When our body is exposed to warm temperature, the sweat glands produce sweat to normalize the body temperature. As soon as the temperature of our body returns to normal, we stop sweating. There are some people who tend to get cold sweats while sleeping. It is often referred to as night sweats or nocturnal hyperhidrosis. It is absolutely normal if the bedroom temperature is warm, or they use too many bedclothes. In case, it is not due to an overheated environment then, there could be an underlying health condition which triggers it.
Some people feel sweaty all the time, and not just while sleeping. This is medically termed as idiopathic hyperhidrosis. The exact reason why they sweat so much is not clearly known. Sometimes, due to brain injury, the sweat regulation mechanism of the body get affected that leads to this kind of abnormal sweating.
There are various forms of infection that tend to influence the natural response of the immune system and can be held responsible for cold sweats at night. It includes tuberculosis, osteomyelitis (or inflammation of the bones), endocarditis (or inflammation of the heart valves), etc. Cold night sweat is a side effect of several medicines such as antidepressants, birth control pills, aspirin, niacin, acetaminophen and so on. Men complain about excessive sweating at night after the intake of sildenafil drugs.
Night sweat is a symptom observed in patients with HIV infection. Another serious disease which is associated with cold sweats is a type of cancer known as lymphoma. Diabetic patients face this problem when their insulin levels in blood drops suddenly. Other causes are anemia, low blood pressure, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and hypothyroidism.
During menopause, many women experience night sweats because of decrease in the levels of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. It is a common occurrence in people who have sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Excessive alcohol consumption can induce sweating at night. Small children mostly get it due to stress and anxiety.
The first is identification of the underlying cause. As there are so many possible causes, it requires a thorough diagnosis before the actual cause can be ascertained. These patients should have a detailed discussion with their doctor about their lifestyle, medical history, medicines that they have recently taken, etc. Based upon all this information, doctors start the treatment. When it is due to some underlying health issue, then that disease has to be treated in order to get rid of its symptom. If it is caused due to some medicines, then doctors often change the medicine.
The symptoms of idiopathic hyperhidrosis can be controlled with the help of medicines. However, those medicines cannot be used for a long time, as they have side effects. Use of antiperspirants and botox injections, are other possible solutions for this problem. In severe cases of hyperhidrosis, surgical options are availed where certain nerve tissue that affect the functioning of the sweat glands of a particular part of the body is removed.
People who experience night sweats are advised to keep their surroundings cool while sleeping. If possible, the window of the room should be kept open to allow good air circulation. A cold shower before going to sleep has helped many people. Drinking cold milk, fruit juice or even water, after dinner, is also good for them. Alcohol and spicy food have to be strictly avoided at dinner.
If you regularly get cold sweats at night, then you can take some steps to reduce its frequency and intensity. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and dairy products as these food keep the body cool. Practice meditation before going to sleep which will keep the mind free from stress, and thus prevent anxiety sweating. Most importantly, make sure your nightclothes are light and are made of natural fabrics so that the sweat does remain trapped in them