Night sweats

Key points about night sweats

  • Night sweats (hyperhidrosis) are diagnosed when you regularly sweat in the night, even when your room is cool and your blankets light. If you often wake up wet from sweating, see your doctor.
  • There are a number of potential causes for night sweats and your doctor will ask questions, examine you and possibly do tests to work out what might be causing them.
  • Treatment for night sweats depends on the cause.
  • You may be able to reduce night sweats by not getting over-heated at night, avoiding certain foods and drinks, keeping your room cool and exercising regularly.
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Anyone can get hot and sweat at night if the room is too warm or there are too many blankets on. While this is uncomfortable, it is not thought of as night sweats. Night sweats are when you sweat too much at night, soaking your clothes or bed sheets, even in a cool room. 

Cooling yourself and the air temperature down in your room and reducing the number of blankets on your bed might stop the sweats. However, if you continue to sweat despite making these changes, see your doctor. 

Night sweats can be caused by conditions such as: 

In some cases, the causes of night sweats are unknown. 

See your doctor if you are having night sweats. Your doctor will take a thorough history, do a physical exam and may suggest you have some further tests.

The treatment will depend on what is causing the night sweats.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent night sweats:

  • avoid using too many blankets
  • make sure your room is cool and ventilated
  • avoid eating heavy meals 2 to 3 hours before bed
  • have regular daily exercise
  • drink enough water
  • avoid spicy food, caffeine and alcohol.

Night sweats(external link) HealthLink, British Columbia
What to know about night sweats(external link) Medical News Today
Night sweats(external link) Mayo Clinic, US


  1. Night sweats(external link) NHS, UK
  2. Mold JW, Holtzclaw BJ, & McCarthy L. Night sweats – a systematic review of the literature(external link) The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2012; 25(6): 878-893. 

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Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Dr Sharon Leitch, GP and Senior Lecturer, University of Otago

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