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Health

Night Sweats in Men: Causes and Treatments

Tara Youngblood

18.11.21

Night Sweats in Men

Decades of scientific research confirm what we have all learned by experience. The zzz’s we catch at night are critical to the personal and professional success that we strive for during the day. Lack of sleep, even for a couple of nights, makes us more irritable, forgetful, and less able to excel in the daily challenges of home, job, and recreational pursuits. For men, night sweats represent one of the largest barriers to high-quality sleep hygiene.

The Mayo Clinic defines night sweats as repeated periods of excess perspiration that occur during the nighttime hours that may soak bedclothes or bedding. Numerous types of prescription drugs have night sweats as a side-effect. In addition, there are many medical conditions that can lead to night sweats in males.

In this post, we’ll explain the many causes of night sweats in men. Most important, we’ll summarize the latest health care information on what you can do now to keep these nightly struggles from wreaking havoc on your daily life.

Why do Men Sweat at Night? 

There are many potential causes of male night sweats. Certain medical or mental health conditions may throw the body’s temperature regulation system out of equilibrium. Furthermore, the medications needed to treat these conditions (unfortunately) can induce night sweats. In many cases, the root causes may be stress, anxiety, or even major life events.

An Important Foundational System Out of Balance

Body temperature research indicates that we have a number of mechanisms within us that keep our internal heating and cooling systems in check. Generally, our bodies want to stay at approximately the same temperature, or “thermoneutral zone.” When the body is at a lower temperature, it responds by shivering, thus bringing up the temperature. When the thermoneutral zone is higher than normal, we then start to (you guessed it) sweat, so that the body can release heat and cool down.

Some scientists also discuss the “thermal comfort zone,” which is the temperature at which humans are most comfortable, and that this optimal temperature is actually narrower than the thermoneutral zone. Interestingly, men have a lower tolerance for heat than women. However, gender is only one of the many factors that influence the optimum thermoneutral zone.

Numerous health-related issues can throw this crucial temperature regulation system out of balance. The results? Night after night of sleeplessness and soggy bedsheets followed by incessant sleep deprivation and possibly poor health consequences.

What Conditions can Cause Night Sweats in Men?

A number of physical, medical, and psychological conditions can interfere with our temperature balance systems. Sometimes night sweats might be triggered by taking a hot shower, drinking something hot, or working out.

However, complex medical conditions can be involved, and consultation with a physician, therapist, or sleep specialist may be necessary. Below we summarize several causes of night sweats.

Exercise

Some research indicates that regular exercise can actually lower the thermoneutral zone, causing night sweats in males. However, it doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising. A long-term, well-planned exercise program is key to good health. Excessive sweating might be an indication of sports over-training.

Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety can be common symptoms of night sweats. Traumatic events, such as relationship issues, job loss, or losing a loved one can be extremely stressful for anyone. Major life events aren’t the only culprits. Research has shown that even struggling with a complicated math problem can put sweat glands into overdrive.

Anxiety and stress can be short- term as well as chronic. You may be experiencing other symptoms of anxiety as well:

  • Trouble focusing on tasks
  • Increased irritability
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Stomach problems

Prescription or Over-the-counter (OTC) Medication

Some medications can make night sweats more common. These can include and are not limited to: 

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), aspirin, and other pain relievers
  • Some antidepressant medications
  • Steroids (e.g., cortisone, prednisone)
  • Diabetes medications

*We highly recommend that you carefully read the labeling information on all prescription and OTC drugs so that you can be fully aware of the potential side-effects.

Low Testosterone Levels

As men get older, they produce lower levels of the hormone testosterone. This condition is also referred to as male hypogonadism. Many physicians prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help with night sweats and other symptoms of low testosterone.

Resource: Foods That Boost Testosterone 

Hyperhidrosis

In some cases, human sweat glands will become activated by the nervous system for no clear medical reason. It can result in excessive sweating during the day as well as at night. Researchers are not sure why this happens, but sweating can occur across the body as well as only over one or two specific areas.

Excess sweating at night can be so extreme to cause soggy clothes. In some cases, symptoms only occur on the feet or palms of the hands. Cases of hyperhidrosis require a variety of treatments, depending on severity and underlying cause.

It’s important to note that women can also experience night sweats. The causes can be similar to men, such as anxiety, hyperhidrosis, or medication side-effects. Menopause is often a major cause of night sweats and hot flashes in women. Please go to our Menopause Study Results to learn more.

What Can I Do About My Night Sweats?

How to stop night sweats for men and solutions can be relatively simple, and different for each person. Still, some medical conditions will require advice from health care professionals. There are many very practical ways to improve the chances of a good night’s sleep. We recommend that you give these suggestions a try to see what works best for you.

  1. Adjust the room temperature: Experts recommend that the optimum room temperature for sleep is between 65- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. If you have recently started a workout program, review it with a healthcare professional. It could be that your night sweats are due to over-training.
  3. Avoid sweat “triggers” such as hot showers, caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
  4. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, are well-accepted tools in decreasing one of the most common causes of night sweats: anxiety and stress.
  5. Establishing habits such as bathing daily, changing socks often, and ensuring that feet are dry, can reduce body temperature. This decreases the potential for night sweats.
  6. Using a mattress and bedding that is breathable and designed to keep you cool can be a factor reducing the chances and severity of night sweats. Products including cooling bed systems, temperature controlled mattress, and cooling blankets, can help create the ideal sleep environment.

Resource: Benefits of Sleeping at Cooler Temperatures

When to Contact Your Doctor 

If you’re concerned about night sweats, or any other sleep challenge, please contact your doctor. Your physician may want to prescribe medication or recommend further examination.

You should also contact your doctor if you are experiencing excessive sleep deprivation and the symptoms seem to be getting worse. Other symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, fever, or signs of infection may indicate a more serious underlying problem.

Key Takeaways

  • The temperature regulation systems of our bodies sometimes become unbalanced, causing night sweats to occur.
  • Numerous medical and psychological conditions can trigger night sweats.
  • In some cases, night sweats occur for no apparent medical reason. The nervous system somehow spurs activation of the sweat glands (hyperhidrosis).
  • There are many strategies available that could relieve the negative effects of night sweats, including relaxation techniques, changes in bedding/mattresses, or medications.

Studies show that better sleep improves virtually all aspects of life. Good sleep hygiene helps to keep our hearts healthy, improves memory, problem-solving, and cognitive functions. We are committed to creating innovative products that will impact lives and overall health through quality sleep.

Sources

Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Definition. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/definition/sym-20050768.

Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Causes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768.

Kingma, B., Frijns, A., van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. (2012) The thermoneutral zone: implications for metabolic studies. Frontiers in Bioscience, E4. 1975-1985. Retrieved from: https://www.fbscience.com/Elite/articles/pdf/Elite518.pdf

Schlader, Z.J. (2014). The human thermoneutral and thermal comfort zones: Thermal comfort in your own skin blood flow. Temperature, 2 (1). 47-48. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843884/pdf/ktmp-02-01-983010.pdf.

Schuler, A (2021, July 5) Night Sweats in Men Causes, Symptoms, Cancer, Diabetes, Alcohol, Stress and Night Sweats Treatment in Men. [Blog Post]. American Celiac. Retrieved from: https://americanceliac.org/night-sweats-in-men-causes-symptoms-treatment/

Raypole C. (2019, May 28) What causes night sweats in man? [Blog Post]. Healthline. Retrieved from:https://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-night-sweats-in-men.

About Tara Youngblood

Tara Youngblood is ChiliSleep’s co-founder and CEO. An accomplished scientist, author, and speaker, Tara’s unique ideas are revolutionizing the future of sleep health by making sleep easy, approachable, and drug-free.
Learn more about Tara.