What Causes Night Sweats in Men?

Tara Youngblood Jan 16, 2023

Night sweats in men

Waking up covered in sweat is an unpleasant part of life for many. That drenched, overwhelmed, sticky, sweaty, and uncomfortable feeling that startles you awake in the middle of the night can affect men at different points in their lives for various reasons.

Whether you get up to change shirts, kick off the sheets, or end up tossing and turning, night sweats make sleeping difficult. Even worse, it makes feeling rested and ready to take on the day even harder.

In some cases, night sweats are not caused by external factors such as the temperature of your bedroom or the type of bedding you use but rather by underlying physiological processes or health conditions.

Night sweats can range in severity, but they are often described as being severe enough to soak through clothing and bedding.

Both males and females can have night sweats due to similar factors like infection and stress, but there are also causes unique to each. The Mayo Clinic describes night sweats as periods of excess perspiration during nighttime hours that may soak bedding or bedclothes. [1]

Table of Contents:

This article will explain the various causes of men sweating at night. Most importantly, we’ll summarize the latest healthcare information on how to treat night sweats to help keep these nightly battles from wreaking havoc on your daily life.

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Several factors can cause night sweats, including mental, physical, and psychological conditions and hormonal shifts that interfere with our temperature-balance systems.

Occasionally drinking something hot, taking a hot shower, or working out might even trigger them. Fortunately, there are methods to decrease nighttime sweating and enhance sleep quality and habits.

Common Causes of Night Sweats in Men

Several elements cause night sweats in men, including physical, medical, and psychological conditions.

Body Temperature

Body temperature research indicates that we have a number of mechanisms within us that keep our internal cooling and heating systems in check. Typically, our bodies want to stay at roughly the same temperature or the “thermoneutral zone.”

At a lower temperature, the body responds by shivering, thus increasing your temperature. When the thermoneutral zone is higher than usual, we start to sweat (you guessed it) so that the body can release heat and ultimately cool down. [2, 3]

Some scientists also discuss the “thermal comfort zone,” which is the temperature at which humans are most comfortable. This optimal temperature is narrower than the thermoneutral zone. [4]

Interestingly, men have a lower tolerance for heat than women. Yet, gender is only one of the many factors influencing a person’s optimum thermoneutral zone.

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Numerous health-related issues can throw a person’s thermoneutral zone out of balance. And the results? They can be tough to deal with. Night after night of sleeplessness, along with soaking sheets, followed by ongoing sleep deprivation and possibly poor long-term health results.

Read More: Why Do I Get So Hot When I Sleep?

Vigorous Exercise Routine

Some research suggests frequent exercise can lower the thermoneutral zone, causing night sweats in males. Yet, it doesn’t imply that you should limit or stop exercising. A long-term, well-planned exercise routine is key to good health and sleep.

Experiencing excessive sweating could be an indication of overtraining, and it is easily remedied.

Infections

Night sweats can also be a symptom of an infection. When your body is fighting off an infection, it releases inflammatory mediators that temporarily raise your thermoneutral zone. The range of potential infections can vary significantly, from relatively mild viral infections accompanied by a low-grade fever to severe, potentially life-threatening conditions.

Anxiety and Stress

Common symptoms are stress and anxiety, which can be either short-term or chronic. Experiencing traumatic events, such as job loss, relationship issues, or losing a loved one, can be highly stressful, causing excess sweating, which can affect sleep quality. Major life events are not the only culprits as research has shown that even a complicated math problem can put sweat glands into overdrive.

There are additional symptoms you may experience.

Additional Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Trouble focusing on tasks

  • Dizziness and trembling

  • Become more irritable

  • Weakness/fatigue

  • Stomach issues

  • Mental Health

Without treatment, stress, and anxiety can impact your everyday life. If you feel you are struggling or in emotional distress, there are ways to get help. Please visit MentalHealth.org or reach out to your primary medical provider.

Prescriptions or Medications

Various drugs can potentially cause men to sweat while sleeping as a side effect. Some that are linked to excessive sweating include: {5]

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

We highly recommend that you carefully read the labeling information on all prescription and OTC drugs to be fully aware of the potential side effects. If you believe sleeping hot at night is caused by medication, speak with your doctor.

They may suggest an alternate drug or coping strategy if the sweating is still disrupting your sleep or causing other problems.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Recent case studies have shown that diseases such as GERD [6] (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) can be associated with the rare symptom of nighttime sweating. Symptoms may include pain in the chest, trouble swallowing, heartburn, and more.

Plus, certain foods can affect your sleep and even worsen your sweats at night. This includes tomato-based foods, citrus, chocolate, caffeine, coffee, spicy foods, and even alcoholic beverages may cause reflux.

If you are one of those affected by reflux, it’s important to note the foods and drinks that contribute to your symptoms of feeling hot. By worsening the symptoms of acid reflux, you unknowingly contribute to your hot flashes.

Low Testosterone Levels

As men age, their bodies produce lower hormone and testosterone levels, also called male hypogonadism. Many physicians prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help with sweating at night and other symptoms of low testosterone, including hot flashes and lower libido.

In addition to low testosterone levels, men sweat at night due to hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism. [7] Also known as having an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism can create excessive sweating. Certain foods can help naturally increase testosterone.

Did You Know?

39% of males aged 45+ may experience a drop in testosterone. [8]

Hyperhidrosis

In some cases, the nervous system will activate human sweat glands for no apparent medical reason, possibly resulting in excessive sweating during the day and night. This medical condition is known as hyperhidrosis disorder.

A person suffering from this disorder can have a great amount of sweating that occurs across the body or only over one or two specific areas. The inconsistency of hyperhidrosis leaves researchers baffled as to why the sweating affects those afflicted so differently.

Excessive sweating has been known to drench clothes at night. In a few cases, symptoms only occur on the palms of the hands, armpits, head, or feet, known as primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Cases of hyperhidrosis require an assortment of treatments, depending on the severity and underlying cause.

Sleep Statistic: Roughly 30% to 50% of individuals with this medical issue have a family history of excessive sweating. [9]

Sleep Apnea

Men who experience night sweats may suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder in which a person stops breathing during their sleep. It can occur multiple times throughout the night, but if sleeping alone or with a partner who tends to be a deep sleeper, you may not be aware it's happening.

Sleep apnea symptoms include headache, snoring, depression, anxiety, waking up, gasping or choking, difficulty focusing, and more.

Sleep Apnea Statistic: Sleep apnea is common among men, with approximately 25% having this condition. [10]

How to Stop Night Sweats in Men

Several options are available to help stop or prevent night sweats. In some cases, it's best to get to the root of the issue and seek advice from your primary doctor or a medical professional.

To improve your chances of a good night’s sleep, we recommend trying some of the following below to help treat, prevent, or stop night sweating for good.

Cooling Mattress Pads

To seek relief, people often look into solutions such as cooling mattress pads, toppers, sleep systems, and cooling weighted blankets. All of these products have been proven to help stop or reduce the serenity of night sweats.

One thing that makes cooling mattress pads a particularly great solution is that many of them offer the flexibility to set schedules. This is the perfect way to get your bed prepped and ready for you in the right temperature range before you get into it.

Everybody requires a different temperature to optimize their sleep, and, fortunately, the range of temperatures for pads even cool and heat from 55 to 115º Fahrenheit.

Ultimately, cooling mattress pads cool down your core body temperature and help you regulate your body rather than constantly chasing the thermostat and trying to control the environment.

Additional products include bedding or breathable mattresses that are designed to keep you cool.

Sleep More Comfortably

Are you looking for a cooling bed system that can help you sleep more comfortably, but you're not sure which one is right for you? We offer several options for you to compare, including The Dock Pro, OOLER, and Cube. These sleep systems and cooling mattress pads can help regulate your body temperature while you sleep so that you can enjoy a more restful and refreshing night's sleep.

Temperature-Regulated Sheets

Traditionally, sheets keep you warm because they rest against your body's skin and trap your body heat. If you’re sleeping warm, it seems like the natural solution would be to sleep without sheets.

Science, [11] however, supports the use of cooling bed sheets. They have a purpose. As we fall asleep, our temperature drops and sheets were intended to help maintain the warmth and prevent shivering. It isn’t just about maintaining warmth, though.

Sheets can signal to your body that it is time to sleep, which is just another step in a healthy and functioning circadian rhythm.

The fabric type, thread count, and features of your sheet can help make you more successful when you go to sleep – with some even having cooling properties.

Improve Your Sleep Environment

Check your room temperature. If you have a warm bedroom, you can adjust the room temperature. Experts recommend you set your optimum room sleeping temperature between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

One way to improve your environment is by adding a cooling mattress topper. They are the perfect sleep solution for winning this temperature battle with a partner. Night sweats represent one of men's most significant barriers to high-quality sleep hygiene.

Other helpful tips to improve your environment include making your bedroom dark, reducing noise, avoid watching TV or scrolling on your phone, and reducing blue light.

Evaluate Your Exercise Program

If you have recently started a workout program, review it with your healthcare provider. As discussed earlier, taking a moment to evaluate your current exercise routine is important as overtraining can cause you to sweat excessively and experience night sweats.

Read More: Sweating During Workouts: What You Should Know

Limit Certain Foods and Drinks

As mentioned earlier, due to the risk of reflux contributing to nighttime sweats, it’s important to cut back on the consumption of night sweat triggers such as caffeine, hot drinks, alcohol, and spicy foods. [12] Reflux can worsen when we go to sleep due to laying flat and reflux can be more bothersome at night.

On those nights where you’re experiencing sweating, keep track of any related foods or drinks you may have consumed that could be contributing. Doing this will give you more information to discuss with your doctor or sleep specialist, if needed, and also help you determine which foods to avoid if they are contributing.

Relax Before Bedtime

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing are well-accepted tools for decreasing one of the most common causes of night sweats in men. What is the cause? Stress and anxiety disorder.

Below are recommended meditation and breathing exercises to help calm the mind and body, leading up to bedtime. Making simple lifestyle changes improves your overall health and sleep.

Did You Know: Research has found that sleeping on your left side can help reduce reflux episodes caused by GERD. [13]

Meditation and Breathing Exercises

Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Excess weight can cause night sweats and sweating in some individuals. Considered a risk factor, obesity may lead to not only feeling hot, but sleep apnea (a sleep disorder). Weight loss is recommended to help treat these common conditions.

Sleep Study: A study conducted in 2013 discovered that approximately 30% of obstructive sleep apnea patients experienced night sweats, compared to 9% of healthy men without the condition. [14]

When to Contact Your Doctor?

Please contact your doctor if you’re concerned about night sweats or any other sleep challenges. Your physician may want to recommend further examination or prescribe medications. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Mood Changes
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue and weakness
  • Weight loss unrelated to diet or lifestyle changes

If you are experiencing any of the above, don't hesitate to contact your doctor, as the symptoms may suggest a more serious underlying condition.

Additionally, you should also contact your doctor if the symptoms worsen or if you are experiencing excessive sleep deprivation.

Final Thoughts

If you have night sweats, you’re not alone as sweating is a fairly common issue in males while they sleep. As you can see there are a number of reasons. Fortunately, it’s possible to find relief from those annoying and uncomfortable symptoms.

Identifying the source of your night sweats and finding a resolution may be discovered without medical help. However, if your attempts to reduce them are ineffective, consult your physician to ensure there is not a more serious health problem.

Citations

[1] Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Definition. Mayo Clinic. View Resource.

[2] Ryan, T. (2021, July 28). What causes night sweats in men? [Blog Post]. Sleep Foundation. View Resource.

[3] Kingma, B., Frijns, A., van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. (2012) The thermoneutral zone: implications for metabolic studies. Frontiers in Bioscience, E4. 1975-1985. View Resource.

[4] Schlader, Z.J. (2014). The human thermoneutral and thermal comfort zones: Thermal comfort in your own skin blood flow. Temperature, 2 (1). 47-48. View Resource.

[5] Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Causes. Mayo Clinic. View Resource.

[6] GERD: Berdnikov, A., McPhee, S., LaBine, L., & Fatoye, T. (2020). Night sweats as a manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 66(12), 901–903. View Study

[7] Bryce C. (2020). Persistent Night Sweats: Diagnostic Evaluation. American family physician, 102(7), 427–433.

[8] Rivas, A. M., Mulkey, Z., Lado-Abeal, J., & Yarbrough, S. (2014). Diagnosing and managing low serum testosterone. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 27(4), 321–324. View Study

[9] Haider, A., & Solish, N. (2005). Focal hyperhidrosis: diagnosis and management. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne, 172(1), 69–75. View Study

[10] Cleveland Clinic. (2020, March 3). Sleep Apnea. Retrieved from Cleveland Clinic website: View Resource.

[11] Nelson, B. (2017, August 18). There’s a Scientific Reason Why You Always Sleep Under Blankets—Even When It’s Hot. View Resource

[12] 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: View Resource

[13] Person, E., Rife, C., Freeman, J., Clark, A., & Castell, D. O. (2015). A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 49(8), 655–659. View Study

[14] Arnardottir ES, Janson C, Bjornsdottir E, et alNocturnal sweating—a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea: the Icelandic sleep apnoea cohortBMJ Open 2013;3:e002795. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002795

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