Why do we sweat at night when we sleep?

Why do we sweat at night when we sleep?

There are 2 to 5 million sweat glands in the skin of an adult. They produce fluid in which salts, proteins, cholesterol, amino acids and nitrogenous substances are dissolved. In a day at room temperature, a person excretes 400-600 ml of sweat, which is needed to moisten the skin and cool the body.

The autonomic nervous system and its biologically active substances, the mediators acetylcholine, pilocarpine, and adrenal hormones, regulate the sweat glands. Therefore, a person cannot sweat more or less if he just wants to.

At night and during sleep, all processes in the body slow down, including the secretion of sweat. But this does not happen if a person sleeps in a hot room or ate spicy food for dinner. Usually such sweating goes away on its own, and the help of a doctor is not necessary.

But sometimes excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, in sleep is associated with causes that require special examination and treatment.

1. Climax

In women after 45-50 years of age, ovarian function decreases and they produce less estrogen. The pituitary gland tries to stimulate the sex glands and increases the release of follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones.

The latter can rapidly increase body temperature and is more actively synthesized in the evening. Therefore, the woman feels a rush of heat and begins to sweat profusely.

What to do?

When signs of menopause appear, see a gynecologist. The doctor will conduct an examination and prescribe hormone replacement therapy with estrogens. They will not stop the onset of menopause, but will reduce unpleasant symptoms.

2. Bad habits

Cigarettes contain a lot of nicotine, which mimics the mediator acetylcholine and stimulates the sweat glands. In people who have long and active smokers, this effect may appear at night.

When alcohol is abused, another mechanism associated with hangover syndrome is activated, which is observed a few hours after drinking alcohol. A person has impaired thermoregulation, hormone production, including those that affect the function of sweat glands. Therefore, poor sleep is accompanied by increased sweating.

What to do?

If night sweats become constant, give up cigarettes or at least do not smoke before going to bed. If you have alcohol addiction, get treatment from a drug addict, otherwise you may have other health problems in addition to profuse sweating.

3. Endocrine diseases

Diseases of the endocrine organs changes the work of the sweat glands. Therefore develops hyperhidrosis. Most often it is observed in the following pathologies:

  • hyperthyroidism;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • pheochromocytoma;
  • acromegaly.

What to do?

To treat increased sweating, see a general practitioner. He will prescribe a hormone test. If the figures differ from the norm, you will be sent to an endocrinologist to find an appropriate treatment.

4. Nocturnal apnea

Nocturnal apnea is a potentially dangerous condition, a sudden stop of breathing during sleep. The person does not feel that he/she has stopped breathing, but he/she sweats more and more. An additional symptom that loved ones can tell about is heavy snoring.

Nocturnal apnea increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, and often occurs in men and women who are obese and have arterial hypertension.

What to do?

If your relatives tell you that you snore heavily in your sleep, and in the morning you have a headache and severe weakness, see your therapist. He will appoint an examination and may recommend:

  • lose weight;
  • give up smoking and alcohol;
  • do not sleep on your back;
  • don’t take sleeping pills.

Doctors also sometimes help you find a special mask or mouthpiece for sleeping, and in some cases refer you to surgery.

5. Infections

Sometimes night sweats occur in people who have contracted an acute respiratory infection or are unaware of their chronic infectious disease. For example, this symptom often occurs with tuberculosis, and other signs of the disease are not always visible.

Sweating that comes in fits and starts with chills and fever is characteristic of malaria. It is an infectious disease that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. It is found in countries with hot, humid climates, so some people bring the pathogen back from a trip to India or Africa.

What to do?

If you have night sweats that are accompanied by a slight rise in temperature, make an appointment with your general practitioner. If the fever is severe, and especially if you flew in a few days ago from a vacation in an exotic country, call an ambulance.

6. Medications

Hyperhidrosis can be a side effect of medications. People sometimes sweat profusely at night if they have to take antidepressants, beta-blockers, or insulin injections.

What to do?

If you are prescribed a medication that causes you to sweat at night, you should tell your doctor. He will change the drug or reduce its dosage.

7. Tumors

Malignant tumors in their initial stages do not produce noticeable symptoms. For example, with leukemia (blood cancer) there is increased sweating, sometimes chills, weakness, bone pain, nosebleeds. And with a tumor of the lymphatic system, lymphoma, also appears night sweats, increased lymph nodes, for no apparent reason the body weight drops.

What to do?

It is impossible to diagnose these diseases without a special examination. Therefore, be sure to make an appointment with a therapist: he will prescribe blood tests, bone marrow, if necessary – CT or MRI.


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