have shaking, chills or a fever.

If you are a woman, hot flushes, changes in mood and vaginal dryness could all accompany night sweats as a result of the menopause. You may still be having periods while experiencing menopausal symptoms. 

And if it’s cancer, it usually would come with other warning signs, like weight loss.

A one-off occasion may be the result of your room being too hot, wearing too many clothes in bed, or having too much bedding. You could even wake up sweaty after a bad dream.

But if it is happening regularly, interrupting your sleep, or you are experiencing other symptoms, get it checked out.

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