Getting a cool, restful night of sleep can be a challenge at any time of the year, but especially during hot summer nights. Many people experience night sweats, which can hinder their ability to get restful, beneficial sleep. There are many tips and tricks you can implement into your lifestyle and nightly routine to help stop night sweats and allow you to sleep cool throughout those warm summer nights. Below is our comprehensive guide of ways to beat the heat this summer and keep your sleeping temperature regulated throughout the night. We recommend starting with purchasing a cool memory foam mattress but it’s important to first understand the reason your body temperature is elevated when you sleep.
What are Night Sweats?
Night sweats are a condition that is characterized by excessive perspiration, which is known as hyperhidrosis, while you are sleeping. Night sweats often worsen during the warmer months, particularly during summer, due to the elevated temperature during those months. Night sweats are characterized by repeated episodes of extreme perspiration, during which you may sweat through your clothes or bedding. Though night sweats can be worsened by an elevated temperature in the room or outside, they are related to an underlying medical condition or illness. It is normal to wake up and be sweaty when sleeping in a room that is excessively warm or when you are sleeping under a number of heavy blankets; however, these episodes would not be characterized as night sweats and do not denote an underlying medical issue or condition. Night sweats are much more sever and are reoccurring, which is why they can have adverse effects on sleep patterns. If your body is experiencing a severe hot flash, it is unlikely you will be able to achieve restful sleep patterns, which can have adverse effects on your health and wellness over time. Night sweats are a fairly common condition, which makes finding ways to combat their effects even more important. Now that you have an understanding of what night sweats are, it is necessary to examine a handful of causes of night sweats.
Causes of Night Sweats
Night sweats can be caused by many different underlying conditions and disorders. In order to diagnose the cause of night sweats, it is necessary to meet with a licensed physician, provide a detailed medical history, and conduct a number of tests in order to determine a cause of night sweats. Below are known conditions that can cause night sweats:
- Hormone Disorders: Excessive sweating can be a symptom of a number of hormone disorders, including carcinoid syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and pheochromocytoma.
- Medications: Ingesting some medications can result in experiencing night sweats. Medications that are often used to lower fevers, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, can sometimes lead to excessive sweating at night. In addition to this, antidepressant medications are a common cause of night sweats. 8%-22% of people taking antidepressant drugs experience night sweats. Several other psychiatric drugs have also been linked to causing night sweats.
- Infections: There are several types of different infections that can cause night sweats. Night sweats are known to be a symptom of HIV. The infection most commonly associated with night sweats in Tuberculosis. In addition to these two infections, night sweats have been shown to be caused by infections such as osteomyelitis (inflammation in the bones), abscesses, and bacterial infections like endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valves).
- Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia occurs when the body overproduces insulin, which subsequently result in a drop in blood sugar. Low blood sugar is one potential cause of night sweats. This type of night sweats may also be experience by people who inject insulin or take diabetes medications, as these also sometimes result in night sweats.
- Menopause: Menopause is one of the most common causes of night sweats in women. Menopause is accompanied by hot flashes, which sometimes occur at night and will result in excessive sweating.
- Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis: Idiopathic Hyperhidrosis is a condition where the body excessively sweats on a consistent basis without any other underlying medical cause.
- Cancers: An early symptom of some types of cancer can be night sweats. However, many people who have undiagnosed cancer also have a variety of other symptoms, such as unexplained fevers or weight loss. One of the most common types of cancer linked to night sweats is lymphoma.
Sleeping Cool in Summer Months
When attempting to stop night sweats, it is vital to work with a medical professional to determine the underlying cause. But what are you supposed to do in the meantime? Sleep is an essential part of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and your mind functions differently when it is sleep deprived. To help you combat night sweats, below is a guide of tips and tricks to keep you sleeping cool.
- Invest in Breathable, Loose Pajamas: The pajamas you wear to sleep have a significant effect on how cool you are while you sleep. Clothing made from polyester or synthetic fabrics is much less breathable, making it a poor choice for pajamas when attempting to stay cool throughout the night. Instead, choose pajamas made from natural fibers that will allow your skill to breathe as you sleep. Breathability is essential to regulating your body temperature. Organic cotton is a soft, breathable fabric that will allow your skin the breathability it needs.
- Be Mindful of What You Eat: While the immediate reaction will be to cool down the temperature of your environment, it is vitally important that you take all of the steps possible to cool down your body internally as well. This means more than just drinking cold water, but also watching what you eat before you go to sleep. When you eat a large meal, your body must work hard to break down and metabolize that food, which results in your body producing more heat. By keeping your meals smaller and lighter, your body will expend less energy attempting to metabolize the food, thereby reducing the heat produced by your body. In addition to avoiding big meals, it is also recommended that you avoid eating spicy food as well, as this can cause a spike in body temperature.
- Run Your Ceiling Fan: If you are experiencing night sweats, a ceiling fan will be extremely beneficial to helping you achieve a night of cool, comfortable sleep. Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the house, as well as within the room, providing better ventilation and air circulation. When air is moving around you, it cools you down and lowers your body temperature. Many people do not realize that ceiling fans actually have two capabilities, one for colder months and one for warmer months. During the warmer months, adjust your settings so that your ceiling fan blades are running counter-clockwise. This adjustment will pull hot air up and out rather than circulating it throughout the room.
- Put Ice Packs on Your Pulse Points: If you are looking to cool down quickly, try taking two ice packs (or Ziploc bags filled with ice) and placing them on various pulse points. These pulse points should be at your wrists, elbows, groin, neck, ankles, and behind your knees. This will help give your body a rapid cooldown and shock your system into regulating your temperature back down. In additional to doing this with ice packs, it is also beneficial to complete this same step but with cold compresses.
- Make Your Hot Water Bottle Multifunctional: You may be thinking, “Why would you use a hot water bottle if you are trying to cool down?” Contrary to popular belief, hot water bottles are useful for much more than just filling with boiling water and being a bed companion. Instead of using your hot water bottle to warm you up, use it to cool you down. Fill your hot water bottle with cold water and then freeze it. By freezing your hot water bottle, you have created an ice pack that won’t spill in the sheets and will keep you cool while you sleep.
- Pare Down Your Bedding: While an oversized comforter and chunky blanket may be aesthetically appealing, they are not practical to have on your bed at night if you are experiencing night sweats. Your body needs to be able to breathe in order for it to regulate temperature, making it vital that you simplify your bedding to exclude any heavy blankets or comforters that may generate additional heat as you sleep.
- Take a Cold Shower Before Bed: By jumping in the shower before bed, you will be able to lower your core body temperature and wash off any residual sweat. Taking a cold shower right before bed will keep you feeling cool and clean as you doze off.
- Invest in a Cooling Pillow: Though sometimes it may feel like you are the only person experiencing night sweats, in fact the opposite is true. In response to consumers seeking out methods to achieve a cooler sleep, manufacturers have begun developing various types of cooling pillows. It used to be that you had to flip your pillow over to feel the cool side, but with these cooling pillows you will always have the cooling feeling you need. Because your face maintains direct contact with your pillow throughout the night, this can be a significant benefit to those experiencing night sweats.
- Choose Quality Sheets Designed to Keep You Cool: The type of sheets you have on your bed can have a tremendous impact on how cool you will stay during the night. While it is obvious that if you are experiencing night sweats you should avoid overly warm fabrics like fleece and flannel, many people do not realize that there are sheets specifically designed to keep you cool throughout the night. Organic cotton sheets are one of the best types to target if you are trying to regulate your body temperature while you sleep. Organic cotton wicks moisture from your skin and allows your skin to achieve the breathability it needs to stay cool. When selecting sheets, target brands that use natural fibers that transfer body heat effectively and let your skin breathe, as this will lessen the occurrence of temperature fluctuations at night, thereby improving your night of sleep.
- Keep a Bottle of Cold Water by Your Bed: Cold water is a great way to immediately give your body a jolt of coolness back if you wake up in the middle of the night feeling flushed and sweaty. When you leave an open glass of water out by the bed, the water will become tepid quickly. To circumvent this issue, invest in a high-quality, reusable water bottle that will keep your water icy cold throughout the night. Whenever you need to cool yourself back down, you can easily reach over and drink ice water, quite literally cooling yourself down from the inside out.
- Check out a Bed Fan: While an overhead fan provides its own set of unique benefits, a bed fan is a specially designed device that allows you to cool off while you sleep. A Bed Fan is designed to blow air above or below the covers, which keeps you feeling cool all-night long. The one drawback to this option is that it will require a fan to be close to you while you sleep; however, many newer models have been updated to provide the flow of air you need without the additional noise.
- Invest in a Cooling Mattress: Finding a mattress that sleeps cool will be vital to helping you stay cool during the summer. If you are experiencing excessive sweating at night, chances are your mattress is not helping to regulate your body temperature. Thankfully, there are mattresses available now that are designed to aid your body in regulating its temperature by allowing it to breathe. When selecting a sleep cool mattress, be sure to target mattresses that are made from natural fibers and materials, such a natural latex and natural memory foam. The right mattress will help alleviate pressure, provide proper support and blood circulation, and will help you relax enough to achieve restful sleep. Be sure that the cover on your mattress is made of a breathable material, such as organic cotton, as this will be close to your skin throughout the night.